Disaster, almost

Day 354 as a professional soap maker and I’ve had my first real lye burn.  Before you panic, let me be clear: I did not have to go to the hospital or seek medical help, but I cried — OUCH!  Honestly, I probably cried more for the lost product than I did for the injury.

To begin at the beginning:

I’ve been trying to catch up on some low stock, so I was multi-tasking.  Bad call.  While making a big batch of the Trousseau  and Hon(ey) Soap, I also decided to work on some lip balms and bag a bunch of orders from my office.  In doing so, I forgot to put together my soap molds until I had already mixed the lye solution and the oils!

Frantically, I screwed together the molds and poured in the unscented Hon(ey) soap.  I quickly realized that the soap was leaking out of the side; something was wrong and I couldn’t figure out what in time to save that batch.  I will need to investigate that mold before I try again to figure out why it didn’t seal properly.  I dumped the whole thing in the sink, apparently getting some on my sleeve in the process.

Cranky about the first wasted batch, I mixed in the essential oils for the Trousseau Soap and started pouring into the other two molds.  The first mold went fine and I put it on the shelf to cure.  The second mold, however, was a complete disaster.  In my panic over the first mold, I must have forgotten to insert the second bottom liner of the acrylic mold, meaning that there were two huge holes in the bottom of the mold!  By the time I realized what was going on, half of the soap had gone straight through the holes into the burner compartments of my range, filling two of the burner areas!

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As I tried to get that mold into the sink as well, some of the soap splashed onto my face.  I tried to wipe it off with my sleeve, but only managed to get more on my lips.  My poor, stupid instincts kicked in and, before I could stop myself, I’d licked some of it off.  Now my cheek, lips, AND tongue were burning from the soap and the water from my tongue was making the lye in the soap burn even more.  I couldn’t get to the vinegar fast enough, and, even then, it burned.

I’m fine; my lips are now only a little swollen and my tongue is alright.  You can’t even tell that my cheeks were touched at all.  Mostly the right half of my lips feels red and angry.  Just in time for Thanksgiving lol.

All in all, it could have been worse.  It also could have been much, much better.  Out of the 50 bars of soap I was supposed to create tonight, I probably can salvage  20 (from the mold where everything went fine).  The rest of the soap will either be totally unusable (if it’s filled with junk from the range), good enough for me to use in my own shower (if it’s maybe a little junky, but safe), or turned into soap balls (if it’s fine but oddly shaped).

Lesson: Focus.  No multi-tasking!

2 thoughts on “Disaster, almost

    • It really was a scare! I’ve had minor lye burns before, but having it in my mouth (and potentially my throat) was terrifying. My boyfriend got home just as I was putting the vinegar on. Seeing him and having to admit to the huge mess and loss of product just broke me and I ended up crying all over him.

      Today, looking things over, it’s not a total loss. Enough of the soap is left in the molds to make perfect soap balls. There’s nothing in that soap; it’s just at an odd angle within the mold. The stuff from the range doesn’t have much junk in it, so I think that will be lots and lots of odd-shaped soaps for me. Luckily, I like the Trousseau scent, because I’ll be using a lot of it for the next few months! :o)

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