Lye?!! : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

WHERE CAN I BUY LYE? I used to make soap all the time and now I can't find lye in the area. I even checked a neighboring state! It appear's that lye has phosphates (or IS a phosphate?) and we have lakes. We just butchered and I would love to make soap again. Any idea's would be greatly appreciated. Is there any other way to make it without lye? I tried the drain cleaner that is still for sale and it didn't work the same. The container wasn't the same size and I'm not sure what all else they put in it. Thanks!

-- Kathy Cox (, July 22, 2000


Don't know where you live, but the Jay-C grocery stores in Indiana sell it-Red Devil Lye.

-- Cindy (, July 23, 2000.

red devil drain cleaner, or you can leach it from hard wood ashes

-- Stan (, July 23, 2000.

Lye (soda lye) is sodium hydroxide - nothing else - no phosphate - sodium, hydrogen, oxygen. Potash lye you can't often buy, it's harder to keep - sucks moisture out of the air and dissolves in it (deliquescent) - is potassium hydroxide - can be made out of ashes (pot ash). Both, as you'd know, of course, are extremely caustic and corrosive and dangerous. Anything which has anything except or more than sodium hydroxide isn't the lye you normally buy in hardware stores, groceries, supermarkets, hypermarts, any number of suppliers on the Web, etc.

The ROCKY MOUNTAIN SURVIVAL GROUP has lots of useful stuff. If you go there, page to "Clothing & Textiles", then click on "Soapmaking" you'll find a lot of soap-related information and recipes.

One of those, which takes a lot of persistence to get past many errors, is Traditional Soap Making (direct link - avoid the errors), which tells how to make lye from wood ashes, then soap from that.

-- Don Armstrong (, July 23, 2000.

Thank's everyone! Guess I should have said where I live! Montana and Idaho don't seem to sell the old style lye in the stores anymore. Haven't tried specialty stores or the internet. Don't have a credit card for one thing. Will check out the web sites for more info. Not much hard wood around-fruit trees if you can catch someone cutting one down. Have never had the time to try and leach my own-have always had one or two outside job's going and the home place. Excuses, excuses!

-- Kathy (, July 23, 2000.

I purchase lye from a small local hardware store. None of the grocery stores or big home-supply chains around here carry it. Call around, no sense paying shipping if you can help it. Cathy

-- Cathy Horn (, July 23, 2000.

You can purchase lye from a number of soap making sites on the Internet, if you don't want to use a credit card you can usually print an order form and mail. If you need a large quantity you can also purchase it from Chem-Lab. There is a fee for transporting hazardous materials.

-- Linda Al-Sangar (, July 23, 2000.

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