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Sodium Hydroxide (LYE)

Sodium Hydroxide (LYE)
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Buy lye from Bulk Apothecary.  We are one of the nation's largest manufacturers and suppliers of pure lye (sodium hydroxide).  Also known as Caustic Soda, Lye is a product that is used in the creation of soap, detergent, paper, textiles and drinking water. It is a chemical base and comes packaged as a white solid.  



Lye Supplier (Sodium Hydroxide)  

Our pure sodium hydroxide lye has countless uses and meets Food Codex Specifications.   Furthermore, we offer it for the absolute lowest prices online. If you find a better price on pure Sodium Hydroxide anywhere online, let us know and we will do our best to beat that price.  *** This item can only ship UPS Ground or LTL due to item being a Hazardous Material. ***Due to the hazardous nature of this product an adult is required to sign for the package when it is delivered. *** Important Note: Please keep in mind that by pressing the order button below you are agreeing to the fact that you are over 18 years of age and are using this LYE for Soap Making or another legal use. We keep full records of where we sell our sodium hydroxide and cooperate completely with local and federal authorities when approached. Please also note that the information below is for research purposes only and we highly recommend that no one uses lye based on the information below.  This product is very dangerous to work with and all proper precautions should be used before use.  KEEP FAR AWAY FROM CHILDREN.  LYE CAN CAUSE SEVERE CHEMICAL BURNS AND EVEN DEATH IF NOT HANDLED PROPERLY!


Lye – Uses and Benefits of Sodium Hydroxide

Having become an incredibly versatile and useful ingredient in everything from food preparation to drain cleaning, it’s no wonder that the world produced 60 million metric tons of sodium hydroxide in 2004. A brief overview of the many uses include:


Food – It can be used to wash or chemically peel fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, it is often used to soften foods like olives or baked goods.

Cleaning – In liquid form, it is used to de-clog drains, dissolve metals and strip paint off a surface. It can also be used to de-grease stainless steel and glass bake ware.

Hair – In liquid form, it is mixed with other ingredients to create a hair straightening substance (often referred to as a “relaxer”).

Tissue – It is often used to dissolve tissue, specifically to break down the tissue of dead animals in carcass removal.

Paper – It is a key ingredient in the creation of paper from wood pulp.

Soap – Typically for cold-process soap making, lye is essential. It can also be used in hot-process soap making when mixed with the appropriate fat and oils. Caustic soda (lye) creates a chemical reaction known as saponificiation. This process is what breaks down the oils and turns them into soap.


History of Lye

Ancient Egyptians and Babylonians used a form of lye (using ash) around 4,800 years ago and recorded it’s use on a clay tablet. For much of history, water was run through wood ash then mixed with animal fats in a primitive attempt at soap making. Lye wasn’t truly identified and understood until Sir Humphry Davy discovered it in 1807. At first, believing it was one of the basic elements; he later went on to discover sodium.

The term “lye” was an old English word meaning ‘wash stuff’. Original lye soap was very harsh and often left the users skin red after use. This was because too much lye was used in comparison to the amount of oils. Too little can cause the oils in the soap to go rancid and smell bad. When you find a good recipe for soap making, make sure you stick with it.


Soap Making

Fats and oils, by themselves, do not mix with water. Sodium hydroxide lye breaks up the triglyceride in fats and oils and turns the fatty acids into sodium salts. The salts reduce the surface tension in liquids and allow grease to be easily washed away with water. Try making a pure soap with no perfume, fragrances, dyes or additives that can irritate your skin. Using a pure soap with only the glycerin can cleanse and improve your skin condition – no matter what that condition is. Pure lye soap will sooth insect bites and actually repel insects with its residue. Try shaving your lye soap and using it as a laundry detergent, or rub a bar directly on a problem stain. Lye soap has been found to be as effective as commercial products on the market.

Usefully Destructive

Harnessing the power of lye can be very useful to the resourceful individual. The same properties that convert oil and fats into soap can be put to use in dissolving the grease and hair that slows down (or completely clogs a drain). Put a heaping tablespoon on a slow running drain and slowly poor in just enough water to dissolve. Remember to allow for adequate ventilation, let sit for 10 minutes, and then flush with hot water for a couple of minutes to clear the pipes.

