Make Your Own Soap, Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)

Where to Buy Lye (Sodium & Potassium Hydroxide)

Where to Buy Lye in Singapore

Where to Buy Lye in Singapore?

Where to Buy Lye in Singapore? Simple, by booking our soap making workshop and use lye provided in our workshop now! Rental for the workshop (not guided) is only at only $20 per 60 minutes block (Per Person). Lye for soap bar i.e. sodium hydroxide to make cold process soap are priced at ONLY $0.08/g. Lye for liquid soap i.e. potassium hydroxide to make liquid soap paste are priced at only $0.10/g. Contact us @ 94832196 to find out more!

We will also be covering a few topics here for soapers in Singapore;

  • Where to Buy Lye in Singapore?
  • Buying Lye in SG?
  • Where Can I Buy Caustic Soda in Singapore?
  • Where to Buy Sodium Hydroxide for Soap Making in Singapore?

Looking for where to buy lye in Singapore? Check out our blog post on where to buy lye in Singapore below.

Lye for Soap Making

Are you a soap maker looking for how buying lye in SG can be achieved? Are you hoping to find Sodium Hydroxide or Caustic Soda in Singapore to make cold process soap?

What exactly is Lye? Why is the soap making folks so fond of lye? And what is Sodium Hydroxide and Caustic Soda?

What are they used for? Where can I buy Lye or Sodium Hydroxide in Singapore? Can I make my own soap without lye?

Today, I shall dedicate this blog post to the what where and how of the staple ingredient of soap making, Lye a.k.a. Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Soda / NaOH) and Potassium Hydroxide (Caustic Potash / KOH).

What is Lye & Sodium Hydroxide?

Lye are strong alkali bases. Soap makers uses lye to saponify oils to form soap. Depending on the type of lye used, you can either make solid bar soap (with sodium hydroxide) or soap paste for liquid soap (with potassium hydroxide).

Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH), also known as lye, is an essential ingredient in the soap making process. When sodium hydroxide beads or flakes are mixed with a liquid, a lye solution is created. This solution, when mixed with fats and oils, will cause a chemical reaction called saponification. The result of saponification is beautiful handmade soap.

So what is Lye or Sodium Hydroxide? Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye and caustic soda. Chemically, it is an inorganic compound with a formula NaOH (the compound consisting of sodium cations Na+ and hydroxide anions OH−) [1] Pure sodium hydroxide is highly soluble in water but has a lower solubility in ethanol and methanol.

The first step of soap making involves the dissolution (or dissolve) solid sodium hydroxide in water, this process can cause is a highly exothermic reaction where large amount of heat is liberated during the process and could pose a threat to safety e.g. through the possibility of splashing. The resultant water and sodium hydroxide solution (which will be used to saponify base carrier oils) is colorless, odorless and feels slippery when it comes in contact with skin due to saponification.

Note of precaution: ALWAYS pour lye slowly in small moderate amount into water, NEVER the other way round. Adding water to lye can cause a volcano-like reaction.

How is Sodium Hydroxide made?

Sodium hydroxide can be made (with chlorine and hydrogen) using the chloralkali process. A solution of sodium chloride is electrolyzed and sodium hydroxide is made around the cathode, where water is reduced to hydrogen gas and hydroxide ion. The hydrogen is released and the hydroxide bonds with the sodium to make sodium hydroxide. [2].How to Make Lye Traditionally

Traditionally, soap makers makes lye using wood ash (The ash should come from hardwoods as soft woods are too resinous to mix with fat) and water (preferably rainwater). The problem with making lye from wood ash, although it is a simple process, the end result can be that your lye water is either too strong, or too weak. Either way, it could spoil your batch of homemade soap.

What is Potassium Hydroxide?

From batteries to fertilizers, soaps and hairspray, there are more uses of the chemical potassium hydroxide than most people are aware. As a strong base it help neutralize acid, but it can also be used as a food thickener or stabilizer. It has medicinal properties for both humans and pets, and is the reagent in many industrial processes.

