I had a private soapmaking class today with a wonderful woman named Autumn. She has been making soap but wanted to step up her skills and knowledge.
Autumn started making soap after going to the doctor and discovering that she had eczema. She immediately got rid of the synthetic cleansers that she had, including laundry detergent, and started making her own products.
I love teaching students who have a bit of experience in soapmaking. The conversations are always interesting and sometimes I learn something along the way.
Autumn learned two big lessons early in her soaping journey that were good reminders for me.
Do Not Make Lye Solution in Pyrex
Pyrex in known for being heat resistant even in quick drastic temp fluctuations. I know many soapmakers who mix their lye solution in Pyrex because Pyrex is known to be able to take the heat. The problem with mixing lye in Pyrex is not with the heat, it is with etching or scratching of the glass.
I don’t completely understand how or why, but lye solution etches Pyrex over time. It creates tiny scratches that can cause the Pyrex to eventually shatter.
The shatter occurs when you are cleaning the Pyrex or moving the Pyrex (hitting it on another object). Have you had this happen? Post in the comments to let others know about it.
I’ve heard of several soapmakers who have had this happen. And Autumn is one of them. She had a Pyrex container shatter on her while cleaning after using for soapmaking.
In my opinion, it is not worth taking the risk of using Pyrex for mixing up your lye solution. Instead, make your lye solution in heavy duty plastic, plastic buckets or stainless steel bowls or pitchers.
Do Not Measure Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils Into Plastic Cups
Fragrance oils and essential oils can eat through non chemical-resistant plastic such as plastic drink cups. They can also eat through Styrofoam cups.
Autumn found this lesson out the hard was as well. She had measured fragrance oil into a plastic cup and left it on a table. The fragrance oil had completely eaten through the cup and went all over her table, ruining the finish.
I like to measure my essential oils and fragrance oils into glass mason jars or stainless steel containers.
Thanks for these reminders, Autumn! Both were great reminders for me and for other soapmakers out there.
Since Autumn had the basics of soapmaking down, we stepped it up a bit by making soap with fresh goat’s milk. She has a friend at work that is getting goats; now she’ll be able to use it in her soap.
I think it came out great! Check out these pictures!