Isn't Caustic Soda Corrosive?

by Graham

Love the idea of making soap but isn't sodium hydroxide corrosive?


Further, are there lists of acceptable additives? I don't want to create a toxic or harmful substance from the combination of different products.

Regards Graham

Answer:

Yes, Sodium Hydroxide (lye) is corrosive and that's why protective clothing and eyewear is necessary when making a batch of soap.

The good news is that once the lye solution is mixed with the oils, a chemical reaction starts to take place. This reaction actually consumes the lye until there isn't any left in the final product that you will wash with.

This is why it is important that the recipe you use for making soap has the correct amount of lye compared to oil in it. Too much lye in the recipe and there will be lye left over in the final product.

Always use a lye calculator on a recipe before attempting to make the soap just to be sure that the recipe is correct.

As for a list of acceptable additives...visit my page on soap making additives. You will find all sorts of ingredients that can safely be added to soap.

If you plan on adding other types of ingredients, I'm afraid you will have to research the product for any hazards.

You could also try Health Canada and the US Food and Drug Administration for more information.

Good luck,
Cathy

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