Guest Author - Winsome Tapper
One thing that soapmakers counted on was that Red Devil lye could always be had in the house cleaning isle of the supermarket. Then a year or two ago, lye disappeared from the supermarket shelves. This was the culmination of law enforcement efforts in making common household and chemical industrial ingredients used to make methamphetamine difficult for criminals to obtain. Now soap makers have to find new sources to buy lye (AKA caustic soda,sodium hydroxide).
This was a surprise to soap makers many of whom had no idea that their favorite drain cleaner AKA sodium hydroxide(lye) was a chief ingredient used to adjust the pH in illegal meth operations all across the country. What this crackdown by law enforcement did was to take a potentially harmful chemical off the supermarket shelves and begin the process of it being regulated as a product of potential harm in the supply chain of illegal drug manufacturing.
As a result of this retailers no longer carry lye and soapmakers have to obtain lye from companies that have to keep documentation of customers who buy lye in bulk and requires the buyer to sign a a statement attesting to its use.
Lye is not just used by soap makers to turn fatty acids into soap but is also used in many industries, including biodiesel production, cleaning products and in the curing of certain food products such as olives, hominy corn, pretzels and even in certain Chinese rice noodle products. Aside from those uses, lye is used in glass products to give a high end frosted look and to adjust the pH in chemical processes. Though lye is a dangerous product its use is undeniable and even surprising given the fear that many people have related to its potential for devastating effects if misused.
Lye is now mainly sold by businesses that sell soap making supplies as well as chemical suppliers and manufacturers. Here is a state by state list of places to buy lye. Please feel free to contact me to add your company to this list.
Gallade Chemical, Santa Ana, California
Gallade Chemical Website
Certified Lye, Spring Valley, California
Certified Lye Website
AAA Chemicals, Pasadena, Texas
Essential Depot, Houston, Texas
Research for article obtained from: