Buying lye can be a problem these days. For all its uses, properties and various advantages (and caustic effects), lye is sometimes not readily available for users now. This is because, Red Devil Lye, the sole lye brand died years ago, forcing soap makers to look for other options.
Why buying lye is all important: You cannot just do without lye if you plan to make soaps, cleaners or even bath salts. Lye is required to make biodiesel too. Food grade lye has a lot of food processing uses – it is used to cure olives, make pretzels, Chinese noodles, hominy corn, bagels etc. Lye is also used in glass products to give a high-end frosted look and to adjust pH in several chemical processes. Above all, lye is a must for making domestic lye cleaners, pool cleaners etc. Lye is now used even in hair relaxers and other hair care products. With such varied uses, one cannot but need lye. If not from the retailers, customers need to find other sources for buying lye.
Crackdown on selling lye: When Red Devil Lye was available on the ‘cleaners’ section of our stores, we never had issues with regard to buying or transporting lye. It could be used for every other use of lye – in soap making, biodiesel preparation, glass manufacture and cleaning. With the demise of Red Devil, you have two responsibilities before you buy lye – 1. ensure that the concentration of lye is useful for your purpose, 2. ensure that you buy lye with legal proof to avoid being labeled as a miscreant. Lye disappeared from the cleaning isle of stores for a reason – the law makers wanted to stop criminals from making illegal use lye. To level the pH of methamphetamine, illegal drug makers used lye. The Federal government, in an attempt to put an end to all illegal meth operations, stopped selling lye across the country.
How and where to buy lye: To buy lye, you can approach only manufacturers and not retailers. You may have to sign a statement of attesting why you want lye and how you plan to use it. This process is to circumvent bulk buying of lye for meth operations. Companies, soap making suppliers and manufacturers who sell lye often keep a documentation of who buys lye from them. There are some online depots which sell lye. The below tips will give you a clear idea on where to buy and where not to buy lye:
1. Online Depots: You online at Essential Depot.
2. Soap making suppliers: Some soap making suppliers (online and offline) sell lye. If you have registered for a local soap making course, you can probably ask your soap making trainer on where to find quality soap making supplies and go ahead and buy them. But here again, the quantity of lye given to you will be limited and you may not be able to use it for large scale production.
3. Try online sellers: If you are the type who cannot just forget Red Devil brand of lye, try to find an old, unused bottle on eBay or other auction sites. However, in this case, you may have to foot the bill for packaging, shipping and other charges. You may also have to state your reasons for using lye.
4. Manufacturers: If you can make friends with a manufacturer of lye, you can buy lye from him. Even when you buy from manufacturers, ensure that you buy from an authentic manufacturer using proper documentation. This would avoid trouble for you and the manufacturer in future.