Sturdy plastic pitcher - Two pitchers are needed - one to weigh the lye in and the other one used to weigh the water. Always add the lye to the water and never add the water to the dry lye or the mixture may form a volcano like eruption. Use a pitcher that has a lot of clearance on top so it is difficult for lye to splash when mixing.
Stainless steel wire whisk or stick blender – Wire whisk should be the sturdy kind sold at restaurant supply stores or gourmet kitchen stores. A sturdy wire whisk works really well to help bring lye water and oils to trace. Mix in a circular motion, taking care to keep the whisk close to the bottom of the container to avoid spills and splashes.
Large stainless steel or enamel pot - Use a pot large enough with ample headroom (6-8 inches) so if mixture splashes it will remain in the pot and not spill out onto you.
Large, sturdy stainless steel or plastic spoons – Stainless steel professional restaurant type spoons are the best. I have never used plastic spoons, but many people use them in making soap. Any plastic spoons used should be very sturdy and should not easily bend. A spoon that is bendable can easily cause spills and splatters.
Scale – A good digital scale will give the most accurate weight. Test scale to make sure it is working before setting up to make soap. Change batteries if needed. Without an accurate weighing device, it is unsafe to make soap.
Glass candy thermometers – Use a candy thermometer with any aluminum parts away from the lye mix, which is corrosive to aluminum.
Garbage bags, sturdy plastic or freezer paper to line mold – To line mold with garbage bag, cut bag open so that it is flat. Arrange it in the mold, squishing it into the corners and leaving enough hanging over the sides to fold back over and cover soap. To line mold with freezer paper, measure and cut so that excess paper is available for the sides. Miter corners and flatten them against sides of mold. Alternatively, tape outside of miter to hold it temporarily until soap is poured into mold.
Appropriate clothing – Long sleeves and clothing that covers upper and lower torso and extremities. Tuck hair away from face. Remove long dangling jewelry and any accessories that dangle and may become entangled in equipment and lye mixture. Dress in shoes or sneakers that completely cover the feet. Even a small drop of lye grain on the skin burns and may not be detected until minutes later. So protect your skin and all mucous membranes at all times.
Safety goggles or face shield – Available at hardware, scientific or medical supply stores. Important for protecting the delicate eye area from splashes.
Chemical mask – One that is designed to protect from fumes. If one is not available, then provide adequate ventilation – open windows and doors. My experience is that even if there is adequate ventilation in the room, after mixing the lye and the water, one has to step out of the room- the fumes are that intense.
Heavy-duty gloves – Neoprene gloves are the best. Regular kitchen gloves are okay if they are thick enough. Gloves should be long enough to cover wrist and arm portion proximal to the elbow if possible.
Alternatively, lye and water can be mixed and left to cool down in another area or room away from animals and pets. The fumes from lye are damaging to the respiratory tract. When lye and water are combined, the exothermic reaction (one that produces heat) also produces droplets that float in the air. Therefore, it is important to stand back from the lye/water combination while mixing and to remove it from your primary soap making location once it is mixed. Remember that constant irritation of the respiratory tract may not have immediate consequences to ones health but may show up years later.
Utility Safeguardlocated in PA carries just about all the safety equipment needed to make soap -chemical masks, neoprene gloves, face shields and goggles.
Safety Supply America - Located in Newport Beach California carry a wide assortment of safety equipment including personal protective gear - masks, goggles,and gloves.
Lye calculator - Majestic Sagehas one of the best lye calculators around. I have used it many times and have always been pleased with its accuracy.
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