Anyone make soap without Lye? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Does anyone know how to make soap without lye? My wife want to make it, but we are told you can't get lye in Missouri because it is also used to make some kind of drug.

-- Chris Tomlinson (, January 18, 2002


I don't know about making soap without lye I am still trying to do that. I too live in missouri and I got my lye through the mail from a soap supplier called rainbow meadow. I didn't know about the sale ban in missouri but I did order lye from the supplier. I would think that it would be ok but might want to have homemade soap that you have made. At any rate if you want to contact them their net address is

-- gail missouri ozarks (, January 18, 2002.

I know how to make your own lye...all our stuff is packed so it may take me an hour or two to find the recipe...but if you want it.. I will try.

-- Kristean Thompson (, January 18, 2002.

You can only make a "soft" soap without lye. The lye is what makes it soap. It is the saponification process--lye + fat (vegetable or animal)= soap. There are a lot of soap websites, you might want to do a search.

-- Sharon (, January 18, 2002.

In the old days, lye water was made by pouring water through piles of hardwood ashes in a hollow tree stump with a hole near the bottom. the water was collected as it ran out the bottom hole and it was judged to be the right strength, by placing a small amount on the tongue and judging the bite it had. I don't recommend the judging/tasting part.

-- BC (, January 18, 2002.

I'm not sure about the regulations in Missouri - but you can generally purchase Red Devil lye in the grocery or hardware store - it's used as a drain cleaner. You cannot use other drain cleaner products because they contain other chemicals. There are also many chemical companies that you can purchase lye from on the internet - however you will need to pay a hazmat fee - again I don't know if Missouri law will permit this. The easiest way to make soap without lye is to use glycerin melt and pour base. You melt the base down, color and scent it; and pour it in to a mold. After it cools it is ready to be removed from the molds and used. Glycerin base is available from many suppliers on the web and in some craft stores. There are methods to making your own lye - it is a bit of a cumbersome process. You can find a full description of the method in Dr. Robert McDaniel's soap making book available from Amazon. If you haven't made soap using lye before I suggest that you obtain a good reference to read prior to the attempt. Lye is a dangerous chemical and can cause serious burns if not handled properly. I recommend Susan Miller Cavitch's Soap Makers Companion. It is a great instructional reference and has many recipes. Hope this helps.

-- Sherri Winegardner (, January 18, 2002.

Thanks to all. I know how to make lye with wood ash, thanks to Foxfire books, I just wanted to find something simpler. I may still do it that way.

-- Chris Tomlinson (, January 19, 2002.

You can make lye from wood ash but the end product is potassium hydroxide, not sodium hydroxide. Potassium hydroxide makes a soft soap, sodium hydroxide a hard bar. You can use other very basic (opposite to acidic) substances as lye to react to the slightly acidic oils and make soap, but I don't know of any myself. Lye (base) + oils (acid) = salt (soap). Mary

-- Mary Fraley (, January 20, 2002.

Thanks for everyone's help on this one. I no longer have need for additional information on this subject.

-- Chris Tomlinson (, January 20, 2002.

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