# Pre. Mixed lye water?

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#### luebella

##### Well-Known Member
Is it possible to make a big jug of lye water and use it when needed?

#### dibbles

##### Supporting Member
Supporting Member
I don't do this, but a lot of people do. You'll find a lot of information by searching 'master batching lye solution'.

#### IrishLass

Staff member
Moderator
Most definitely yes! It's called 'master-batching' your lye, and it's the way I've been mixing my lye for some time now. Like Dibbles said, there are lots of threads here on the subject. Here is one with lots of good info: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=29329

IrishLass

#### Steve85569

Supporting Member
I recommend shaking or stirring the master batched solution just before you use it. I didn't post the wreck but sometimes lye can settle out at cold temps. Sugar may have helped it out too.

Thanks so much

#### Arimara

Supporting Member
I don't masterbatch my lye water. I just don't like having to put the extra thought in.

#### luebella

##### Well-Known Member
Yah after reading that I'm gonna skip it. Math had never been my strong point

#### Steve85569

Supporting Member
If you are going to use a consistent water : lye ratio or percent water you can simple masterbatch at that ratio. Math problem solved.

#### The Efficacious Gentleman

Supporting Member
The math is really not an issue. When you have your 50% solution and come to make a batch -

Amount of solution = lye amount x 2

Extra water to add = total water - lye amount.

The first one is because the solution is half water, half lye, so 100g of solution has 50g of lye.

The second is because, if you need 50g lye you added in 100g of solution, which includes 50g water. So if your recipe needs 200g water in total, you need to take 50g away as you already added it.

Master batching makes soaping a lot faster, I have to say. It has to limits (heat transfer doesn't work well, for example) but I can make a batch and be sat with a cup of tea before I know what happened.

#### Arimara

Supporting Member
The math is really not an issue. When you have your 50% solution and come to make a batch -

Amount of solution = lye amount x 2

Extra water to add = total water - lye amount.

The first one is because the solution is half water, half lye, so 100g of solution has 50g of lye.

The second is because, if you need 50g lye you added in 100g of solution, which includes 50g water. So if your recipe needs 200g water in total, you need to take 50g away as you already added it.

Master batching makes soaping a lot faster, I have to say. It has to limits (heat transfer doesn't work well, for example) but I can make a batch and be sat with a cup of tea before I know what happened.

I get what you're saying but even as simple as it is to make the lye solution ahead of time, it's been safer for me and mine that I measure the amount of lye and water separately as I go. I don't like to forget seemingly small things.

#### Bamagirl

##### Well-Known Member
I read through the forum link above and it said the lye solution lasts a very long time. Would this be a better way to store lye if you live in a humid climate? I live in the South and we have lots of humidity here in the summer and I am afraid my lye will not last long, especially since where it will be stored has no AC. So, I was thinking maybe when summer approaches, if I don't have allot of lye, I could master batch and not have to worry about it going bad? Is that a bad idea?

#### dixiedragon

##### Well-Known Member
I read through the forum link above and it said the lye solution lasts a very long time. Would this be a better way to store lye if you live in a humid climate? I live in the South and we have lots of humidity here in the summer and I am afraid my lye will not last long, especially since where it will be stored has no AC. So, I was thinking maybe when summer approaches, if I don't have allot of lye, I could master batch and not have to worry about it going bad? Is that a bad idea?

I too live in Alabama (love this weather now!) and I've had my lye last 5+ years. I buy my lye in large bags. The bags are lined so I don't worry about them until I open one. I have a bunch of gallon mayonnaise jars from restaurants. I fill the jars with lye and seal them with duct tape. Of course, label them LYE in large letters! I store these jars in my basement.

#### DeeAnna

##### Well-Known Member
Lye will absorb water regardless of whether it's in solid form or in a solution. Store either one in a tightly closed container.

Songwind or KC (speaking from memory) goes a step further. He said he keeps his sealed containers of lye in a 5 gallon bucket with a desiccant (humidity absorber).

The top of the bucket is closed with a "gamma" lid that can be easily opened and closed, but you can also use the normal lid that comes with most 5 gallon buckets if you have a bucket lid wrench or don't mind removing the top with your hands.

That's what I'm working on to store my solid lye and lye solution (yes, I'm starting to masterbatch too!) Have the bucket with regular lid, now to find the gamma lid and desiccant.

Another thing is you can monitor your lye by weighing it. Susie explains she weighs her container of lye before she puts it away and then weighs it when she takes it back out to make more soap. Any additional weight the lye container picks up while it is in storage is an indication that the lye is absorbing water. The goal is to keep that to a minimum.

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#### kchaystack

##### Supporting Member
Lye will absorb water regardless of whether it's in solid form or in a solution. Store either one in a tightly closed container.

Songwind or KC (speaking from memory) goes a step further. He said he keeps his sealed containers of lye in a 5 gallon bucket with a desiccant (humidity absorber).

The top of the bucket is closed with a "gamma" lid that can be easily opened and closed, but you can also use the normal lid that comes with most 5 gallon buckets if you have a bucket lid wrench or don't mind removing the top with your hands.

