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Topic: Lye Alternative  (Read 3610 times)
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LovieDovieAnn
« on: July 23, 2010 05:49:22 AM »

I have a son that is VERY active and curious. He's into everything all the time. And, due to suspected autism, he has no concept of danger. So telling him that the container of lye is dangerous and he shouldn't touch it wouldn't help a bit. I've had nightmares concerning this. Like, him suffocating to death because he inhaled lye. Morbid, I know. But all moms have that kind of dream now and again. Right? >.>

Anyway, I can't in good conscience bring lye into the house because it's such a danger to him. But I REALLY want to make goats milk soap. So my question is this: What's a good alternative to lye and how would I change my recipe accordingly? I don't want to use a premade or glycerin soap base because of cost and because I want to do this 100% from scratch. Is it even possible?
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2010 06:15:01 AM »

I'm not a soap maker, but I think this question is addessed in the soap FAQ that is stickied at the top of the board. (The answer was that if you don't have lye, you don't have soap.) Maybe you could get some kind of locking file bin, safe, or cashbox to keep it in so your son can't get into it. If he's old enough to reach keys in a high place and unlock it, you could use a combination lock.
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LovieDovieAnn
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2010 06:26:06 AM »

I'm such a bad Craftster. I didn't even read that first. >.<

Anyway, he's old enough to use keys and obsessed with numbers so neither type of lock is really secure enough. Perhaps I'll have to wait a few years.  Cry
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2010 06:48:14 AM »

Yeah... I'm afraid Feast is right.  No lye, no soap.  Though if you're not opposed to MP (it doesn't have to be expensive!), your son might have fun making it with you!  It can be a fun family activity, and might fill your crafty needs until he's old enough to keep out of the lye. 
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2010 01:43:58 PM »

I really would consider giving MP a try, you're still "making soap", just a bit differently Wink. I use the all natural goat milk soap from WSP and it's wonderful.

I do add stearic acid (I know "acid" can be a scary word, but do some research on this!), which I do recommend using in MP soap as I think it makes a longer lasting, better lathering bar. I will say that it should be melted before melting the soap, as it takes a bit to get it to melt, and it also gets quite hot. But it is not something that you're required to add! I also add olive oil and ground up oatmeal, and sometimes scented, sometimes not.

The only other thing I can suggest is find a friend or relative who is also interested in making soap, and make it over at their place when your son isn't there, as well as store the ingredients over there.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2010 01:45:42 PM by noturavggeek » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2010 02:06:21 PM »

I totally appreciate your cautiousness when it comes to your son and your new hobby..and lye should be respected..but I did want to say that you can have curious kids and make soap..

My kids both know to not come into my studio unless they ask permission..I think for us it just emphasizes boundaries and respect for my space..you could use some sort of container that has a symbol on it that will teach him that that container is off limits..

Also,though it's cheaper to buy huge quantities..I still buy smaller quantities that are in 2 pound containers..it just works better for us that way..

And remember it's like any other household chemical-bleach,oven cleaners,bathroom cleaners,etc..you keep that safely away from him..it's the same with lye..

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LovieDovieAnn
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2010 09:23:58 PM »

Thanks for the advice, everyone!

As far as keeping it out of reach and teaching boundaries goes: Boundaries do not exist with my son. It's part of autism and one of the reasons we're having him tested for it. We can't keep oven cleaner, bleach (I'm allergic anyway), or anything that could potentially be toxic if swallowed in large amounts or he WILL drink it despite putting it away (read: locked in a cabinet and all with child-resistant packaging) and explaining 500 times that it's dangerous. Even our shampoos and conditioners are non-toxic. The only thing that I won't compromise on is soap, but he doesn't eat bar soap for some reason so we're good. >.< He'll be four in a month and still uses his mouth to identify objects for the most part. So, even if he didn't try to drink chemicals, I'd still have to steer clear those kinds of cleaners to avoid long term exposure to harmful chemicals. It's a strange way to live, but I'm getting used to it. : /

For now, we'll try MP. At least it'll be something. And if I put tons of yummy additives it'll be almost like making real soap. haha
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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2010 10:03:52 PM »

What's 'non-toxic' shampoo???

BTW..you can buy unscented cold process soap from someone and rebatch it..it's similar to M&P soap but CP instead..then you can add your own goodies!
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Lindylu
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2010 10:21:24 PM »

Keep in mind when making MP that you can add too much stuff so do some reading and invest in a high quality MP like noturavggeek  said.
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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2010 07:10:37 AM »

Actually it IS possible to make soap without lye. There is a method using ash water try to google it. It is more healtier than lye stuff anyway.
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2010 02:26:55 PM »

Actually it IS possible to make soap without lye. There is a method using ash water try to google it. It is more healtier than lye stuff anyway.

This is incorrect, what you are extracting from the ash water is lye, and it is an extremely dangerous process since you won't know the strength. I don't recommend that anyone try this unless they have a chemistry degree, and really know what they are doing (I certainly wouldn't do it). It's not any "healthier," I don't think that term really makes any sense anyways in this context.
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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2010 08:06:20 PM »

Actually it IS possible to make soap without lye. There is a method using ash water try to google it. It is more healtier than lye stuff anyway.

