Is there a way to dry lye grains?

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Hertzyscowicz

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I just opened my supplies cabinet after a week, and realized I had left the lid off my tub of lye. I have had rainy weather so the air moisture is up, too. As a result, it looks as if at least some of my lye has deliquesced, that is to say, absobed enough moisture from the air to dissolve in it.

So, is there a way to salvage this lot? There are probably two or three kilos of the stuff left and it would feel like a waste to throw it all away.

My initial idea was to stick the wettest stuff in an oven at 180C as suggested here. But, as soon as I had posted this thread I decided to scoop the top stuff into a ceramic container I'm not too fond of, and realized that it was only a top layer that had turned into a hard crust. So, I suppose this thread will be of mostly academic interest. I think I can use the still un-clumped stuff and set the clumped stuff aside to use to make lye bagels or an a drain opener.
 
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Hertzyscowicz

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I decided to experiment with the lye. I have discovered that hot moist lye will corrode the glazing on ceramic containers and will eat through baking paper.
 

DeeAnna

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Didn't see this until now.

For your sake, stop trying to fix the NaOH. You cannot fix it. All you're doing by messing around with this is creating a major safety hazard and encouraging the sodium hydroxide (NaOH) to absorb even more water and also to react to sodium carbonate (Na2CO3 also called washing soda.)

If the zombie apocalypse happens and you absolutely must salvage every scrap of NaOH you have because there's no other NaOH to be had and the only way to convince the zombies to not eat you is to make soap for them --

Once you find out there's a storage problem, fix it! In other words, return the messed-up NaOH to a proper low-humidity lye-safe storage container. Do NOT further expose the messed-up NaOH to air. Do NOT heat the messed-up NaOH.

Make a lye solution using 1 part water to 1 part messed-up NaOH by weight.

Do a chemical titration of the solution to learn the NaOH concentration of the mixture. That will tell you the actual NaOH purity of the solution.

Mathematically adjust the amount of NaOH required for the soap batch using the actual NaOH purity of the solution.

Proceed to make soap using the corrected NaOH amount.
 
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TheGecko

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If the zombie apocalypse happens and you absolutely must salvage every scrap of NaOH you have because there's no other NaOH to be had and the only way to convince the zombies to not eat you is to make soap for them --
I've been rubbing off on you. 🤣

My initial idea was to stick the wettest stuff in an oven at 180C as suggested here. But, as soon as I had posted this thread I decided to scoop the top stuff into a ceramic container I'm not too fond of, and realized that it was only a top layer that had turned into a hard crust. So, I suppose this thread will be of mostly academic interest. I think I can use the still un-clumped stuff and set the clumped stuff aside to use to make lye bagels or an a drain opener.
Did you also read that it needed to be done in a vacuum that was CO/CO2 free? And that it was a scientific website and they were talking about pellets, not granules that had basically melted.

I would also take the top one or two inches, dissolve 50/50 and toss down my tub and washer machine drains. Sodium Hydroxide and colorants are the two containers that I do NOT fool around with. When I'm done, I put the lids back and make sure the one for the SH is good and tight.
 

DeeAnna

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...My initial idea was to stick the wettest stuff in an oven at 180C as suggested here....
Sheesh -- I missed the link. After reading it just now, it's clear you ignored important elements in the researcher's suggested method.

I stand by the advice I gave earlier. Unless a person has a well equipped chemistry lab and in-depth knowledge about what they're doing, it's really not possible to dehydrate and purify NaOH once it's been exposed to open air for any length of time.
 
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