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Lye, also known as caustic soda, is the common name for Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH).
Some common household products that use lye in the manufacturing process are soaps, detergents, oven cleaners and drain cleaners. Pure sodium hydroxide is a white solid which is available in flakes, pellets, beads and granules.
Our Sodium Hydroxide is 99% pure and is sold in pellet form. It is highly caustic and care should be taken with storage and handling.
People have been using lye as a detergent or soap for thousands of years! Up until the 18th Century, the old-fashioned ingredients for making soap were: wood ashes, water, animal fat and salt. This was used all around the globe. Simply described - ashes, soaked and heated in water is the way to make lye. The lye, then mixed with fat, through a process known as saponification, creates soap.The added salt is what hardens the soap.
The American Colonists brought soap with them when they settled and then, after a while, at butchering times, began to make it for themselves.
Sodium Hydroxide is a stable product but its storage life is dependent upon the storage conditions. Estimated shelf life is 3 years from date of manufacture. If the sodium hydroxide is exposed to air, a change in the product quality will be seen over time, since the sodium hydroxide will pick up carbon dioxide to form sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) solids. In addition, iron pick up is common in carbon steel storage vessels or in lined carbon steel storage vessels where the liner has been damaged. Therefore, minimizing its exposure to air and its direct contact with iron containing metals will extend the storage life of sodium hydroxide.