How to make lye

How to make lye: the instructions to operate theash leaching in order to obtain the alkaline solution containing caustic soda.

Therelye, popularly known aslye, is a liquid obtained from the process of "ash leaching and used as a base for the production of soap.

Therelyeit is considered a powerful natural detergent, it is an alkaline solution containing sodium hydroxide (commonly called caustic soda) or potassium hydroxide (commonly called caustic potash). Both sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide have strong corrosive properties. Potassium hydroxide is used by the food industry as an additive with an acidity regulator function and is identified among the ingredients with the initials E525.

The uses of lye

The uses of lye are not limited to soap production: the lye it is used in the food sector, for the production of degreasers and detergents, for the production of disgorging agents ... not missing illicit uses: thelyewas used to remove ink from banknotes and documents in order to carry out counterfeiting works. Anotheruseillegal oflyesees it used as a synthesis ingredient of amphetamines.

The lye for the production of soap

In the guide article entitled "how to make soap at home"I explained to you how to make soap from lye and vegetable oil. For the production of thelyein the domestic environment we have used simple ash: the ash contains potassium carbonate orpotash,ideal for the leaching process. Sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide are used in soap production: sodium hydroxide is usually used to produce solid soap while potassium hydroxide is commonly used for the production of liquid soap. Soaps produced starting with potassium hydroxide are softer and can be dissolved in water more easily. Historically, potassium hydroxide was extracted from fern ashes (seeCastile soap and Aleppo soap).

For thesoap production10 grams of olive oil and 5 grams of potassium hydroxide are used, placed in 40 ml of a 50% water-alcohol solution. The whole is heated for about 45 minutes, stirring constantly. Separately, another water-alcohol solution is prepared to be added from time to time. The process ends by adding a cold solution given by 150 ml of water and sodium chloride. The soap it forms and "falls" to the bottom. To extract it, just filter it and let it dry completely. Not everyone has it availablesodium hydroxidebut everyone has access to the ash and therefore to the potassium carbonate and from here it is possible prepare the lye and soap in the house.

How to make lye - cold method

Thereash leachingwith the cold method it takes quite a long time: it will be necessary to leave the ash in the water for a period of at least 3 weeks in summer and 6 weeks in winter. The first phase of leaching it can be operated in a plastic container (in a bucket), taking care to mixat leasta couple of times a day. Know that waiting times are directly proportional tocausticityof the product obtained: the more time you leave the lye it will be caustic. The ash will settle all on the bottom and you can take the lye with a ladle and then pour it into plastic bottles.

How to make lye - hot method

Thereleachingwhen hot it has shorter times. Formake the lyewith the hot method, you will need to:

  1. Sift the ash to remove lumps and non-unburned parts.
  2. Place the ash in a steel pot and, for each part of ash, add 5 of water (ratio by volume, not by weight!).
  3. Boil over low heat, stir frequently and stabilize the boiling. Cook for about 2 hours.
  4. At the end of the two hours, let it settle and cool. Filter the lye with a cotton cloth. You will get a fairly clear liquid that is easy to keep even for long periods.

What remains is saidash paste, also this can be used as a natural detergent, use it to degrease the oven or to clean the irons of theBBQ.

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Video: How Not to Dissolve a Body in Lye (December 2021).