Cleaning Iron In A Lye Bath
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Many people get nervous when thinking about creating a lye bath for cleaning cast iron. There really isn’t anything to it, just have to take a few precautions.
Chemically, Lye or Sodium Hydroxide is a strong base that will attack organic materials like skin. It also has some bad effects on aluminum – don’t clean aluminum anything in lye. Pure lye can usually be found in Home Hardware stores across Canada.
The typical recipe is one pound of lye crystals to 5 gallons of water. Feel free to make it stronger at one pound to 4 gallons – that is typically what I do.
Pick a container to suit your needs. Some people use a 5 gallon bucket, I use 2 totes (20+gallons) – one inside the other for extra stability.
WARNINGS – Do NOT add water to lye, add your lye to water. If you have children or animals around, make sure they cannot come in contact with your lye bath. Use a sealed container. Wear rubber gloves, they can be had cheap at any dollar store – and you should wear safety glasses. It’s amazing how one drop can find your eye.
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