Cold-pressed soap is a chemical
reaction between two different products – lye and oils/butters
In simple terms, when these two
ingredients combine a chemical reaction takes place, saponification, and soap
is the result.
What is Lye?
Lye is the scientific name of Sodium
Hydroxide - which is chemical made of pure salt. It is a VERY caustic ingredient so must be used with total respect. If any
crystals of Sodium Hydroxide get onto your skin it will burn, it can also burn
through clothing so great care must be taken when using this product.
When using Sodium Hydroxide always
wear protective eye glasses, gloves and long sleeves. Use in a well ventilated
room and keep away from children and animals. If you accidently burn yourself
with the Sodium Hydroxide, wash off immediately – some people use vinegar to
wash in as this is an acid which neutralises the alkaline solution. If in any
doubt whatsoever seek medical attention.
In my workshops I do put this into
perspective by saying we boil a kettle of water probably several times a day
and this can also cause terrible burns if poured over the skin!
Please just take great care and no
accidents should occur.
When adding to your chosen liquid do
not stand over the measuring jug as fumes are released for about 30 seconds and
although these are not harmful they do catch in your throat if inhaled making
Always pour Sodium Hydroxide into your liquid NEVER the other way round as you can
cause a volcano effect which could be dangerous.
I make cold-pressed soap without using a lye?
The simple answer to this is no.
Lye is an essential part of the
chemical equation needed and without it you can not make soap.
Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) is used for
making solid bars of soap and Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) is used to make liquid
In this course we are going to use
distilled water, never use tap water as it contains too many impurities which
may damage your soap.