Cast Iron (general info) > Cleaning and Restoration

How often do you change out Lye bath, for fresh Lye/water?

(1/2) > >>

Christian Andersen:
Sorry folks, I did try and search out this question via the search engine, and I'm sure it must be in there somewhere.

Anyhow.. So if your Lye bath is around approx. 5 gal.  I am 2.5 lbs Lye/5 gal water.  How do I know when to start over with fresh Lye and water?  Is it a matter of after roughly 5-6 skillets of average size and funk buildup.. change up bath?  Or is there some more accurate method of knowing when?
I am working through this old Lodge SK 10, that was the nastiest skillet I've ever seen.  About 7 days in the bath, and with some additional added scrubbing every two days, and back to bath.  Skillet is 95% cleaned up, but I'm still soaking it.   Sometimes I just want to keep starting new baths, but as you know the cost of Lye with shipping is kinda pricey, so don't want to do it unnecessarily.

Valerie Johnson:
I don't think 5-6 skillets is a lot , I have not counted but I guess I have probably cleaned almost 50 pieces in the same bath, I generally go for a redo when I notice residue from the bath settling on the bottom part of the iron as it hangs in my tank.

Lye is less effective in colder weather.

Electrolysis can help with some really hard stuck on black grease. It actually lifts it off without dissolving

Christian Andersen:

--- Quote ---I don't think 5-6 skillets is a lot , I have not counted but I guess I have probably cleaned almost 50 pieces in the same bath, I generally go for a redo when I notice residue from the bath settling on the bottom part of the iron as it hangs in my tank.

Lye is less effective in colder weather.

Electrolysis can help with some really hard stuck on black grease. It actually lifts it off without dissolving
--- End quote ---

Yeah, I totally felt that this bath could go for much longer, but of course the water just looks nasty, so thought I'd check.
Frustrating on the temp stuff, I get it.  Garage about 50 degrees, but this whole CI, Lye stuff etc.  is (my) thing.  My wife isn't going for any Lye bath in the actual house.   ;D

Speaking of Lye,  oh man... does one admit to stupid moves when online?  OK, so I had a clogged drain in my bathroom sink for literally a month, right at same time I got into CI restoration, etc.
After multiple attempts with Draino, mini snake, etc.  I read that the actual Lye crystals were fine to use on your drain, etc.  Thought it was something to do with the pipes are NOT  made of aluminum, so good to go, etc.
Used a couple spoons of lye on clog.   Nuttin' happening..
A week later, MORE  is better, right?   Used prob a 1/4 cup, not that much if you ask me.
Last night ran a snake down sink drain..  snake hits the pee trap, and goes right through it!  Apparently the lye sitting in the pee trap was not a good move.   Now I'm looking at a plumber for both the clog and new pipe! :(

Jeff Friend:
You should be able to clean a few dozen "typical" skillets with the lye solution you describe.  The reaction between the grease and the NaOH is a lot slower with a cold solution.  One of our members uses an immersion heater to keep his lye at a high temperature for faster cleaning.  The heaters don't last forever, but he swears by them.
Keep in mind that lye reacts with aluminum! 

Google livestock water tank heaters and see what looks like it might fit your system.   Maybe something like this one would work.
https://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=2E87C5D7-7B6A-11D5-A192-00B0D0204AE5

Russell Ware:
The best way clean cast iron that is really grungy is to use multiple cleaning systems. Lye is only chemical cleaning, but some of the burned matter can be layers of carbon ash, not so much organic since it can be burned that much. That is where electrolysis comes into play. The generation of the gas bubbles lends to the physical displacement of the crud, and you can see that floating in the solution at times.
Keep in mind too that thick layers put on over time can allow water to get trapped in the matter. Rust can start and that will get bound up with the carbonized crud, making the cleaning more difficult using only one method.
Plastic scrapers and dental picks can also help to dislodge some of that stuff.

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version