Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Soap Makers Guide To Dress For Success!

If you take a hard look at a soap makers fashion, you might mistake them for an illegal drug manufacturer (think Breaking Bad!)  But in actuality, they are dressed for success!  They are dressed to make the best darn soap they can make!  Our attire gives us soap makers a sense of pride and protection as we produce our product. To have a better understanding of our "uniforms," I think a case study is appropriate here.  Let's examine this picture... It is of me (duh!)... Notice my 'essential dress for success.'

 Let face it, splatter happens in soap making.  Whether it be from your lye mixture, or your oils, a soap maker can get splattered at anytime. And boy do I know you need to be protected!  Hence the get-up in the picture above.

1) Face Shield: It is important to have something cover your eyes (a pair of glasses will do just fine!)  However, I use a face shield because I have gotten lye mixture on my face. By accident, I wiped my face with my gloved hand and to my surprise, there was lye solution on it. The face shield may be overboard for some, but it's a way to remind myself not to touch my face!

2) Gloves: These obviously protect your hands from the sodium hydroxide when adding it the your liquid or when you add your lye liquid to your oils.  They are also crucial when pouring your soap into their molds!  Oftentimes you will have to scrape out remaining soap (getting every last bit!) from your mixing container. These gloves will protect your hands from getting oily or burned.

3) Lab Coat: Protects your clothes. I have two different kinds. The first is my standard cloth lab coat. I don't recommend this.  Any splatter goes through the material.  And the wrists often get in the way, getting saponified oils on it.  Eventually the oils soak through the lab cloth and comes in contact with your skin.  The next thing you know, you are feeling a tingling, itching sensation and you know you have come in contact with your lye solution.  So, I suggest a disposable lab coat (I've been using the same one for the past year and it holds up to a machine washing, so who knows why they are considered disposable.)  The coat is made from a non-tearable paper and lined with plastic.  The wrists are elastic, so your coat wrists can't "hang" and get oils on it.  IT'S AWESOME!!!!

4) Closed Toed Shoes:  So the picture doesn't show this, but PLEASE wear closed toed shoes.  I've learned this the hard way in one of my 'cocky' moments.  Thinking I've been doing this for a while and that I was being careful enough, I stupidly wore flip flops while making soap.  The toe of my flip flop got caught underneath itself which caused me to trip.  While saving the lye mixture I was holding, some of it splattered out of it's container and landed on my other, uncovered foot.  Lesson learned!

These are just a few ways soap makers dress for success.  How do you do it?


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