So what is Potassium Hydroxide? Potassium Hydroxide is a type of lye specifically used to make liquid soap. It is the main akali used in the production of liquid soap and, other than sodium hydroxide, it is one of the most dangerous chemicals on the handcrafting soap maker’s ingredient list. As a strong base, it has the potential to cause serious harm. Regardless of how accustomed is the seasoned soap maker, potassium hydroxide, like sodium hydroxide, should always be treated with the greatest respect.

Structurally, it is an inorganic compound with the formula KOH (commonly called caustic potash). Along with sodium hydroxide (NaOH), this colorless solid is a prototypical strong base. Also known as potash, lye or even KOH, it induces saponification of the fats and oils to create liquid soap. Potassium Hydroxide (like Sodium Hydroxide, Lye) is hygroscopic (meaning it attracts moisture), so be sure to keep it in a sealed container in a cool dry place. If you leave it in an open container for even a day, it can attract enough moisture to throw off its weight enough to ruin a recipe and always remember, it is just as caustic and it is advised that you practice precautions when using it as well.

Potassium hydroxide, also known as potassium hydrate and caustic potash, is a strong alkaline substance (i.e. base) that dissociates completely in water into potassium ion (K+) and hydroxide ion (OH-). Much like adding sodium hydroxide to water, when potassium hydroxide is added to water, the dissolution in water generates heat. Soap makers uses potassium hydroxide to make liquid soap.

While both potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide are strong alkali bases, the amount of KOH (potassium hydroxide) required to neutralize x grams of oil is different from the amount of NaOH (sodium hydroxide). As such, the amount of NaOH and KOH amount used per gram of oil (e.g. coconut oil) is different. soap makers need to refer to the SAP chart for the different.

Potassium hydroxide is commonly used in the manufacturing of liquid soap. Saponifying fats with KOH (lye) is used to prepare the soft soap (“potassium soaps”), which are softer than the more common sodium hydroxide-derived soaps (bar soap). Sodium hydroxide lye makes solid (bar) soap while potassium hydroxide lye (potash / KOH) makes a semi solid paste for dilution into liquid soap.

What are Lye used for?

Quite simply:

  • Sodium Hydroxide (often called just “lye”) makes bar soap – solid, opaque bar soap
  • Potassium Hydroxide (often called “potash”) makes liquid soap – flowing, clear or translucent liquid soap

Since this article is about the more commonly used Lye, I shall focus on Sodium Hydroxide first and talk about Potassium Hydroxide in another post. Sodium hydroxide (a.k.a. Lye, NaOH or Caustic Soda), is commonly used to control the pH of cosmetics and personal care products. It is also used to saponify oil, neutralize acids and make sodium salts. Industries using sodium hydroxide for mass production range from the manufacturing of pulp and paper, textiles, drinking water, soaps, detergents and food production. Commonly sold as flakes, prills (pellets), and cast blocks, it should alway be used by personnel with the appropriate knowledge and training as it can pose as a safety hazard. As with any lye solution, be sure that you are wearing proper safety gear – gloves and goggles, apron (and long sleeves preferably) – and make sure that there are no children, pets, spouses, etc. to distract you when you’re making your lye solution.

Differences between Sodium Soap & Potassium Soap? 

Difference between Sodium Hydroxide and Potassium Hydroxide

Liquid soap are made somewhat in the same manner by using potassium hydroxide to create a lye solution for mixing with oils. After saponification, instead of a solid bar, you will create a semi soluble soft soap paste. If the soap paste is properly formulated, you can simply dilute the paste with distilled water to achieve liquid soap. If you are familiar with hot processing your soap, liquid soap making should be easier for you.

Can I make soap without lye?

There are many ways to make soap, but more commonly used are Hot Process, Cold Process and Melt and Pour Soap Making. it. For hot and cold process soap making, you need lye. Period. It is simply impossible to make real soap without lye or sodium hydroxide because there are no substitution for the purpose of saponification of oil.

You need lye to saponify base oils in order for it to turn to soap. However, you can still make soap at home, if you are using Melt and Pour Soap Bases. These soap bases are essentially made through hot process with added humectant (e.g. glycerin and propylene glycol) for moisturizing and melt-ability.

