Where to Buy Lye and How to Make It

When you hear the word lye you might think of soap. This isn’t surprising since it is one of the main ingredients when creating this common cleaning product. If you are considering making soap and want to educate yourself on everything lye then look no further. It’s all explained right here including several places where to buy lye.

What Can Lye Be Used For?

Close-up image of woman putting spoon of lye in plastic jar when making soap at home

Before we dive into the many uses lets learn what lye is. In short, it’s “a strong alkaline liquor” that’s used for cleaning and soap creation. Other uses for lye include synthesizing drugs, disinfecting floors and toilets, unclogging drains, making biodiesel, and even curing food like olives.

Lye Safety Tips

Just one more stop before we start running out and buying lye, it is a caustic material, which means it can be dangerous. There are precautions everyone should take before working with any chemicals including lye.

Lye is poisonous and you want to avoid contact with your eyes and skin. You never want to ingest it and inhalation is also dangerous. This is why you need to make sure of the following tips.


  • DO NOT wear short-sleeved shirts, short pants, or sandals.
  • DO WEAR goggles, gloves, and clothing to protect your skin.
  • IF YOUR CLOTHING GETS CONTAMINATED remove them immediately.


An attractive young woman cleaning up a spilled glass of water in her home. She is using paper towels and is cleaning a hardwood floor. Vertically framed shot.

  • IF YOU SPILL LYE clean it up right away.

What It Can Do

  • If it gets in your eye flush it with water gently and head to the hospital.
  • If it gets on your skin flush it with water gently and head to the hospital.
  • If it gets ingested, drink large amounts of water and then milk. Head to the hospital.
  • If you inhale lye get out into the fresh air and head to the hospital.

Where to Buy Lye?

There are several places you can purchase lye for your soap making or olive curing project, There are local sources like hardware stores, online shops that will ship what you need right to your door, chemical supply companies that specialize in that kind of thing, and you can even make your own.

We’ve put together a list of eleven places where you can purchase the lye you need.

1. Etsy

Pavlograd, Ukraine - October 31, 2014: Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods.

Not just for crafts Esty, one of the most well-known places to sell things on the internet, is a great place to look for lye. One search has brought up quite a few options to purchase sodium hydroxide. So it gives you options, which is always a plus.

Another great thing about searching through Etsy to find lye is, if you are making soap, there are several pages with lye soap for sale so you can scan them to find cool ideas and scents to use when you start your project.

More Info Here

2. Amazon

SANTA CLARA,CA/USA - FEBRUARY 1, 2014: Amazon building in Santa Clara, California. Amazon is an American international electronic commerce company. It is the world's largest online retailer.

This next source shouldn’t be too surprising. What doesn’t Amazon send to the consumer? This is a great option if you’re a Prime Member and can save on shipping. Amazon offers more options when it comes to lye than Etsy.

You can find it in small and large containers so no one is forced to purchase more than they need. Lye isn’t something you want to have lying around the house or garage. No pun intended. Another nice thing is the price options here vary so you won’t break the bank for a starter project.

Find Out More

3. Bulk Apothecary

Bulk Apothecary logo in white background.

Founded in 2010 in Ohio, this online supplier listed one hundred and forty-two options when I searched for lye. And that’s not all. When it comes to making soap, you can find a ton of items you need here.

They sell everything. Colors, seeds, molds, stamps, bases, oils, and much more. You can try some of the soaps they sell or even check out what they have in the way of kits if you are looking to make a small investment for a starter project.

If you have a larger venture in mind they also offer wholesale options.

Learn More

4. Essential Depot

Essential Depot logo in white background.

Next, we have an online distributor that specializes in caustics and claims theirs is superior to all others for the following reasons, the grades are the purest, all of them are manufactured in the United States, and they offer quality control on all imports and exports.

Essential Depot also offers food-grade lye that can be used for soap or the olives we spoke of earlier. In addition to that, they sell essential oils that are tested for quality with an extensive report given at the end of their research.

Find Out Here

5. Walmart

Walmart Logo in a building

This next supplier can get lye for you in one of two ways. You can go online and order it from their website or you can take a ride to your local Walmart and pick some up in person. There are pros and cons to both options.

Ordering online offers you the convenience of clicking a few buttons and having your selection brought to your door. But you have to wait and sometimes when you order online it’s not the same when you get it in person.

When you go to the store you can get your lye that same day and you are supporting a local location and the people that work there. It’s also good to get away from the computer sometimes and head outside.

Check It Out Here

6. Lowe’s

GILROY, CA/USA - MAY 26, 2014: Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse exterior. Lowe's is an American chain of retail home improvement stores in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Here we have a place where you can find lye and a ton of other supplies when you are a home improvement junkie. Making soap doesn’t exactly fall under the umbrella of home improvement but that doesn’t mean the deal you find here won’t be better.

Lowe’s started in 1946 as a small business in North Carolina and has grown to be one of the largest chains of its kind in the world. Most of the lye options here are for cleaning drains. Just like Walmart, you have the option of ordering online or heading to your local Lowe’s.

Learn More

7. Home Depot

The Home Depot logo in front of building.
Image Source : flickr.com

Here we have a chain that is in the same line as the one we just talked about. They are direct competitors if we are being honest. But there is nothing wrong with healthy competition. It creates a market that offers options for the consumer.

Home Depot offers online ordering or you can go to the closest one to where you live. Like Lowe’s, the only options online are for unclogging drains but they may have more options at the store.

8. Soap Goods

SoapGoods logo on white background.

Now there’s a name you want to see when you start making soap. Soap Goods has everything you need when you are starting out in the soap making game, including lye. They have a few to choose from and they are sold in different quantities to meet everyone’s needs.

While there you can check out their molds, oils, essential oils, bases, jars, and colors. This is a fun one-stop shop for soap and DIY cosmetics. They also offer tutorials and advice to guide you through your journey.

Find It Here

9. NOAH Technologies

NOAH Technologies logo on white background.

This supplier of sodium hydroxide, also known as lye or caustic soda, is for the serious soap maker since their lowest quantity is thirty-five kilograms, which is quite a bit for the beginner. Starter soaps for people learning the craft don’t call for this amount but, if you’ve been playing with the idea of starting your own brand of soaps, NOAH is the way to go.

Find It Here

10. Make Your Own

Make Your Own Lye
Full guide at: instructables.com

Just like cheese and yeast for bread you can make some at home if you need to. As crafters, we love to make things to the more authentic we can get with a project the better. All you need for this is some baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, a desk lamp for light heat, a scale that weighs grams, a glass container, and something to stir.

Making lye is dangerous so be sure to follow the directions and are careful during the process. And it can be done with items that are laying around your home.

11. Or Try This Recipe

Or Try This Recipe
Get the details at : instructables.com

If you don’t have peroxide or baking soda then you can make some with salt and gelatin. But beware that this process is dangerous because you will be producing a caustic material. Not to mention the chlorine gas that will be omitted during the process. You need to be sure you are working in an area with plenty of ventilation.

This solution is also highly flammable, which causes all kinds of risks. If you are willing to take them that is up to you. But we recommend buying a simple bag of lye from a reputable supplier and leave the chemical mixing to the professionals.


Now that you know the places where you can purchase lye or what you need to make some you can get started gathering supplies for your project. We don’t want you to forget to do some more research on how to handle lye and the safest way to work with this caustic substance.

Where to Buy Lye When You Want To Make Soap - Infographic

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