Cleanup In Soap making:
Just writing about the clean-up part of soap making, makes us say, blah! It’s probably universally the most disliked part of the soap making process. Even if you’re NOT a “messy” soaper, you’re still going to be stuck doing a clean-up process each and every time.
So while we’re on the subject, we mid-as-well talk about how to properly do it. You see, the process of the cleaning up after soaping, is different then what you’re use to. In most cases we use heavy lye, heavy amounts of butters, oils, saponification has even began to occur in your mixing buckets.
Keep in mind, even mixed soap batter can be caustic for a number of hours. Chemical reactions of the oils/butters and lye is still occurring. Hence, there is still unused lye lingering around.
Here are the prominent questions:
- What can you do with all of the waste?
- How do you properly dispose all of it?
There may not be a “best method”. However, there are right and wrong ways to handle soaping ingredients. Following some basic safety tips is probably best, regardless the steps you decide to take.
One things for sure; wear long sleeves, goggles, and have plenty of disposable gloves! ; )
Related Article: What are IFRA Guidelines and How To Read Them
Tips for How to Effectively and Safely Clean-up After Soaping!
So we’ve come to that point!
All that time spent being inspired to formulate, calculate, and execute your soap. You’ve measured, melted oils, waited patiently for the lye solution to cool, blended, mixed, poured and did a beautiful swirl design.
Hopefully your soap has turned out just as you wanted.
Like it or not, the clean-up is next on the list of things to do.
*Please DO NOT put everything in the dishwasher!*
Let’s Talk Lye Clean-up!
Please keep all soap making equipment separate from “cookware”. In addition, keep soaping ingredients away from children and pets. Soap making is for responsible adults only!
We know lye is caustic and it’s most harmful when it’s the most concentrated. So what do you do with the container that held the lye itself?
The easiest way to clean the container in regards to lye is wash it out with warm tap water and dish soap. The container can completely be re-used.
Remember, you should be using specific containers for lye and lye solution (NO aluminum, & remember glass can break!). Handle all equipment after CP soaping with disposable gloves. Spoons, measuring cups, lye solution container, thermometer, should be dealt with similarly to the lye container.
What if I See Spilt Lye or Granules on the Area I soaped?
If dry lye does fall on your surface, brush it off gently (potentially back into the lye container). Then, wipe the area with a damp cloth multiple times
What About the Soap Batter and Mixing Equipment with Residual Soap Batter?
Again, personal preference here. We like to deal with the equipment first that held the undiluted lye and the lye solution. Once that’s out of the way, we handle the equipment with batter/lye residuals.
Option 1 – Immediate Disposal:
Oftentimes, soapers like to clean their containers and equipment fairly quickly. We hate dirty dishes lying around, so we’d rather get the “clean-up” over with.
For us, the easiest way to clean, is to wipe down all the containers, spatulas, mixers with paper towels of any residual batter. (You can also scrape contents with a rubber spatula). We have a separate bag for dirty “soap rags” or paper towels that we discard, after soaping. After all, you don’t want all those oils, and soap batter in your pipes, which is why we avoid the dishwasher!
After all the heavier portions of residual are gone, their is bound to still be a coating on your soap making equipment.
Have a dedicated rag and/or sponge for cleaning your soap equipment. We also have a long brush to get into any detailed bottles we may use.
At this point, their is no magic formula. It’s about getting down and dirty! Dawn is our friend. It’s grease fighting and does a really good job when combined with hot water at getting through the oils. Gather your containers, dish soap + hot water & let them soak. We usually place our small utensils in one of the soapy containers as well, and let sit for a few minutes.
At this time, we usually clean our blender. Place it in one of the containers with dish soap and hot water and pulse it. This usually does the trick as long as the soap has not been sitting to long on the blender and blades.
After that, we simply clean the rest of our containers, and utensils. Let dry and we are ready to go again!
Option 2 – Wait Method:
Some soapers prefer to wait until the better has saponified, 24-hours or so. Oftentimes, you don’t have to worry about caustic solutions or batter. Soap has been made. It can fairly easily be washed away with 30 minutes of soaking.
Another plus to this method is if you’re someone who hates waste, you can in fact scrape out the soap from the container(s), and use it in another project down the line. For example, your could make soap balls, or shreds, to place in another soap project. Since you have formulated soap, this is a very real direction to take.
Any method you choose for clean-up, keep yourself safe. Keep all soap making materials in a safe place, away from children and/or pets.
If you have any other thoughts on safe handling and clean-up of CP soap, please be sure to share, we’d love to hear your feedback!