Another tip is to shake the container (assuming your lye is in a hard plastic bottle) well before measuring. The shaking reduces the static charge as well as helps break up any clumps. Someone shared that tip awhile back and it works pretty well to reduce the static. It might not work as well as the dryer sheet, but for someone who doesn't use dryer sheets, like me, it's better than nothing.
Another alternative to dryer sheet is to use a damp (not drippy, just damp) cloth to wipe the outside of the jar and the top surfaces of your scale. Wait a bit for the surfaces to just become dry, then open the lye container and weigh. The slight bit of extra humidity from the water also helps to reduce static -- if you pay attention, you will see static problems only in heated dry winter air or in dry climates, not when the air is humid.
From my days working in a chem lab -- Never shake a container just holding onto the lid; get a good grip on the container itself. Shake with the lid facing away from your face and away from other people. Always put a finger over the lid when you shake as insurance against the lid popping off or loosening -- like this --
I don't know how much lye you have or how big your batches are but here's what I do.
-Store my lye in a bucket with a gamma seal lid (twists off and seals easily)
-Use an all stainless steel ladle to scoop the lye from the bucket and never let the lye pile above the top of the spoon
-Measure my lye beads in a glass container (i know some avoid glass, but I only use it for measuring the lye)
-When I pour the lye into the glass container I give a little tap to make sure all the beads fall inside the container
-Pouring the beads from the glass container into my plastic pitcher of distilled water gives me way less static than pouring from a plastic container.
This has minimized and practically eliminated static and flying lye beads for me.
Yes I agree, I only see static in the winter months here. I tried using the flakes instead...never again...I found there were big hidden clumps and as they poured out the flakes spilled everywhere...very dangerous.
Lots of good info on this thread. I'm getting ready to open up my 55lb of lye from a local chemical company. A little nervous. I've used lye beads before and then went to flakes, which I love, but needed to make things cost effective. I wish I had saved more of the plastic bottles the flakes came in to store the new lye! I've come a long way in soap making from the days when I was buying 12 oz bottles of lye from Ace Hardware! Yikes!!