What is lye?

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Lye is an alkaline chemical that is considered to be caustic. Lye can be used in many ways, but it is also considered hazardous.

Lye can be used to dissolve substances that are sticky like fat. It is also known to react quickly with other substances or materials.

Previously, potassium hydroxide was the chemical compound that was usually used to make lye. At present, most lye makers use sodium hydroxide.

Dangerous but useful lye

Lye can come in different forms like granular, flake or liquid. Lye is a very hazardous substance regardless of its form as it can damage both surfaces and human beings.

But many people still use lye despite the risks in using this chemical. Lye are usually used for the production of household products that include oven cleaners, de-cloggers, polish and laundry soap, to name a few.

Lye can also be used to cure food product like mandarin oranges, pretzels and green olives, among others.

Hazards and handling

Lye is considered a poisonous substance and users should be careful in their usage of lye-based products especially at home.

Lye-based home products should be kept away from children. Users should also make sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the lye-based product.

For example, an adult using a de-clogger made from lye should adhere to instructions on how to use the product. If the direction for use indicates that the user should wait one hour before using the area being de-clogged (like sinks or drainage), then the user should make sure that no water seeps into the drainage or sink. Keep in mind that lye can cause damage to people and surfaces.

Lye can also trigger fire when in liquid form or when mixed with water. Plus, they can dissolve substances like shower curtains, and it reacts to metals and aluminum, and as such, lye should be stored in a safe area.

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