I had this morning off and hoped to finish the lye water boil down. A few hours later, including cool down, the potato floats! The mixture did need to be transferd to a bowl with a deep enough bottom to see if it would float. Since lye water is made from passing water through ashes, the resulting lye water is tea colored therefore, soap made from this will not be a pretty white color; I’m thinking more coffee brown? Cocoa?
I have not yet measured how much lye water the 5 gallons made, and will post that when I measure out for the soap. Five gallons is quite a bit to boil down into what appears to be about a quart – more than enough to make a few batches of soap.
Along these lines, not having an extra funnel in which to dedicate to lye making, I free poured the remaining mixture from the pot into the plastic storage container and from this bowl into the same storage container; some of the lye dropped onto the pavement. I am not worried about the lye eating at the pavement however, I was concerned about an animal, or Luna, getting some of the mix on their feet or in their stomachs. This is where the vinegar comes in.
Because lye is a caustic though weak alkaline, one neutralizes an alkaline with an acid. Vinegar is a weak acid that neutralizes a weak alkaline. My vinegar spray bottle went outside with me and the pavement received a good spritzing down. Then I used water to ‘push’ this puddle into the ground along the side of the drive. If/when lye comes into contact with your skin, vinegar is not the instant cure. From what I’ve read, vinegar or dish washing soap, will still create an exothermic reaction (burn) yet will quickly lower the pH of the lye and thus halt the burning process. It will still hurt like Hades. I have not yet experienced this.
Sadly, this little blurb needs to be present:
The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. I am not a medical practitioner. I do not say or imply it is safe for YOU to use vinegar on your lye burns. Use your best judgment when handling lye and seek medical attention immediately if the burn cannot be contained or if lye gets into your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Next step … soap!