Recipes > Tips & Hints > How To Find Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)

Tips & Hints
How To Find Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)

    Date : 1999-01-12

    Q: I could not find sodium hydroxide listed in your catalog. Do you still carry it, or did I just not see it?

    A: We don't carry it anymore as the shipping regulations have changed. Grab your yellow pages and let's see if we can find a 50 lb bag for you ($24 to $35).

    Go to Chemicals. Look for any ads that say "We specialize in small quantites." They are the ones to call first. This way you can get less than 50 lbs on this first buy. If you see nothing that targets small quantity start at the top and call all the companies.

    Ask for sodium hydroxide (or potassium hydroxide). When they ask you what grade say TECHNICAL GRADE. Do not ask for lab grade. lab grade is often 3 to 10 times the price!!! Usually sodium hydroxide is offered in beads and potassium hydroxide in flakes. Either method is fine. The Lye Calculator can even handle liquid solutions.

    If the person on the phone does not know what you are talking about, (DUH! Operator halted; caffeine not found. ) ask for caustic soda (or caustic potash for potassium hydroxide). If they tell you they don't have it ask if they know of someone who does. Do not get off the phone without them giving a recommendation!

    If they do sell it you will probably need to pick it up. Chemical delivery trucks are prohibited in residential areas by federal law.

    If you don't want 50 lbs and they don't sell smaller quantites ask if you can talk to the warehouse manager. Tell the manager you are in need of a smaller quantity and would be willing to take a partial bag when they have a fork lift driver break one open. Tell them you see this as a win-win situation. Give your name and address.

    Call each company. You will find someone carries it as it is a very common chemical. You may be required to buy 50 lbs, and/or have a resellers licence.

    Keep good notes while you are calling each company.