How to Neutralize Red Devil Lye

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Things You'll Need

  • Citrus

  • Vinegar

  • Baking soda


Lye is alkaline, and vinegar is an acid, so it creates a balance. In a pinch, other acids such as lemon juice can be used while you seek medical attention.

Red Devil Lye is often found around the home because it is used as a drain cleaner. When used properly, it can eat through tough blockages such as hair in minutes and leave your drain clear without having to call a plumber. Soap makers also use lye in the production of soap. Lye is also known as sodium hydroxide, and when it comes in contact with the skin, it can cause severe chemical burns.

Step 1

Avoid water with powdered lye. When you get something on your skin, your first instinct is to wash it off. With powdered lye, this will cause more burns. Instead, douse the area with vinegar immediately to neutralize the lye.

Step 2

Douse liquid lye in water and then in vinegar. If you've spilled a liquid lye mixture on your skin, wash the are with plain or saline water. With both liquid or powder lye, you should treat the infected areas with vinegar as soon as possible to neutralize the lye. Depending on the strength of the lye, the water will dilute it, and then the vinegar can stop or slow the burning process.

Step 3

Add baking soda. A paste with baking soda and water applied to the area can soothe the burn and help further neutralize it.

Step 4

Contact a health professional. Especially if the burn is severe, seek medical help right away.


Robin Noelle

Robin Noelle is a professional writer living and working in Northern California. She has a degree in Journalism and a background in high tech public relations. She is the author of travel guides and end-user computer books.