But way back when, Great Grandma Maude didn't have access to electrolysis. So how did she make her lye for soapmaking? Well, she used one of these:
|Thanks to our Intern Anne C. for this picture|
Wood ash goes in the top, water goes over the wood ash, and lye comes pouring down the chute in about three days. Lye made this way is unpredictable at best - there are no industry standards when you make it yourself! - so the soap could be unpredictable too. If you want to see everything that goes into making your own lye from wood ash, check out this step-by-step tutorial. And don't forget your goggles & gloves.
Now that you know all of that, aren't you glad we can all buy standardized sodium hydroxide in handy to measure white pellets?