Mix one (1) cup of lye, one (1) cup of cornstarch and two (2) gallons of water to make an effective paint stripper. Try some experimentation to give painted items a rustic or distressed look.

Make traditional soft pretzels by bathing them in one (1) quart of water with one (1) ounce of lye sodium hydroxide mixed in for thirty seconds. Your finished product will be a dark brown, soft and delicious. The finest bagels are similarly boiled in a lye solution making them soft and chewy. Many recipes attempt to substitute sodium hydroxide with baking soda, but reviewers agree that the ‘lye bath’ produces much finer results.


Dangers of Lye

Make sure you know what you are putting in, and on, your body. While commonly stocked in hardware stores as drain cleaner, it can also be mixed with other chemicals you don’t necessarily want in your food or soap. Don’t trust a product, intended only to clean drains, to make something you plan on putting in or on your body. Our product is 100% pure and you can be confident that you are using only the finest ingredients.



Sodium Hydroxide, or Lye, is very strong and caustic ingredient. It is something that should be handled with extreme care. We recommend having supervision and wearing appropriate protective (i.e. full arm gloves, eyewear, respirators, etc.) when using. This products needs to be kept Far away from children. Make sure you don’t have any allergies to the product and that you are using pure ingredients. Pregnant women should consult with a physician before handling.


This product cannot be expedited and must be shipped via ground in accordance with the Department of Transportation. Corrosives (sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide) are considered a Class VIII Hazard and can be shipped via ground only.  


272 Reviews

  • 2
    beads go everywhere

    Posted by Mary Scruggs on 9th Apr 2019

    Lye I've used in the past was more of a powder. The first time I was measuring out this product, the beads went all over. I had a large amount of newspaper spread out, but it went past that. It took me a long time to clean up. I like many of Bulk Apothecary's products, but I would not recommend this one.

  • 5
    Performs better than flake lye

    Posted by Unknown on 4th Apr 2019

    Best NaOH I have used in my 20 years of CP soapmaking experience. Your product is definitely pure as evidenced by its clarity when mixed and by leaving no "powdered residue" (which many incorrectly call soda ash) on the cured CP soaps. I have experience with many NaOH products in both flake and bead form with purity ranges from ~98% to 100% but none have performed as well as yours.
    Yes, there is a "static electricity" issue when pouring and measuring the beads but I resolved this issue by a simple procedure. Just pour from the original container into a pyrex glass container which negates the "static" charge, then pour from the pyrex into your weighing container on the scale. No overspray or mess of errant lye beads.

  • 3
    I love Bulkapothecary but ...

    Posted by Debbie on 28th Mar 2019

    this lye is very static sensitive, it scatters easily and clings to everything. I've also had some issues with it completely dissolving a couple of times.

    I love Bulk, will continue shopping here, but I think I'll be looking for flakes.

  • 5
    Sodium hydroxide

    Posted by Tamara on 13th Feb 2019

    This is good quality lye. Not clumpy and dissolves well!

  • 5
    Good price - good product

    Posted by Peggy on 20th Dec 2018

    I have been buying lye from Bulk Apothecary for about 7 years and never once had a problem with it. Always good price and ships quickly.

  • 5
    Lye review...

    Posted by Melissa Deakins on 10th Dec 2018

    Great product! I'm a repeat customer! Performs lovely in my cold process soaps!

  • 5

    Posted by Nena Smith on 21st Nov 2018

    Since I started making soaps by hand I've used lye from two companies. I have to admit bulk apothecary has the best price person pound and the best lye for cp soap overall.

  • 5
    Awesome company

    Posted by Diana Teal on 5th Nov 2018

    Highly recommend! Super fast shippers

  • 3
    Static and lye beads

    Posted by Kaye on 17th Oct 2018

    I'm torn on how to review this product. On the one hand the price is great, shipping is easy, and I've had great soap turn out from using this product.


    Our new place is very dry and I'm having problems with the static causing lye beads to go everywhere when I'm trying to pour; across the counter, some on the floor, sticking to my recipe notebook, etc.

    I'm going to have to do some research before buying more.