Handmade soap & body products require safety measures, just like other businesses. Today we will focus on what practices are used in the Paw Paw Soap Chef soap room.
As excited as I get to make soap, I always start by cleaning up my soaping space by removing unnecessary items. This can include supply shipments, products that need to go to the curing racks or my design notes. It can take me a few minutes, since I’m pretty excited to tear open supply packages. Those Styrofoam peanuts cling to everything :D. The process continues by a quick wipe down of the surface area. For soaping, a dish rag and light dish detergent work just fine. For other body products, like lotion, a bleach water blend is used followed by a spray of alcohol. This gives me a chance to double check my surface cover, I don’t want the counter/bench ruined. I use a vinyl sheet to cover my wood work bench.
Once the space is ready, all the utensils are set out including: buckets, bowls, immersion blender, frothier, mixing containers and spatulas. Then the ingredients and molds. Depending on the product, I may need to dip the utensils and such in a bleach solution and allow to dry. Anything else gets a quick spray with alcohol.
When I’m ready to start measuring, I make sure my pets are out of the work space. I typically put a gate guard across the door. We don’t have small children, so that’s not a concern but I do let any adults in the house know I’m starting to soap. Distractions of any kind can really cause an unnecessary mess. If there are any drinks or food (for me, it’s drinks more than anything else), they get relocated to a shelf or refrigerator.
Now, I suit up. I put on my apron, googles, and gloves. I double check my design notes and recipe, making any necessary corrections. Right before I mix the lye solution (sodium hydroxide + liquid), I’ll open some windows and put on a mask to prevent breathing in the lye fumes.
Once the oils/fats and lye solution are at the correct temperature, I dive in. Whether you’re a soaper or not, try to follow safety guidelines. Your family and friends like you just the way you are :D.