Safely working with lye

Lye is one of the key ingredients in the production of soap. Through a chemical reaction it converts oils and fats to what we know as soap. Lye is also one of the key ingredients in drain openers such as drano and liquid plumber because of its unique ability to convert greasy buildup into a soluable substance thus clearing a clogged line. Lye should be handled in the same way that drain cleaner, bleach or pool chemicals would be handled. If mishandled it can be a dangerous chemical and can cause harm to you and others. If handled correctly these kinds of problems can be avoided. There is no reason why accidents involving lye cannot be completely avoided.

You can substantially reduce your chances of ever having an accident by remembering four things.

1. Never pour water into lye. Always pour lye into the water. (slowly) If you pour water onto lye it can cause a violent reaction.

2. Secondly, be careful not to splash or spill the lye solution.

3. When handling lye wear goggles, rubber gloves and long sleeves.

4. Keep lye out of the reach of children.

Please read the following safety information regarding lye.

Warning: Keep children and animals away from lye. Lye is very caustic and can cause serious injury or even death if swallowed and can cause blindness if splashed into the eyes. By all means wear long sleeves and be sure to always wear safety goggles. Always keep a large cup of fresh water nearby. If you should splash some lye or raw soap into your eye, IMMEDIATELY pour large amounts of cool water into your eye continuously for 10 minutes, or longer. Visit your nearest hospital emergency room or call 911. If you should splash lye or raw soap onto your skin, rinse immediately with cool water. For more serious skin burns, seek medical care immediately. If lye is accidently swallowed, do not induce vomiting, call a poison control center or 911 for further instructions, get to emergency fast. It is important to have your lye containers labeled. Again, keep lye away from children and when working with lye keep children away from your work area.

Click here for information on safely working with lye.
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