# How to make NaOh

#### yyttr2

Im doing an experiment that calls for NaoH, but i cannont find red devil lye (same thing).

Does anyone know a practicle way to make NaoH or what other names it could go by in stores?

#### Borek

Mentor
Not easy to make it by yourself.

Look for a solid drain cleaner, at least some of them are pure NaOH.

Thanks

#### chemisttree

Homework Helper
Gold Member
The reason you can't find Red Devil Lye is because some folks use it in illicit drug manufacture. It is a very common chemical to obtain in some parts of the country but most major chains no longer carry it.
It is especially suspicious that one would seek to manufacture a common compound like this at home or to request how to find it.

You should be able to find it at a local scientific supply house. $12/lb last time I bought it. My supply house requires that I maintain an account... some minor paperwork is involved, however. Why don't you try the same? #### daniel350 The reason you can't find Red Devil Lye is because some folks use it in illicit drug manufacture. It is a very common chemical to obtain in some parts of the country but most major chains no longer carry it. It is especially suspicious that one would seek to manufacture a common compound like this at home or to request how to find it You should be able to find it at a local scientific supply house.$12/lb last time I bought it. My supply house requires that I maintain an account... some minor paperwork is involved, however. Why don't you try the same?
Any hardware store and most supermarkets will stock NaOH as 'Caustic Soda', 'Draino' etc. A quick Wikipedia search returns this:
Wikipedia(not in format) said:
Sodium Hydroxide, NaOH, Lye

Found At: Grocery Store
As: Drano, crystalline granular drain cleaner
Noted as 99.8% is what is mentioned on the side on most Australian brands, unless you get it in solution. Just note NaOH will naturally decompose with Air to NaHCO3 or Na2CO3 so ensure a air tight container (where possible)

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#### Borek

Mentor
Just note NaOH will naturally decompose with Air to NaHCO3 or Na2CO3
I wouldn't call it decomposition.

#### Proton Soup

Any hardware store and most supermarkets will stock NaOH as 'Caustic Soda', 'Draino' etc. A quick Wikipedia search returns this:
i think here in the US, draino is likely to have other chemicals mixed in, like chlorine bleach.

the world kinda sucks now. used to, you could buy the red devil lye at the grocery for about a $1, and after jawboning with the chem supply guy for a minute so that he felt like i knew what i was doing, walk out cash and carry with CaCl2 and SrCl2 for my reef tank. or maybe he just liked to talk. seemed the cautious type, tho. #### Borek Mentor the world kinda sucks now I am going to print it and hang it on the wall. #### yyttr2 You should be able to find it at a local scientific supply house.$12/lb last time I bought it. My supply house requires that I maintain an account... some minor paperwork is involved, however. Why don't you try the same?
I have the ill-fate of living in a small town were nobody cares about science.
No sientific supply house here...

Just note NaOH will naturally decompose with Air to NaHCO3 or Na2CO3
Decompose?... I would think of it more as a synthesis reaction.

I don't get drano because:
in the US, draino is likely to have other chemicals mixed in, like chlorine bleach.

My stores don't hate caustic soda...so know im very sad :(

#### cragar

i got some at ace hardware.

#### anarchospider

Is it possible to make NaOH at home? One possibility that comes to mind is via electrolysis of solution of NaCl(table salt-easily obtainable) but it involves some complications.

Chlorine gas will form at anode, which is poisonous. How to collect it or make it harmless?

Also hydrogen will form at cathode, which is explosive gas as far as I know. So how to collect the two gases, what equipment would be needed etc?

The Na and OH ions in the solution will join to create NaOH.

so do you think this process is realistic? has anybody tried something similar? what other possibilities of making NaOH are there? (I know where to buy it from, but I'm interested in making it myself, because I want to make soap)

#### Borek

Mentor
Is it possible to make NaOH at home?
You may safely assume it is impossible.

Well, Michio Kaku built his own particle accelerator in the garage, so word "impossible" is perhaps a little bit too strong. But it is definitely one of these things that seem much easier than they are.

#### anarchospider

As I don't have an access to a laboratory I'd need some help with electrolysing salt solution.

First, what electricity source should be used? Is a battery sufficient and how many V should it be?

What materials should the anode and cathode be made of?

As poisonous chlorine gas forms at anode, how to collect it safely? Is it heavier or lighter than air?

And same question about hydrogen. What risks are involved with it(explosion, etc?). What precautions should be taken?

And what else should be taken into account?

I need NaOH to make soap. I know its possible to buy NaOH but it would be more interesting to make it myself.

#### cragar

k you can use a batery charger it put outs more current than a 12v battery
and you electrodes should be made of carbon of stainless steel like a stainless steel
fork or get 9v battery and and take it apart and get the carbon rods out of it to use for your electrodes and clean them off with sand paper. and for your electrolyisis bath
get a bowl of water and then fill 2 , 2 liter coke bottles and then with ur hand covering the end so no water goes out invert them and set them in ur bath and the put the electrodes inside each of the coke bottles so it will collect any gas givien off.