That's what I'm working on to store my solid lye and lye solution (yes, I'm starting to masterbatch too!) Have the bucket with regular lid, now to find the gamma lid and desiccant.

Another thing is you can monitor your lye by weighing it. Susie explains she weighs her container of lye before she puts it away and then weighs it when she takes it back out to make more soap. Any additional weight the lye container picks up while it is in storage is an indication that the lye is absorbing water. The goal is to keep that to a minimum.

Yes, that was me, tho I think I got the idea from someone else on here.

FYI, the containers that the lye guy uses fit perfectly around the inside of the bucket, with 1 that sits on top of the desiccant tub in the middle. I also weigh the containers when I first open them, and write the weight on the container with a sharpie. Then I can compare when I get the container out, and write the new weight after I get the lye for my next masterbatch. I usually mix up 500g at a time.

My 50% masterbatch is in a rubbermaid container with a lid. It does not get put in the bucket. But I don't have kids, and my cat dislikes the basement because it has so many smells from the curing soap. hahah

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#### IrishLass

Staff member
Moderator
Yes- definitely weigh your master-batch solution before each time you use it and also each time before putting it away, and mark it on the bottle somewhere. I use a piece of tape on mine on which I can write the weight and date down, and I replace it with a new piece of tape each time I use the solution. That way, my bottle doesn't have a bunch of confusing dates written permanently all over it. Along with Susie and others, that is something I've been in the practice of doing with my master-batch from the get-go.

For what it's worth, all of my before and after weights have never been off with my stored solution, even when I've gone as long as several months to over a year before using it.

And none of my master-batch batches have ever lost their strength no matter how long I've gone between using them (even with those that are over a year old). I live in a very dry climate, by the way. Humidity is a rarity here.

Also for what it's worth, I store mine in a tightly closed re-claimed HDPE detergent bottle, and that's it. In other words, I've never gone the extra mile by putting my tightly-covered bottle of solution in a 5-gallon bucket filled with dessicant, and as it has so far turned out with my year + experiments, I have never needed to do so, but like I said, I live in a very dry climate. It certainly wouldn't hurt to do so, though, if you lived in a humid climate.

IrishLass

#### DeeAnna

##### Well-Known Member
I don't have any info about weight gain for stored lye solution, since I just started to masterbatch. I can say, however, that my solid lye very gradually does gain weight and does show some evidence of clumping especially during humid summers here in Iowa. The storage containers for my lye are the tightly closed PET jars from The Lye Guy. A 2 lb (about 1000 g) container might gain 1-2 grams over some months of storage. I know that's not a lot, so these containers do a decent job, but I'd prefer that number to be zero or all but zero. KC lives in Minnesota, the state just to the north of me with a similar climate, and I bet he sees pretty much the same.

#### kchaystack

##### Supporting Member
Actually I am in Michigan.... but it is still similar.

My basement is very humid in the summer if I do not run the AC much. Winter is bone dry, as I have to run the furnace.

And just to make sure I was clear, only the dry lye goes in the bucket. MY master batch stays out.

My reasoning is that I don't use that much lye - at least not yet. So I wanted to make sure it did not degrade in the year or more it might take me to use it all. But the cost of the buy 5 get 1 free from the lye guy was just too hard to pass up. haha

#### DeeAnna

##### Well-Known Member
Hey, I knew we were practically kinda-sorta neighbors, but obviously I shouldn't be trying to rely just on my memory. Sorry, KC!

I'm already running on fumes and there's still another week of the holiday shopping season yet to go. :sick:

As time goes by I'm using more and more lye. I got through my previous Lye Guy "buy 5 get 1 free" purchase in a year. I took the plunge and bought two of these "specials" a few weeks ago, so I have even more reason to protect my investment. I'm looking forward to seeing how your bucket desiccator idea works for me this coming year. A single 5-gallon bucket will hold all of the containers of this order, by the way. The top containers need to lean a wee bit to fit, but they all go in!

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#### kchaystack

##### Supporting Member
Hey, I knew we were practically kinda-sorta neighbors, but obviously I shouldn't be trying to rely just on my memory. Sorry, KC!

I'm already running on fumes and there's still another week of the holiday shopping season yet to go. :sick:

As time goes by I'm using more and more lye. I got through my previous Lye Guy "buy 5 get 1 free" purchase in a year. I took the plunge and bought two of these "specials" a few weeks ago, so I have even more reason to protect my investment. I'm looking forward to seeing how your bucket desiccator idea works for me this coming year. A single 5-gallon bucket will hold all of the containers of this order, by the way. The top containers need to lean a wee bit to fit, but they all go in!

I totally understand. I worked retail for many a year - and it really soured me on this season. On top of several family tragedies that have happened in December over the years. I would happily skip December if I could.

I have a good friend who lives in Sioux City, and I used to live in Kansas City, MO so I have been a much closer neighbor.

But I am looking forward to the results as well. I need to check the desiccant tub for moisture again, but it seems to be working fine. I am glad you like the idea.

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