Introduction: MAKE YOUR OWN LYE

I am currently taking over my grandparents farm, and working towards getting off the grid, and a ...

Lye from soap to bio fuel to Crystal meth, LYE (KOH, potassium hydroxide) Has a 1001 uses. And it is soooooo easy to make you could almost do it by accident !
Here's what you need


Step 1: Step One: Apply Fire to Wood

   First thing you need to do is burn some wood, No pine only hardwoods, Apple  and fruit trees is the best.
   Now after burning that wood collect the ashes in a big 5 gal plastic bucket make sure the coal are not hot and melt through the bucket.
 Fill the bucket about half way should be enough.


Step 2: Step Two: There's Holes in Your Bucket

  Take one of the plastic buckets drill some small holes into the bottom, then take some flat rocks cover the bottom of the bucket, then on top of those rocks add a layer of gravel.

Step 3: Step Three: Just Add Water

Take the empty bucket this should be the biggest bucket,label it  LYE so no one tries to use it. 
Take the bucket with rocks and holes and put that in the other one. Fill it with the wood ashes.
  Now just add water, this must be soft water or distilled water, the best to use is rain water.

Step 4: Step Four: Your Lye Is Done

 That's it!  Once the water drains through the ashes filling the bottom bucket with LYE water, To increase the acidity of the lye, take the water and pour it through the bucket again and again.
   You can test the acidity with a PH meter make sure it goes from 1.0 - 14.0  14 is the PH level for making soap.
   Old ways of telling if you lye was ready for soap making was it could dissolve a chicken feather, or if a egg is placed in water it would float above the water like a bobber.
    Or you could boil it, DO THIS OUT DOORS!



  • Creative Misuse Contest

    Creative Misuse Contest
  • Water Contest

    Water Contest
  • Tiny Home Contest

    Tiny Home Contest

25 Discussions

Do you have a good castile soap recipe using the homemade potassium hydroxide lye?

ok after you drill holes in first bucket and put in to second bucket. how does it letch into the third bucket

My lye water ph is at 6.5, if this strong enough to make soap with? How do i raise the ph to 14 like recommended?

1 reply

boil the solution until saturated (crystals start forming)

This method makes a great solution that will get up to around 11-11.5ph. Great for soap however it is at the end of this inscrutable it is technically potassium carbonate (potash but called lye as well). Adding quicklime turns this into a KOH and chalk mix (caustic potash but also called lye :-/). For soap potassium carbonate is awesome but for biodiesel folks it needs some extra steps.

hi! lately i'm interested in soapmaking, made my first batch few days ago. i looked for some info about homemade lye and apparently nobody could tell a scientific method to decide when the lye is ready. can you confirm the ph must be 14? how did you get that info?

6 replies

get one of those ph testers for a fish tank. its all the same thing.

I got a small battery operated ph meter there cheap and accurate
sorry it took so long to reply

David you made Lye? As far as everything I've read there isnt a lot of scientific on this because it was done many years ago when they didnt have access to Red Devil Lye lol. They say that if you float an egg in your lye it slould be level not too high or too low, but floating with about 25% of the egg above water/lye/ Hope it helps why you  using homemade lye you can buy it for 6.00? I have a great melt and poor on Etsy karonv
hope this helps

thanks for the answer. another thing: there is plenty of NaOH tables for soapmaking, what about KOH? anybody knows in which percentage i'm gonna use homemade lye? i'm afraid it's trial and error.

This is what i am doing making soap using LYE water, almost all the recipes i have seen have lye and water so i just combine those 2 numbers and use the straight lye water, Also pouring lye water through a coffee filter wil remove teh brow color, use 3 layers of them.

When using. What is weight of liquid used for sol forsoap

Lye is not an acid it's a base. With a ph of 14 it's far from being an acid.

What do you do with the lye water then though. How do you turn it into soap or washing soap. Ta.

there are 2 kinds of lye, your talking about store bought Red Devil lye.
this is how they used to make lye this is also called potash.

Making Lye with Wood Ash is fun to do, but if your ever in a hurry or just dont feel like making it yourself visit their lye is pure food grade caustic soda (another name for lye)!\

Thank you for your instructables. Helps me a lot since I can't easily find lye in my country here. Thanks again.

lye is alkaline; you can't increase its acidity by making it stronger. as it is an alkali, pouring the water through the bucket will increase its alkalinity (or its strength if you'd prefer to think of it that way) not its acidity (acidity actually decreases as you make it stronger). other than this, great work!