A word of precaution, always look for detergent free melt and pour soap bases as some of these MP bases are added with cheap detergents and soap mimicking chemicals to reduce cost. These ingredients e.g. Sodium lauryl ether sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, phthalates and many more, are harsh to your skin and could complicate skin conditions. Just check the ingredients listed on these bases and do a google search for each of the items.

Sadly, there are very few true soaps on the market. Most body cleansers, both liquid and solid, are actually synthetic detergent products. Detergent cleansers are popular because they make suds easily in water and don’t form gummy deposits. Some of these detergent products are actually marketed as “soap” but are not true soap according to the regulatory definition of the word.

Substitute for Lye in Soap Making?

Are there any natural substitutes to lye in a soap making? The short answer is no.

There are no substitutes for lye in soap making. You must have sodium hydroxide (casutic soda / NaOH) for bar soaps or potassium hydroxide (Caustic Potash  / KOH) for liquid soaps.

If you aren’t using lye you aren’t making soap. Like commercial store bought “soap”, non-lye-made soap are simply synthetic detergent cleaners. They are usually made using SLS, SLES or soap-mimicking chemicals.

These chemicals are cheap to produce and you can easily make synthetic detergent “soap” or cleaner by blending all the ingredients together however, they are also harsh on your skin.

To make real soap, there are no substitute for lye. You will need lye to saponify your oils to make soap.

Alternatively, you can also consider Melt and Pour Soap Bases. These are real soap pre-made with lye and oil reaction. You can simply melt the bases and add the additives like essential oils, powders and fragrances to make soap at home.

What are Melt and Pour Soap Bases

“Melt and Pour Soap” is the name given to soap bases that have already undergone the usual soap-making process – in which particular oils are combined with an alkaline solution to create a reaction known as saponification.

Melt and Pour soaps are ready to use; simply melt the base, then pour into a mold, and allow it to set. In other words, Melt and Pour soap is pre-saponified soap that can be used with or without further chemical processing or customization.

Like “true” soap, Melt and Pour soap has been made through the saponification process with a combination of ingredients that are also used in traditional soaps – which might be considered to be more “true” – and these include natural oils as well as lye, thus Melt and Pour soap does not need to have lye added to it, as doing so would be an unnecessary extra step that would cause the soap base to potentially burn the skin.

Additional Glycerin is added to the Melt and Pour soaps, offering more soothing and hydrating properties to the skin. It also helps produce clear soaps that can be easily colored and shaped and that are gentle on the skin, making Melt and Pour soap ideal for use on sensitive skin types.

At we are also the leading Melt and Pour Soap Base Wholesaler in Singapore. You can buy them here.

Where to Buy Lye or Sodium Hydroxide?

Looking for where to buy lye in Singapore?

Sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide are industrial chemicals controlled as a hazardous substances under the Environmental Protection and Management Act (EPMA) and its Regulations. National Environment Agency (NEA) has informed that no individuals are allowed to import/purchase such controlled chemicals for personal/domestic use. Soap makers in Singapore can only get lye by renting a soap making workshop approved by NEA with a license/permit. These workshops must meet the strict safety requirements imposed by the authority and must be located in a B2 category industrial building. 

Looking for lye (sodium hydroxide) to make cold processed soap in Singapore at home is simply impossible. However, as an active promoter of real soap making in Singapore, we have set up a private room for soap makers in Singapore to make soap! Now, you can make soap by simply booking a soap making workshop from us! Hooray soap makers!

Now you can make your own soap, without the headache of how to get lye in Singapore and the need to purchase a whole list of soap making equipment and ingredients to start! So stop worrying about where to buy lye in Singapore and start booking a room for your soap making session.

Simply book our soap making workshop, click here to find out more

Rental rates are at $20 per 60 minute block (Per Person) only with no minimum blocks per rental (comes with all the basic equipment to make soap) and come on site to make your soap! Additional materials like lye and oils can be purchased at site!



[1] Sodium Hydroxide:


[3] The Truth About Lye and Soap

[4] Is there lye in your soap? Won’t it harm my skin?

[5] Can you make soap without lye (sodium hydroxide)?

[6] Making soap without lye: How to avoid the dangers of lye?

[7] How to make your own sodium hydroxide (lye)?

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