Soap making is a fun hobby that can both save money and provide a life without unnecessary harmful chemicals, for the benefit of both yourself and the environment. During the process, however, there is a dangerous component, namely the caustic soda which has a corrosive effect.
This causes many to refrain from making and using soap, as they mistakenly believe that the soap is thus “dangerous” or full of harmful chemicals. However, this is by no means correct, you just have to know what you are doing.
NOTE I am not a chemist, so if you are in doubt about your safety after reading my post, you should consult one.
To make soap, you need safety equipment. It is not expensive purchased special equipment that is needed, but just ordinary protection of skin, breath, and eyes.
However, the best protection is obtained if you combine your safety equipment with care and consideration. Do not stir the ingredients violently, and make sure that the bowls are stable and secure on a table.
Make sure you wear thick fabric clothing. Preferably an apron that does not get soaked. Or do is I: wear a rain jacket and shoes, even though indoors.
Rubber gloves are also needed.
Make your soap in the open air or put it under a hood. Also you could wear a mask. The fumes are corrosive.
The eyes must be protected. Wear real tight-fitting goggles.
When is the soapmaking process dangerous?
By pouring the caustic soda into water, a chemical reaction takes place which develops heat, and the mixture becomes strongly alkaline. When you subsequently pour the mixture together with the oils (fat phase), the whole mixture becomes very alkaline and thus corrosive. It is, therefore, not until you have finished the production, that you can remove the safety equipment. The soap should stay to cure for about 4 – 6 weeks, to get a neutral pH. You must therefore not start using your soap until it has been curing for a month, and you have tested the pH value with, for example, a strip of indicator paper (the cheapest is litmus paper).
I prefer pH very close to 7, but up to 10 are normal.