Cast Iron (general info) > Cleaning and Restoration

Best sources for inexpensive lye

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Jeff McGrady:
[size=12]I noted the Sticky for places to purchase lye, and appreciated the links in that post.

However, I wondered if anyone has discovered better sources to obtain sodium hydroxide?

Tractor Supply wants $14.99 for 2 pounds, and in looking on eBay I found the shipping costs a bit restrictive on some auctions.

I am hoping to set up my first lye bath in a 20 gallon resealable plastic tub, so would like to purchase at least 4-5 pounds of lye....maybe twice that much to have a second round, on-hand, though I don't wish to purchase 'in-bulk.'

The best price I have found in my short time researching/comparing is at Bulk Apothecary:
Sodium Hydroxide (LYE)
Size:      8 lb ($2.11 / lb) - $16.92 (+ $14.68 ship'g)

If anyone knows of a better source, and is willing to share, I'd appreciate it!    ;)


Cheryl Watson:

I order it by the case. :)

Valerie Johnson:
I have purchased it from my local Dollar store and from Big Lots, What I get is Drain cleaner which lists the sole ingredient as Sodium Hydroxide crystals, I paid $3.00 for 2 lb containers at Big Lots, I have used other crystalized and liquid drain cleaners that list lye as the sole ingredient.

Some of the drain cleaners have aluminum flakes listed as an ingredient, I avoid those.

Jeff McGrady:
[size=12]Thank you both!

$3 for 2 pounds beats anything I had found, thus if I can find a nearby Big Lots that carries the same thing yours does, I should be in bidness   8-)[/size]

Lewis Downey:
Idealtruevalue is in the sticky (I think) and their price per pound is a little higher than a couple of places mentioned in this thread. Their shipping cost can be pretty good if you buy in quantity. I usually buy 40 or 50 pounds of Rooto from per order. The Rooto itself has been $2.22/lb from  for a while. The overall cost per pound varies based on the shipping. Shipping prices change at quantities of 10.  The table below does not include the cost of the lye ($2.22/lb). It only shows an example of how the shipping charge changes.

Feb 2017
lbs of lyeshipping charge to NC10 lbs$10.9911 lbs$12.9920 lbs$12.9921 lbs$14.9930 lbs$14.9931 lbs$16.9940 lbs$16.9941 lbs$18.9950 lbs$18.9951 lbs$21.99

Shipping 50 pounds to Raleigh NC adds an extra $0.38/lb on top of the cost of the lye - not too bad. The $2.22/lb price may not be the lowest, but combined with shipping it is a decent price.


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