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Difference between Food Graded and Technical Graded Lye

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NameThatCandy

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I found AAA has a special for Technical Graded Lye (32lbs for $49.99, it is $1.56 per lb). Then I found they sell Food Graded Lye. So what is the difference between Food Graded and Technical Graded?

Thanks
 

NEASoapWorks

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"Food Grade" lye is purer than "Technical Grade" lye, because it's used for food preparation ("washing" fruits and veggies, making pretzels, etc.)

I just made three batches of soap, with food grade lye. The difference I immediately noticed? The ease of mixing it into the water — I got no "white" residue floating at the top, that I had to keep stirring to incorporate. No sludge. Crystal clear. Perhaps it was the brand of tech grade lye I used that caused the residue, but I can't say for sure.

Food grade lye is often recommended for "hard to saponify" oils and supposedly is a major factor in eliminating DOS. I've not experienced DOS, but that's what I read.

Will I continue to use it? Yes.
 

NEASoapWorks

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NameThatCandy said:
thanks NEAsoapworks.

But do you notice any difference of the quality of the soaps?
Well, the two batches are currently curing. I haven't cut the third batch — it's still in the mold.

There are those who say there is no difference in the quality of the soap —so just go with tech grade. That's probably the response of 90%. I think you may not necessarily notice a difference in the end result necessarily (if using lye that's not the purest doesn't cause any problems with your batch), but perhaps the journey may be affected — lye that's not pure may cause a reaction with tap water (if you don't use distilled), or may cause some other link in the chain to fail.

I don't know, cuz I'm not an experienced soaper. I'm speaking off the top of my head. I like the idea of using the purest lye, and while I sure don't wanna go broke making soap as a hobby (right now), I'm willing to pay extra for food grade caustics. The beauty of all this is that you can experiment and try different things — for yourself, and decide what you like best.
 

Lane

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NEASoapWorks said:
The ease of mixing it into the water — I got no "white" residue floating at the top, that I had to keep stirring to incorporate. No sludge. Crystal clear. Perhaps it was the brand of tech grade lye I used that caused the residue, but I can't say for sure.

Food grade lye is often recommended for "hard to saponify" oils and supposedly is a major factor in eliminating DOS. I've not experienced DOS, but that's what I read.

Will I continue to use it? Yes.
What would be an example of a hard to saponify oil??

I did not know there were two different types of lye....

Buuuuttttt. I just changed suppliers and now my lye has these weird "chunkies in it" :( I have always used distilled water, so I know it's not the water...
 

NEASoapWorks

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Lane said:
What would be an example of a hard to saponify oil??
I did not know there were two different types of lye....

Buuuuttttt. I just changed suppliers and now my lye has these weird "chunkies in it" :( I have always used distilled water, so I know it's not the water...
Don't know, off hand. I think perhaps "hard to saponify" could mean that they take longer to trace.

The lye you got from "That Company" has "chunkies" in it? That's food-grade lye.
 

Lane

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:oops:

The lye does not do well in anything above a 30%-33% solution (I have had to dump out three batches of lye, almost a full pound). I was getting lye from snowdriftfarm.com before and was able to work a 50% solution no problem.

Hmmm...Maybe I got a bad batch? The service was amazing, so I will keep buying from them, even if I have to work with a 30%-33% solution! :)
 

NEASoapWorks

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Lane said:
NEA- Yeah it was them. I didn't want to name the CO, but I guess I did post awhile ago that I changed Companies :oops:

The lye does not do well in anything above a 30%-33% solution (I have had to dump out three batches of lye, almost a full pound). I was getting lye from snowdriftfarm.com before and was able to work a 50% solution no problem.

Hmmm...Maybe I got a bad batch? The service was amazing, so I will keep buying from them, even if I have to work with a 30%-33% solution! :)
Yep, I named them, cuz I couldn't believe it was them. I just knew you were talking about another source.

I would email them, and tell them about the problem. But see, I just soap in the "basic" realm. I don't mess with the lye/water ratio. Definately let them know. I would wanna know, and I have no doubt they would also. Let us know the update. I edited their name out of my posts.
 

Lane

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NEASoapWorks said:
I would email them, and tell them about the problem. But see, I just soap in the "basic" realm. I don't mess with the lye/water ratio. Definately let them know. I would wanna know, and I have no doubt they would also. Let us know the update. I edited their name out of my posts.
I took the CO name out also, it really is a good company, I dont want to give the idea that I have had problems with them... I just don't understand WHY the lye is doing this if it is food grade... I e-mail them and I will keep ya posted... If they give me a reason to rage and rant, I will :oops:
 

Lane

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This is the e-mail I received about the lye today... It's long...haha


We only sell food grade lye. Our lye far exceeds the minimum standards set by the Food Chemical Codex, which is required by both the FDA & USDA. We receive guaranteed product analysis and quality statements from the manufacturer for each pallet of lye we purchase. Furthermore, from every pallet we receive, we test and record 4 random samples
to ensure the quality.

After double-checking all of the quality assurance records and sample testrecords for the ye with the same lot number as your canisters, I can’t seem to find any problems. I will order a re-test of the lot for Monday, January 28th and I’ll let you know if anything turns up.

I'm rather surprised (and concerned) to learn of your situation because no one has ever made such a comment. However, I have been making soap for 12 years and we have other soap makers and consultants in our staff. Please, let me know from where you purchase your distilled water. Some brands of distilled water have added minerals, which will cause the
“sludge.â€
 

Soapmaker Man

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As you all know, I master-batch about 1/2 gallon of 50% lye solution all the time, then reduce to about a 30% when soaping. I mix my sodium hydroxide with aloe vera juice and add my silk to it. I have never had any problems as described above with mine. I buy the 50 pound bags of technical grade sodium hydroxide for my soaping. Once I tried to do a 60% solution. The aloe vera juice would not accept that high a concentration. So, I found truth to the fact that a 50% solution is all you can achieve. This is an interesting topic. Cool reading, guys! 8)

Paul
 

Lane

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Re: Lye

NEASoapWorks said:
Lane

But why are you only having a problem at a 50% solution?
I've had problems at a 35% solution too... I am not sure... if I hear anything back from them, I'll let you know...

I've done RTCP a couple of times at a 35% solution and as the temp lowers, in the lye/water mixture, it gets worse! It seems I have to catch the lye at just the right temp because anything under 105 degrees, it gets worse. :? I will be soaping today and if I have any problems, I will take pictures...
 

NameThatCandy

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I've done RTCP a couple of times at a 35% solution and as the temp lowers, in the lye/water mixture, it gets worse!
What do u mean when the temp lowers, it gets worse? Does the lye water get more chunckies?
 

Lane

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NameThatCandy said:
I've done RTCP a couple of times at a 35% solution and as the temp lowers, in the lye/water mixture, it gets worse!
What do u mean when the temp lowers, it gets worse? Does the lye water get more chunckies?
Yes. Buuuuuuuuuuuuut!!!! Today I used Spring Water (arrowhead) and it held up very very well! I had only a few "floaties" in it but I was able to do a 38% solution at a lower temp. I e-mailed the CO to let them know.
 
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