Is 50% NaOH safe for soaping?

DebbieE

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Oct 8, 2019
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Is a 1:1 water to NaOH ratio safe to use in recipes with 5% superfat? I have never used a lye solution stronger than 1:5 just to have that built-in buffer but a soaper I am chatting with online says 1:1 is perfectly safe if you have at least a 5% SF. Sounds reasonable but would you try it?
 

Yooper

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Sep 7, 2019
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Upper Peninsula of Michigan/ Florida Gulf Coast
I personally would not. I have seen serious lye burns from spills with such a strong lye ratio. Sure, once it’s mixed with the oils it’d be safer, but I’d be very hesitant to recommend it since one small splash could be severe injury.
Also remember that 50/50 (50% by weight of both water and lye) is the absolute amount that the lye will stay in solution. If the room is cold, etc- the lye could precipitate out with such a concentration solution. Too risky for safety, and too risky for good soapmaking practices in my opinion.
Also, what is the benefit to such a concentration? Faster trace, faster curing, something else? If I know of some benefits, I could consider the risks vs the benefits, but I can’t see any benefit at all to a 1:1 mixture just pitfalls.
 

DebbieE

New member
Joined
Oct 8, 2019
Messages
3
I personally would not. I have seen serious lye burns from spills with such a strong lye ratio. Sure, once it’s mixed with the oils it’d be safer, but I’d be very hesitant to recommend it since one small splash could be severe injury.
Also remember that 50/50 (50% by weight of both water and lye) is the absolute amount that the lye will stay in solution. If the room is cold, etc- the lye could precipitate out with such a concentration solution. Too risky for safety, and too risky for good soapmaking practices in my opinion.
Also, what is the benefit to such a concentration? Faster trace, faster curing, something else? If I know of some benefits, I could consider the risks vs the benefits, but I can’t see any benefit at all to a 1:1 mixture just pitfalls.
Thank you! I have no idea why she’s even going there but I wanted the opinion of someone with years of experience before getting back to her. Hopefully she will reconsider her lye strength. Safety first, always!
 
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