Soapmaking is an art and has become immensely popular in recent years. If you have a thing for making homemade soaps, then you need to use the most appropriate materials for the process.
The entire process is truly fun and addictive. Sodium hydroxide is an essential ingredient used in the soapmaking process and is generally referred to as lye.
A lye or soap solution is created when sodium hydroxide flakes or beads are mixed in a specific liquid. When this solution is mixed with oils and fats, it results in a chemical equation referred to as saponification.
What is the best lye for soapmaking? Lye technically refers to sodium hydroxide, which is ideal for soapmaking. However, potassium hydroxide and other metal hydroxides are primarily alkaline and can be used in the soapmaking process.
Soapmaking is a ton of fun and you don’t want to miss out. We’ve laid out some great lye choices so you can get your soap-making on!
Why Is Sodium Hydroxide The Best for Soaps?
Sodium hydroxide is generally preferred over other options because of numerous reasons. It is available in the form of flakes, powder, and pellets.
All soap is made with lye. If you want a hard bar of soap, then sodium hydroxide is all you need to use. Almost nothing else will work to convert oil into soap.
If you’re happy with liquid soap, however, potassium hydroxide will do nicely. Potassium hydroxide is technically potash and not lye (because lye generally refers to sodium hydroxide
Best Lye for Soapmaking
We have reviewed some of the best lye options available for those who are fond of DIY soapmaking. We conducted an in-depth analysis to weigh the options and study the pros and cons.
We have summarized them for you so that you can make educated choices while purchasing lye for your soap making activity.
|1.||Essential Depot Potassium Hydroxide Flakes||Potassium hydroxide (potash) flakes|
|2.||The Boyer Corporation Red Crown Lye||Sodium hydroxide flakes|
|3.||Essential Depot Pure Sodium Hydroxide Lye||Sodium hydroxide beads (food-grade)|
|4.||Grandma's Pure Lye Soap Bar||Lye soap bar (can be reused)|
|5.||FDC 99% pure sodium hydroxide||Sodium hydroxide caustic beads|
1. Essential Depot Potassium Hydroxide Flakes
If you are planning to try your hand at liquid soapmaking, then this potassium hydroxide flakes would come to good use. This high-grade, high-quality product comprises of 90 percent pure flakes.
This premium product comes in secure packaging. The flakes are pretty thick and can be used for making baby shampoo, dishwasher soap, hand soap, and more. The flakes saponify well and there are no issues in the soapmaking process.
- Great lye for liquid soapmaking
- High-grade product
- Comprises of 90 percent pure potassium hydroxide flakes
- Can be used to make hand soap, dishwashing liquid, baby shampoo and more
- Saponifies well
- Is easy to use
- Comes in a beautiful and convenient packaging
- Works great for making liquid castile soap
- HDPE plastic packaging keeps the flakes dry
- Your calculations need to be accurate to make perfect soap as per your requirements
2. The Boyer Corporation Red Crown Lye
This top-notch sodium hydroxide lye is a great product for soap bar making. These are quite consistent in quality and offer perfect batches of soap to the users. The flakes dissolve completely without any issues.
If soap making is your passion, then you would be delighted to use this brand for crafting your own homemade soaps. Made in the U.S., this award-winning lye is the first choice for top soap makers.
The wide-mouth opening makes it easier to remove the lye while working with it. This lye works well with both plant-based fats and lard to give a perfectly nice bar of soap.
- Premium quality lye for soapmaking
- The first choice of top soap-makers
- Consistent in quality
- Offers perfect batch of soap every time
- Flakes dissolve entirely
- Made in the U.S.
- Comes in a secure packaging
- Wide mouth opening makes it easier to remove the contents
- Works well with both lard and plant-based fats
- Some floaters do not dissolve well for cold process soap making
3. Essential Depot Pure Sodium Hydroxide Lye
This food-grade sodium hydroxide lye comes in the form of microbeads in a secure HDPE plastic container. It is made in the U.S. and is great for soapmaking.
If you are skeptical about using technical grade lye in your soapmaking, then you would certainly love using this food-grade lye.
