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Purity of "Instant Power Crystal Lye Drain Opener"?

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rolfedh

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I ordered "Instant Power Crystal Lye Drain Opener" 100% lye from Walmart so I could get started quickly and inexpensively. Later, when I've worked out my technique, and am able to make gift-worthy soap, I'll switch to food-grade Lye. Based on the information I've gathered, the drain opener really is pure lye. Has anyone else tried this approach, and if you did, were there any issues?
 

BrewerGeorge

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I use a different brand from the hardware store. I know it's not completely pure as there are often clumps and sometimes even black specks that I have to fish out, but it does make soap. The "good" thing about potentially impure lye is that the worst that can happen is increased superfat - assuming we're talking about simple deterioration and not contamination with something completely different. It's safe.

That being said, I'm probably going to switch to food-grade lye after exhausting what I already have on hand. It's really not much more expensive.
 

IrishLass

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The first lye I ever used was the Roebic brand crystal drain opener from Lowe's, whose ingredients on the label stated 100% sodium hydroxide. I used that without any problems for about the first year or 2 of my soapy endeavours until they stopped selling it in my area because of the meth-heads. I've also used Rooto brand drain opener (100% sodium hydroxide) from Ace with excellent results. I now order food-grade in bulk online.


IrishLass :)
 

earlene

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I also use Roebic NaOH Lye (Crystal Drain Opener) pictured above by Artemis when I am traveling and did not bring enough of what I purchase cheaper online. Before finding an online source that I like (which is often Essential Depot, but I have used others as well), I found the Roebic at Tractor Supply Company. Where I live, and in most states where I have looked for it, I can always find it in a TSC, but it is not always available at many hardware stores, including Lowes or Home Depot. TSC has been the most consistent source for me when traveling.

I agree with Susie, that the Roebic drain opener lye is far more expensive than ED, even with shipping costs included. But for a beginning hobbiest, or someone who doesn't want to wait for a shipment, the 100% sodium hydroxide lye crystals in a drain opener works just fine.
 

SunRiseArts

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What color is the lye? If it has blue looking stuff (crystal?) I would be weary....

It is so much cheaper to order online from a soap supplier that is food safe .... I order mine from NG 6 dollars for 2 pounds and 8 dollars shipping.
 
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earlene

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What color is the lye? If it has blue looking stuff (crystal?) I would be weary....

It is so much cheaper to order online from a soap supplier that is food safe .... I order mine from NH 6 dollars for 2 pounds and 8 dollars shipping.
It has always been white every time I've used it. I have never seen blue crystals.

And there really is no need to use food safe NaOH in soap, although I know it's all that some of the suppliers sell. Unless you intend to eat your soap.
 

Zany_in_CO

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The first lye I ever used was the Roebic brand crystal drain opener from Lowe's, whose ingredients on the label stated 100% sodium hydroxide. I used that without any problems for about the first year or 2 of my soapy endeavours until they stopped selling it in my area because of the meth-heads. I've also used Rooto brand drain opener (100% sodium hydroxide) from Ace with excellent results. I now order food-grade in bulk online.
^^^^^Ditto -- If it doesn't say 100% sodium hydroxide, pass on it. Otherwise, you're good to go.
 

Susie

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Roebic says "100% Lye" on one side, and sodium hydroxide on the other. It works perfectly well. But it is much more expensive than ED. And ED runs sales on NaOH fairly frequently, so you can get larger amounts.

If you use enough NaOH to justify the cost, The Lye Guy would be your next level supplier.

https://www.thelyeguy.com/store.php
 

SunRiseArts

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It has always been white every time I've used it. I have never seen blue crystals.

And there really is no need to use food safe NaOH in soap, although I know it's all that some of the suppliers sell. Unless you intend to eat your soap.
Oh Ok. One time I bought one that had blue stuff on it. I threw it away .... it could have been more like drano? Not sure. I just like to be on the safe side.
 

jaimiefenn

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Its says 100% lye in the bottle. I read on the website it can be used for soaps too. Havent tries it yet but im going to.
 

TheGecko

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I buy Essential Depot Sodium Hydroxide via Amazon Prime. I was using Brambleberry’s, but needed up running low and wouldn’t be able to get it as soon as Prime. I now always keep a spare bottle on hand and reorder when I open it.
 

Marebear

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When I started making soap I ordered lye by the case from Ace Hardware. For the past 6 years I have been using 100% lye from The Boyer Corporation in La Grange, IL They sell in bulk or 12 - 2 lb containers in a case. I trust their quality
 

bookreader451

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I go back and forth between WSP and Amazon. I have never used lye from the hardware, mostly because I never thought of it.
 

Kiti Williams

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I started out with Roebic as well. I found that the price was prohibitive, as I wanted to make a bunch of soap and bottle was 14.99! I had more Lye at a lower price from Bulk Apothecary.
 

Zany_in_CO

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For the past 6 years I have been using 100% lye from The Boyer Corporation in La Grange, IL They sell in bulk or 12 - 2 lb containers in a case. I trust their quality
I totally agree, Boyers is the best! Unfortunately, since I'm no longer selling, their minimum is out of my league and probably for other hobbyists as well. :(
 

Mobjack Bay

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I just switched from the hardware store variety to food grade from ED ordered through Amazon. The hardware store brand always has small dark chunks that I pick out as best I can. I remember checking the specs when I first started and thought the purity was acceptable/high, but I’m not convinced after using the product. The ED lye is perfectly clean and uniform. ED states a minimum purity of 96%, the price is reasonable, and I can have it within a few days of ordering.
 

landj

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So a few years back I bought lye, and it was labeled Sodium Carbonate Anhydrous (soda ash). Am I going to be able to use this for soap? Thanks for the help.
 

Kiti Williams

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So a few years back I bought lye, and it was labeled Sodium Carbonate Anhydrous (soda ash). Am I going to be able to use this for soap? Thanks for the help.

Yes, but you will get liquid soap paste from it. Soda Ash, or Potash is weaker than Potassium Hydroxide. The others can correct me if I am wrong about this.
 
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