#### Wellesley

You may safely assume it is impossible.

Well, Michio Kaku built his own particle accelerator in the garage, so word "impossible" is perhaps a little bit too strong. But it is definitely one of these things that seem much easier than they are.
:rofl: A 2.3-million-electron-volt particle accelerator in his parent's garage. Good analogy.

#### cragar

i will say yes it will be much more fun to make in your garage but it will be hard
to produce a good quantity , i used to electrolozye water to get hydrogen gas and then put it in a balloon and lite it with a candle taped on the end of stick. good times

#### chemisttree

Homework Helper
Gold Member
You may safely assume it is impossible.
It's actually very possible. And the pure reagent for its manufacture is available at ALL groceries in the US. You will need a bit of apparatus, though. It's not really safe for the casual (citizen) chemist.

YMMV

#### Borek

Mentor
It's not really safe for the casual (citizen) chemist.
And that's why I prefer to direct people to drain cleaner

#### anarchospider

ok, thanks for the replies and cragar for the more detailed explanation

about safety, how safe is the release of hydrogen into a plastic bottle? Can any dangerous reactions(with oxygen?) occur? and what other risks are associated with this process?

#### cragar

just dont strike a match near the hydrogen in the presence of oxygen.
and keep it away from hot things . and make sure ur hands are out of the water when u turn on the charger and use a glass bowl or plastic bowl not metal so the gas doesn't come off the bowl where u cant collect it.

#### lightarrow

Im doing an experiment that calls for NaoH, but i cannont find red devil lye (same thing).

Does anyone know a practicle way to make NaoH or what other names it could go by in stores?
If you can find calcium hydroxide and soda, for example, then you can make NaOH:

$$Ca(OH)_2\ +\ Na_2CO_3\ \rightarrow\ CaCO3\downarrow\ +\ 2NaOH$$

#### Death11284

Hmm perhaps Heating CaCO3 to get CaO + CO2, then doing a double replacement reaction with Na2CO3?
Or better yet Ca(NO3)2 to decomposition, because NO2 is useful in certain experiments.

Electrolysis is honestly probably your best method, I've read about cell dividers that were pretty interesting...You would use very, very fine concrete, like a mortar or grout even, and mix it with large amounts of salt.
Then you could bubble the Cl2 into a neutralizing solution (very easy to setup yourself)
You mix up the concrete as normal and pour it into a mold. A cardboard mold shaped to fit your container would be great. For example you can glue or caulk plastic strips on the inside of a bucket to make a channel, then the concrete plate slides in like a window slides down in a frame. The concrete plate should be thin, maybe 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch thick.

Allow the concrete to dry fully, then submerge the plate in water for... lets say a week or two. The immersion leeches out the salt trapped in the plate giving a very porous structure. This porous plate is an excellent barrier for electrolysis purposes.

I am not too sure on the granularity of the salt. It may need to be either very finely powdered, like dust, or perhaps ground a little finer than table salt. The resulting voids need to be big enough to make connecting channels. If the salt is too fine it will be trapped and isolated in the concrete, and if it is very course the voids will allow ions to just pass right through.
I would use that method, with a 5 gallon bucket. A quarter inch thick would be your best bet. Too thin would not stop the ions from passing through, too thick and you waste too much energy pushing the ions through.

If you put the lid on, put the concrete "filter" inside, then added one of the one-way air exclusion valves brewers use it would be absolutely perfect..I think they may even sell the 5 gallon buckets with the valve already built into the lid.

An idea similar to the reaction above is from the "Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments"
Bases from a Salt
In a custard cup, dissolve 1 teaspoon sal soda (washing soda, sodium carbonate) in 50 mL water. Heat slightly. Add slaked lime mixed with water. Stir. Chemical reaction produces sodium hydroxide and calcium carbonate. Filter. Clear liquid contents contains the sodium hydroxide (lye). The calcium carbonate is held back by the filter.
Then it would be smooth sailing from there...afterward I would perform a titration to find the exact pH of the solution however.

Hope I helped.

#### anarchospider

CaCO3 would have to be heated around 800 degrees(celcius) to get CaO. I doubt it's easy to do at home, you'd probably need some special equipment.

About electrolysis, why is this filter neccessary?

And could you please describe how to set up the neutralizing solution for chlorine?

#### lightarrow

CaCO3 would have to be heated around 800 degrees(celcius) to get CaO. I doubt it's easy to do at home, you'd probably need some special equipment.

About electrolysis, why is this filter neccessary?

And could you please describe how to set up the neutralizing solution for chlorine?
It's not possible for you to find Ca(OH)2 ?

#### anarchospider

It's not possible for you to find Ca(OH)2 ?
I'll have to look around, perhaps in some fertilizer stores.

"How to make NaOh"

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