The lye comes packaged in easy-to-use, easy-to-store, and re-sealable containers. Moreover, the container comes with a child-proof cap and has been designed with BPA-free HDPE plastic. This pack contains a full two pounds of lye.
The product has been approved by the FDA as a food additive. You can even make pretzels with it! It has also been cleared for use as lye in soap making process. It readily saponifies fats into water-soluble sodium soaps. The tiny beads are remarkably uniform and possess superior properties.
- Food grade sodium hydroxide lye
- Microbeads made in the USA
- Net weight of 2 lb lye
- Comes in a secure HDPE plastic container
- Great for soap, bagel, and pretzel-making
- Much better than using technical-grade lye
- Saponifies readily
- The container is easy to use and store
- The container comes with a child-resistant cap and is BPA-free
- Has been cleared for use in soapmaking process
- While cooling this lye solution, you need to stir it often to ensure that it dissolves completely
4. Grandma’s Pure Lye Soap Bar
If you find it difficult to manage caustic soda in the liquid form or as flakes, then you will certainly love using this pure lye soap bar.
This lye bar has been certified by Mayo Clinic as safe for skin. It is free from the additives that can result in itchiness and allergies.
Although it is already in soap form, you can still use a pure lye soap bar to experience some of the fun of soap making, especially if you’re sensitive to additives (or want a simple process for children). This can also be used for making natural face cleanser, body wash, and more.
This lye bar has been manufactured in the U.S. and has not been tested on animals. It clears irritated skin naturally. This lye base would work great for individuals who have dry and sensitive skin.
- Made with only three ingredients: food-grade lard, lye, and water
- Convenient to melt and mold
- Ideal for soap makers who want to skip the saponification process
- Certified to be safe for skin by Mayo Clinic
- Ideal for individuals who don’t want to work with caustic solution or flakes
- Easy to use
- Free from additives
- Can be used to make body wash, natural face cleanser, and more
- Melting lye soap takes some time
5. FDC 99% Pure Sodium Hydroxide
These pure sodium hydroxide beads are ideal for making soaps, detergent, and for other purposes. This two-pound jar is packed with these white caustic beads.
Fats and oils are immiscible in waters, so sodium hydroxide has to be used in the process of breaking up triglyceride in oils and fats to turn fatty acids into sodium salts.
You can make pure soap with FDC lye without adding any additive. Using pure soap will cleanse your skin easily and can soothe insect bites.
You can also use this lye for making laundry detergent and for making dishwashing soap. This product comes in secure packaging of HDPE plastic containers which makes it easier to manage.
- 99% pure sodium hydroxide beads
- Ideal for making soaps, detergents, and more
- You can make pure soap with this lye
- Comes in a secure HDPE plastic container
- Saponifies readily with oils and fats
- The beads dissolve conveniently
- Is quite easy to use
- You need to use eye and hand protection gear while using this because of its high purity
What’s The Difference Between Food-Grade Lye And Drain-Cleaning Lye?
Using food-grade lye seems a lot safer as it has been tested for safety. Technical-grade lye which is also used for cleaning drains is also used for soap making process. Caustic soda releases fumes upon coming in contact with water and other reagents, which makes it suitable for cleaning drains.
Can These Lyes Be Used In Cold Process Soap-Making?
Yes. These are suitable for use in both cold process and hot process. You can conveniently melt the oils you want to be in your soap and mix it with the lye. You just need to be careful with your calculations.
Are There Standard Ratios For Mixing Lye With Water And Oils For Soap-Making?
No. There are tons of recipes that you can look up to. You need to be careful while using the ingredients and make sure to check the manufacturer’s label before using it for any application.
The procedure wouldn’t be the same while using the lye solution as it would be while using lye flakes. Hence, you need to look up recipes online and use the ingredients accordingly while crafting handmade soaps.
Do You Have To Wear Eye/Hand Protection When Handling Lye?
Yes. Whether you are using a technical grade or food grade reagent, it is always best to wear protection while handling caustic soda. This is because it releases fumes upon coming in contact with water and other reagents. Hence, you need to be careful while working with it.