Lye and Soap Making

Lye is a caustic chemical that is utilized around the globe in soap making. Lye has a long history of being used in soap making, it’s use has been traced back thousands of years !  Because of the nature of the chemical and the skin’s reaction to soap that is made from it, many have wondered about the safety of using lye in soap.



There are a number of reasons that people use lye soap. For starters, this soap is extremely easy to make and can be made at home if you have the right materials. Lye soap is also very powerful and if it has been properly made and aged, can be excellent for many uses. Some of the most popular uses are personal soaps, household cleaners, laundry soaps and liquid soaps.

It has been used for many years and has even been traced back to Mesopotamian times. Since it has been used for such an extended period of time, the creation of lye has developed in such a way that commercial products are completely safe for use. They are also of higher quality than what could be found in the past.


How is Lye Soap Made?

The chemical process from which lye soap is made is called saponification. Through this process a number of elements are combined; lye, sodium hydroxide, vegetable oils or animal fats that have been rendered. They are then heated so that the individual chemicals have the opportunity to react with each other chemically. They are then poured into molds where they cool and cure. The curing or aging process can take several months before the soap is ready. During this time, lye and the oils finish the reacting period and slowly become safe for use.

It is important that if you are making lye soap at home that extreme caution is exercised. If lye is not mixed properly, there is the chance that it will cause burns to the skin or cause a fire. An improper mixture can also cause the soap to remain caustic even after it has aged and if the soap is not aged properly, it may stay caustic as well.

If your skin is exposed to lye, severe chemical burns can occur. It is very important that you only use lye soap that was prepared properly because it has the potential to cause skin irritation or may produce burns. Although there are ways to stop a lye chemical burn, such as using vinegar or other mild acids, the damaging results will not be able to be reversed.


Is Lye Soap Safe?

As long as the lye is mixed properly and the soap has been properly aged, lye soap is completely safe to use. It should not irritate or burn the skin as long as it has been prepared correctly. Below are some steps that you can take to make sure that lye soap is made correctly.

One of the most important things that you can do when making lye soap is to stay protected. Be sure that you are well educated in the mixing process and can work without distractions or interruptions. You should never leave oils unattended, especially while they are heating and you should work slowly so to avoid spills and accidents. The use of goggles and gloves is also recommended.

When you are making your soap be sure that you keep a large gallon of vinegar handy in case there is an accident as vinegar neutralizes lye. You also need to make sure that the area that you are working on is covered and will not contain lye residue once you have completed the process.

Another step of the lye soap process is to plan carefully. You should set out all your ingredients and plan the steps that you will be going through. The first step should be to measure out everything before you begin. When you are ready to mix your water and lye together, remember that there are fumes that you should avoid. Step back a little as you stir the mixture and always prepare your lye solution in a well-ventilated room.



Lye soap is extremely popular and has been used around the world for centuries. It is important that it is prepared properly so that you do not receive any burns or permanent damage. If you choose to make this at home, the steps are fairly simple, but you should follow them closely.

With proper care and preparation, lye soap can be an excellent choice for you and your family. Even though lye in itself is a caustic chemical, you should not shy away from using soap or by making soap with lye in it.


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