Where can I find liquid lye?

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I'm all primed to make some soap, and I cannot find liquid lye anywhere; Wal-mart, Giant, Home Depot, little local grocery all carry lye crystals only. Any ideas? Thank you.

-- lisa (vadas@nfdc.net), March 09, 2002


When I made soap there was only the crystals available, but if I remember right you very carefully added water to it in a non corrosive container. It has been quite a few years since I made soap so I would suggest you check out some soap making forums. There a quite a few on Yahoo. You might try a search for soapmaking if you haven't yet, it will probably bring up some sites with info. Sorry I couldn't be more specific, but I do remember using the lye as a liquid but it started out as crystals. Just be sure to always work with long sleeves on & for the first couple of times at least I'd suggest safety glasses. Good Luck, Kathy

-- Kathy Aldridge (beckoningwinds@yahoo.com), March 09, 2002.

Ok. I just went to the Miller soapmaking page and it explained the lye. I initially read a bunch of recipes on this forum, and assumed that lye in a can was in liquid form. My other assumption is that it's OK to substitute sheep's milk for goats milk in these recipes. If any soap experts see this, PLMK if this is another glaring error. Thanx again!

-- lisa (vadas@nfdc.net), March 09, 2002.

I did a search & found this site which has tons of information including how to use the crystal lye. Go to the site then to 'making your first bar of soap. There are alot of recipes at the site also. Hope this helps.


Blessings, Kathy

-- Kathy Aldridge (beckoningwinds@yahoo.com), March 09, 2002.

Lisa- I have not used cow milk for my soaps; but according to my book, both goat and cow milk make excellent milk soaps. Just a matter of personal prefrence....or availability. Whole store bought milk is fine. To incorporate it better, it needs to be pasteurized, frozen, then thawed before using in your soap making. Lacey

-- Lacey (cddllt@webtv.net), March 10, 2002.

Ooops....you asked about sheep's milk-sorry, anyway, same thing, you should be able to sub it in as long as it is pasteurized, and has been frozen and thawed. Just don't want to use skim milks or powdered, because of the lack of fat content. Lacey

-- Lacey (cddllt@webtv.net), March 10, 2002.

Hi Lisa; I do not make soap,but "Red Devil" brand makes lye that is suppose to be sold by Home Depot and Walmart (try the cleaning or paint isles).If you search for soap and lye on google many people claim to get it at those stores,also people that make biodiesel claim to buy it there as well. regards

-- ourfarm (ourfarm@noaddr.com), March 10, 2002.

Lye comes in crystal form. I have made soap for the last 3 years.go to the yahoo soap boards and ask any question there.

-- cindy in MO (redhenfarm@yahoo.com), March 10, 2002.

I make and sell soap, only olive/coconut/palm/cocoa butter with either goats milk or sheep milk and essential oils. Sheep milk has a higher fat content than goats' milk. Sheep milk is wonderful, I raise sheep but make mostly goat's milk soap because...have you ever tried to milk out sheep. I do and keep it for any babies along the way that turn out to be bottle babies. Personally though just using good old distilled water or rain water is great soap. If you use milk you cannot discount as much because of not wanting all that floating fat. My milk soap takes a couple of months to cure as the water soap takes 4 or 5 weeks. Water soap also can have a much higher discount on the lye. By your lye at Sugar Plum Sundries in 10 pd containers, it is great lye, I think much better than red devil plus with the grocery store lye you must make sure it is straigt lye they seem to put something else in with it these days. Debbie

-- debbie (bwolcott@cwis.net), March 10, 2002.

We make sheep's milk soap, 30 or so different types. Milking sheep is easy and fast..............if you've got $20,000+++ in equipment! LOL Yes sheep's milk should be around 6% fat or twice what goats milk is.

-- Ross (amulet@istar.ca), March 10, 2002.

Ross, tell me a little bit about diary sheeping. I am assumming you do, why 20 grand to start. Where would one market the milk? I doub't you could do anything like that in OK. But sure something I have dreamed about. Debbie

-- debbie (bwolcott@cwis.net), March 10, 2002.

Hmmmm don't think I said it takes 20G's to start I said 20G's to make it fast and easy. Takes about $500 to start. Cheap interpulse sheep milker (same as the cheap interpulse goat milker with different shells and liners). A used $200 vac pump and vacuum regulator and an old Surge milker pail/pulsator. Presto your milking sheep. To spend 20 thousand +++ start buying Alpha Laval TF80 milkers, Surge Electronic pulsation controer and 24v electric pulsators, a walk in freezer and bulk tank, head gates for 24, and a parlour for same. Dairy sink, water heater, antifatigue flooring, pipeline, receiver jar, bulk grain tank for concentrate to feed in the parlour............. one of the nice +++ things would be recorder jars for DHI testing, and implant ID. Ok tieing that to a computer controled ration formulation on an individual sheep's production is a bit space campy for me, but there are those who don't think so and it's probably done in France. Why do it? Sheep's milk soap sells well, and it's used to make cheese. I'm hoping to co-op produce cheese with my neighbors who own an on farm million dollar cheese plant. I did sell milk to another producer but Ont. prices are not the best. US prices are pretty good though. I started to milk because I wanted to stop buying formula, and for flock health for the few that lost lambs. A slippery slope! There are dairy sheep, East Freisans, Lancune, British Dairy Sheep, Rideau Arcotts, and a bunch more. I have some Rideaus, but Dorsets get used a lot and Polypay. I've milked as many as I can Suffolks, Hamps, (which produce lot's of milk but a stone stupid)and even North County Cheviots. (Don't do that BTW NCC's are nuts) Yeilds vary from .5 litre per day to 4 or 5 litres per day, but of coarse the more you get the lower the solids. A litre and a quart are about the same, for the metricly challenged.

-- Ross (amulet@istar.ca), March 10, 2002.

Um... to get back to the milk question. I don't pasteurize ANY of my goat's milk and it works just fine. When you mix in the lye it tends to "boil up" so have it in a larger container than you think you need. Then when you get ready to make soap, whisk in in the "soap" that formed from the cream. Works fine. Enjoy!!

-- Gailann Schrader (gtschrader@aol.com), March 11, 2002.

Hi, Lisa. You can put just about any milk product in your soap, even powdered milk. The main thing is to ALWAYS pour the lye into the water, not the water into the lye. Think "snow falling on water." If you pour the water into the lye, you run a greater risk of it splashing up into your face.

If you do use sheep/goat/cow milk in it's liquid form, put it in the freezer until it's slushy. That will help keep the temp of your lye water down (milk, like honey, really heats up a batch), give you a lighter color soap, and alleviate some of the ammonia smell that milk soaps can have while they're curing. Or, if you're doing a milk/water combo, you could wait and add the milk portion after your soap traces.

Here's a good site, with pictures of all the steps. http://www.geocities.com/blueaspenoriginals/



-- Rachel (res0bp99@verizon.net), March 11, 2002.

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