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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

  • 3
    50 lb tub vs 2lb containers

    Posted by James Hoogendoorn on 14th Apr 2022

    We first ordered their 2lb containers, and besides a bit of static, it was great, so we ordered the 50lb tub. Static was gone, but we believe we received a contaminated batch because each lye water batch left black residue on the containers. This was tested against 4 different lye companies, countless utensils and containers to narrow down the root cause and this was the only batch that had that issue. Contacted Bulk Apo, and were told to do additional google research on root cause because they are only a supplier, and that they couldn't put me in contact directly with supplier to determine if the lye was even safe to use this way or not. I Like Bulk Apo, but won't order the 50lb batch of lye again.

  • 5
    For those that have static issues...

    Posted by Aubrey Shreve on 8th Apr 2022

    Keep in mind, I had static issues with the first CP batch I did... my very first batch EVER. I then went and researched easy ways to prevent static issues with lye beads. Alas... the easiest solution was to use a fabric softener dryer sheet! Yes, it was that easy. I leave the same dryer sheet in with my bottles of lye in a plastic bag. I rub the dryer sheet on the bottle just before I pour it. I just keep using the same one. If it stops working, I'll get another dryer sheet to use. I've done dozens of batches since then and that same dryer sheet has worked every time.

    This NaOH works spectacularly in my CP soaps!

  • 5
    8 lb lye

    Posted by Ruth on 24th Nov 2021

    This order was packaged in 4 separate 2 lb bottles which was a relief. I hadn't seen in the description or other reviews, how exactly it would arrive. This was perfect and what I was hoping for. The sodium hydroxide performs well, as expected, for soap making.

  • 3
    Good quality, high static

    Posted by Valerie Ford on 24th Oct 2020

    I really liked that the lye came in beads instead of flakes but was disappointed that the beads were superfine. It led to a lot of bouncing around and a high static charge.

  • 5
    Fast! Shipping

    Posted by Theresa on 21st Oct 2020

    I'm so very pleased to find a reasonably priced place to find my soap making supplies. Thank you for such fast shipping!!

  • 5
    So far so good

    Posted by GRANT CALLOWAY on 15th May 2020

    A little statistic when you first open it but once you get going its easy to control by using your hand or spatula while pouring.

  • 5
    Worked Great for our milk soap

    Posted by Julie Sanderson on 28th Mar 2020

    I'm used to flake, so I was worried about this and the static. So far we haven't any trouble with the static. We tried this in our milk cp with cream and one with buttermilk and this lye worked like a dream. We took a little extra caution in weighing the lye, but it dissolved quickly even when our liquid was in a frozen state. We will keep using this.

  • 5
    Wonderful product!

    Posted by Catherine Williams on 8th Jul 2019

    Packaged in 2 pound bottles, the lye is able to be kept dry and give a true weight when making soap. The quality is top notch and I enjoy using it in my shampoo bars.

  • 5
    Good product

    Posted by SS on 2nd Jul 2019

    I've also had static problems with this lye, but not other lye, very odd. However, I simply wipe the bottle and top with a very damp paper towel and open the bottle with the same paper towel and I have no problems with static or beads of lye flying over my workspace.