A "different" question about lye

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sudsy_kiwi

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Okay, first, this didn't come from me.
Second, the subject might be a bit macabre for some...fair warning.

So, my girlfriend and her friend are both doing NaNoWriMo, and the friend had a question that worked its way back to me. I dunno what the hell she's writing, but one of her characters needs to dispose of a body, and she's decided that the way to do that will be by "dissolving" it with NaOH.

Because I make soap, I was nominated as the expert in this matter :Kitten Love: :shock: Now please, rest assured I have never disposed of a body in this manner, nor do I have any intent to...I'm also not a chemist, so I thought I'd turn to my fellow soapers for advice.

My initial thoughts are that, given enough time and NaOH, the soft tissues of a body could indeed be destroyed this way (as they contain fat), but that the skeleton, teeth, and any kidney/gall stones would remain.

Am I correct, and if so...would anyone care to venture an idea as to how much time & lye would be required for an average adult body. Again, I have not killed anyone, I have no plans to kill anyone, and I have no body to dispose of...this is purely for literary research on behalf of a non-soaper.
 

gigisiguenza

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While I think the question is macabre, it's not odd to.me because I've had to research weirder things for a story LOL.

To answer your question, yes ,you can, but what is more commonly used is hydrofloric acid (not sure on the spelling). Both seem to be popular choices for writers when looking for a method of untraceable disposal in novels. Personally, since it's been done to mars and back and might come across as a cliched method, I'd think outside the box and choose another. Hope that answers your questions.
 

mymy

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Sudsy - To respond to your question, I would like to relate facts that gigi wrote. Lye vs hydrofluoric acid. Lye is more effective to melt down protein and fats, even bones but there will be remaining of calcium that wouldn't dissolve. This process wont take hours, but days.
 

snappyllama

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I'm too worried about a Breaking Bad scenario where the caustic body-bit sludge would leak out of a tub. Plus, imagine the plumbing bills...

I prefer alligators for all my body disposal needs. It's a win-win (gaters get fed, body is gone). Although the travel time back to a swamp is annoying, at least I can get some good shrimp etouffee as a reward lunch for all my hard work. Mmmm, cajun food.
 

gigisiguenza

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LOL I told ya it was a macabre question, not necessarily an odd one.
 

sudsy_kiwi

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Haha, I'm glad this was taken in the spirit I'd hoped...I'd had visions of someone tipping off Homeland Security or something lol.

Yes, I'd advised her that hydroflouric acid would definitely work, but she was hell-bent on using lye for some reason...possibly because using acid is what everyone else uses :)

Oh and, I prefer pigs for my body recycling needs :twisted:
 

shunt2011

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I don't find it odd at all. For a good laugh my girlfriend (co-worker) and I were both ticked at our husbands and actually researched how to do it......even funnier is one night she had a bit much to drink and texted me asking if she could borrow some lye. So, if anything ever happens to our husbands and they check our computers at work we are so screwed...:evil:
 

nsmar4211

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How would the character get enough lye without it being a suspicious purchase? I vote for the gators/pigs.......
 

kchaystack

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You can buy lye in 50 lb bags if you want to. Several here on the forum have talked about how they store it.

But yes, gators and pigs are usually much more eco-friendly.
 

shunt2011

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How would the character get enough lye without it being a suspicious purchase? I vote for the gators/pigs.......
I bought 64 lbs from Essential Depot. My parents picked it up and drove it back to me. No questions. I can also get a 50lb bag locally.
 

snappyllama

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I recall reading about pig farmers being consumed when they had the misfortune to die in the pen. It really gives Charlotte's writing a new, dark twist...

that's some pig (and will eat your face off)

Of course, I'm pretty sure my sweet, adorable cat would also eat me if he suddenly grew to tiger size. He gives me *that* look whenever he's finally caught a moth.
 

tricia819

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I was watching "Ask a Mortician" on YouTube and she actually answered this question. It IS possible and currently available to people who die normally. It is called "Liquid Cremation." Use that for your keyword and do a Google search. It is a thing. Also, yes, it does dissolve the soft tissue but, leave the bones and the remaining lye water is washed down the drain. (To be clear, probably a special drain that doesn't drop directly into the water supply.)
 

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