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Basic Soap-Making Safety Tips

Like any craft, it’s important to do your research about safety precautions before becoming a soap maker. While a lot of learning happens with trial by error, it’s crucial to do what you can to protect your skin beforehand. 

Let’s Talk About Lye:

Soap-making can be dangerous if you’re not properly prepared. The first step is learning exactly how soap is made! Cold process soaps are made using a substance called lye (sodium hydroxide) which is a caustic substance that can be extremely harmful to the body if not handled responsibly. The very first thing to note about lye is that when you are preparing your lye water you always add the lye to the liquid you are using, never the other way around. Do not pour your liquid over the lye - this can cause the lye to erupt. Cold process soap is made by mixing oils/butters with a liquid/lye mixture which causes a chemical reaction called saponification. If lye or soap batter comes in contact with the skin, it can cause chemical burns and can even cause blindness if it comes in contact with the eyes. If either of these instances occur, rinse the area thoroughly and seek medical attention immediately. All in all, these situations can be avoided with the right prep and handling. 

So don’t let that scare you! All cold process soap is made using lye. Once the soap has cured, the lye will do no harm to the skin. If you are considering taking up soap-making as a hobby or career then all you need to do is prepare ahead of time. Keep reading to learn how I prepare myself for a day of crafting soap!


The very first thing I do to prepare for a day of making soap is really how I start any day. Getting dressed! Now, I do have a special pair of overalls I like to wear when I make soap. Overalls are not essential for safety, however, it does ensure that my legs and mid-area are covered, which are sneaky areas that can accidentally be exposed to soap batter. Under the overalls, if it’s cool enough to do so, I will wear a long sleeve shirt to further protect my arms. Many experienced soap makers don’t necessarily need to wear long sleeves because the more experience you have, the better control you have! In the beginning, though, I do think it’s wise to cover. 

In addition to clothing, I also make sure to wear close-toed shoes with socks. The feet are another sneaky spot that can accidentally come in contact with soap batter if you’re not careful. Because of this I always make sure my feet are covered. 


This is a step that I had to learn through experience. It’s important, especially in the early stages of soap-making, to make sure your hair is tied up and out of the face. Not only do you want to make sure absolutely no hair falls into your soap batter but soap-making requires a lot of uninterrupted attention and if your hair is in the way, it may not be so easy to fix! This I have learned from experience. Now it’s one of the first things I do before making soap. 

Prepping My Work Area:

I want to start this section out by noting that if you have any pets or children, it’s very important to make sure they do NOT have access to the room which you are crafting. Just as it can harm humans it can do equal amounts of damage to animals. So make sure your precious furry and non-furry family members are protected first and foremost! 

Some people are able to craft in their garages which is an excellent space to use if possible. However, not everyone has access to that kind of space and that’s okay! A lot of soap makers start off in their kitchens. To prep my area I always start off by opening windows to make sure there is air flow. Lye heats up quickly and creates strong fumes that should be aired out. For extra protection, wearing a mask can also be considered. Aside from open windows, I generally make sure that my work area is completely cleared of any personal items before starting. And to protect my table I always use a tablecloth or cover that I specifically use for soap making. 


The eyes are the most important part of the body to protect while making soap. Sight is such a precious sense that we want to make sure there is absolutely no way of possibly getting lye in the eye. Make sure to purchase safety goggles that cover the entire eye area of the face. When mixing lye, sometimes the batter can splatter. This is why wearing goggles is so important. It can hit you by surprise if you aren’t careful! Always always always wear safety goggles while making soap and remember not to touch your face in the process.


The second most important part of the body to protect while crafting soap is (you guessed it) the hands! While I have been lucky enough to not have a lye-in-my-eye type situation, I have on the other hand dealt with accidentally getting soap batter on my arm. And it is no fun experience! There’s that trial by error! I always wear gloves while making soap and I make sure to wash my hands thoroughly after any contact with soap batter. Never handle lye with bare hands! 

a pair of hands wearing blue latex gloves

So there you have it, folks! These safety tips are absolutely crucial when learning how to make soap. If you think you’re up for the challenge, just prepare ahead of time and take your time!