That's how my gtandparents did it and the only way they knew the lye was ready was by floating an egg on it.  The stories of lye burns is terrible and that is what you are recommending.  Please do your research and learn more about soapmaking before making such dangerous recommendations.

No lye = no soap.
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« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2010 08:38:07 PM »

and to add what others said..remember that there is NO lye left in the soap after saponification is done..


 
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« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2010 08:51:19 PM »

For a little more background, one of the reasons that people have such bad associations with "lye soap" today is that back in the olden days when this method of leaching lye from ashes was the norm, the finished soap was often lye heavy and really did burn the skin or was very harsh. The reason it was lye heavy is, of course, because they had no way to gauge the amount or strength of their lye water solution.
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« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2010 11:39:47 PM »

i KNOW what i am talking about. I am a memeber of several ecovillages and familiar with their process of making soap. Ash water can be used alone to wash the hair, dishes etc. This is how people used to have before commercial soaps and i never encountered anyone preaching about the dangers. Maybe what we talk about is two different things?
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« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2010 02:37:12 AM »

i KNOW what i am talking about. I am a memeber of several ecovillages and familiar with their process of making soap. Ash water can be used alone to wash the hair, dishes etc. This is how people used to have before commercial soaps and i never encountered anyone preaching about the dangers. Maybe what we talk about is two different things?

Yeah, I think you might not be talking about what we are talking about. Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2010 04:39:02 AM »

I agree with MareMare that ash water is lye.  Read a book or do some research online to educate yourself as to what ash water actually is.  Lye-sodium hydroxide-caustic soda-ash water-it is all the same stuff.
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« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2010 03:56:23 PM »

i KNOW what i am talking about. I am a memeber of several ecovillages and familiar with their process of making soap. Ash water can be used alone to wash the hair, dishes etc. This is how people used to have before commercial soaps and i never encountered anyone preaching about the dangers. Maybe what we talk about is two different things?

I would be interested in some source information to explain this "ash water" you are talking about.
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« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2010 08:30:19 PM »

Is tinybits possibly referring to soda ash (sodium carbonate), also known as washing soda?

A link to wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_carbonate

Home made laundry soap, using washing soda as one of the ingredients:
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=340839.0
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« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2010 09:40:02 AM »

My roommate does work with autism kids in schools as a teacher and I have learned a lot about autism and how the child behaves..I would most definetly make cold process or hot process soap in another location other than your home if you can or while your child is away. Otherwise, I would jusy use melt and pour if you believe your child is fine with it. There are many things you can do with melt and pour (and other premade bases such as lotion, shampoo, etc.) hat you can not do with cold process. Brambleberry.com's owner, Anne Marie, has a blog called "Soap Queen" and she has a gazillion cool looking soap projects that I have no idea of how to conceive of if I did it from scratch. And there are sellers on etsy that make tons of sales by using melt and pour soaps that look like real desserts, real food, and other interesting stuff.
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« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2010 08:00:30 PM »

If you look around you can find melt & pour soaps that have little, if any, detergent in them which would give you a beautiful product....
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jmk3482
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2010 02:26:10 PM »

Is tinybits possibly referring to soda ash (sodium carbonate), also known as washing soda?

A link to wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_carbonate

Home made laundry soap, using washing soda as one of the ingredients:
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=340839.0

Perhaps that is what she is referring to. But sodium carbonate will NOT saponify fat. It's a simple chemical fact. I have used washing soda in homemade laundry soap. It does work to clean things. But it's completely different than lye.
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« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2010 09:26:45 PM »

Water through ashes = lye.  It is what has been used since the beginning of man.....  No magic to it and unfortunately our friend is misinformed and giving dangerous advice.
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« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2010 08:01:01 AM »

SmittenHeart beat me to it.  

Buy cold or hot process unscented soap, mill it down, add 1 TBL milk per pound of soap, let it sit overnight.  Plop it into a crockpot on low heat with a lid on.

When it has melted, you can add fragrance and color, then mold it up

Quote
i KNOW what i am talking about. I am a memeber of several ecovillages and familiar with their process of making soap. Ash water can be used alone to wash the hair, dishes etc. This is how people used to have before commercial soaps and i never encountered anyone preaching about the dangers. Maybe what we talk about is two different things?

TinyBits,

We are talking about the same thing.

Potash (what you have when you leach water through ashes, usually multiple times) is potasium hydroxide (KOH), i.e. lye.

If water is leached through soft wood ashes, the amount of lye is very, very low.  When using hard wood ashes, you better take care because it can and will blind you or cause chemical burns.

I still use this method to lye my flint corn for making hominy.

I don't care one wit about what your friends in ecovillages do or have done. Potash is dangerous, period.  Just because you haven't heard of the dangers does not make them less dangerous.

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« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2010 10:04:49 PM »

Well spoken Cyndi....
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