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Lye and water mixing jug?

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  • Lye and water mixing jug?

    To those who CP soap, what kind of container do you use to mix your lye and water in?

    I was planning on using a standard pyrex (glass) jug but have just read that glass is not really suitable as it could break due to extreme heat. I don't really know what else to use. Is a standard plastic jug better? I'm pretty sure I used the glass jug when I dabbled in soap making years ago with no problems but I want to get it right, does anyone else use glass?

  • #2
    We use a big plastic bucket - a pyrex jug/bowl should be fine as they are made to withstand heat?

    Just make sure it is plenty big enough.

    Jane
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    • #3
      When mixing these type of chemicals you should add the caustic to the water as the heat will be dissipated in the water before you have added all the caustic. Pyrex should be fine. You can buy Borosilicate laboratory beakers if you prefer but they are very similar to pyrex, not all lab glassware is borosilicate. If pyrex is no good then a domestic plastic jug or bowl will be much worse.

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      • #4
        At work in the lab when making up solutions of NaOH I will put my beaker in an ice bath to stop the heat getting too high in the solution (the higher the heat produced the more fumes come off).
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        • #5
          thanks everyone, I'll only be making small batches to begin with, so I'll probably just stick with my pyrex jug for now

          indri, i'm no chemist and new to soap making so I have no idea what I'm talking about but if the solution was cooled would that affect the chemical process taking place, would it slow it down or somehow be less effective?

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          • #6
            No makes no difference chemically. It doesn't really affect the time it takes to dissolve the NaOH in the water either. I have no clue about soap making, so I have no idea what sort of concentration you make up for the soap. I have no problem with pyrex beakers even when I'm too lazy to go upstairs to get the ice, and a pyrex jug is going to be much thicker glass, so I'd expect it less likely to shatter anyway. I think my husband (who's the proper chemist) worked out that the concentration I make up has a temperature rise of more that 70C which makes my solution more dangerous by not only being caustic but hot too!!
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            'I am sure it must hurt your eyes to work filigree by candlelight.' - Jane Austen

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            • #7
              For smallish batches I use an old plastic jug but pyrex would be fine too.

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              • #8
                Just a small note to be aware off is that lye will etch glass so over time your jug will look cloudy, nothing to worry about but some people don't expect it. I had a "special" set of glassware in the lab just for NaOH all of which has gone white. At home I use a plastic bucket for large batches or one of those large plastic microwave jugs so the solution has lots of space and isn't filled right to the brim.

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                • #9
                  So would a regular plastic bucket be safe too then?

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                  • #10
                    Coming at it from a housewife and jeweller's point of view - I cook in pyrex pans and keep my acid solutions in pyrex bowls. Pyrex is good stuff.
                    needless to save I keep my vessels separate.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by squeakyclean View Post
                      So would a regular plastic bucket be safe too then?

                      As long as it can withstand boiling water it should be fine! (by the way you shouldn't have your water reaching quite such a high temperature).
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                      'I am sure it must hurt your eyes to work filigree by candlelight.' - Jane Austen

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by squeakyclean View Post
                        So would a regular plastic bucket be safe too then?
                        That's what we use:-)
                        www.just-soaps.com
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                        • #13
                          Thanks everyone, I'll probably stick with the pyrex jug for now then move to a bucket if I need something bigger

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                          • #14
                            The soapmakers over in the US tell me that pyrex can shatter if there are minuscule scratches in the jug. Apparently (so someone with A level physics tells me), the expansion effects of thermal shock (from rapid heating effects of adding lye to the water) causes mechanical stress which focuses on that scratch which can suddenly spread thereby cracking the glass. I have read some comments on US soap forums from those who have had this happen to them so the most popular soapmaking jug is a plastic rubbermaid pitcher which, of course, we can't get over here.

                            Nevertheless I still use my pyrex although I probably shouldn't!!
                            Last edited by itunu; 02-03-2013, 04:33 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by AnnieAnna View Post
                              Coming at it from a housewife and jeweller's point of view - I cook in pyrex pans and keep my acid solutions in pyrex bowls. Pyrex is good stuff.
                              needless to save I keep my vessels separate.
                              'Glass' pans aren't pyrex, they are actually a form of ceramic. I do a lot of commercial glass recycling so I haven't made this up.

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