Sodium hydroxide dilution ratios

I have a gas station to do tonight. I also have 5lb of lye. I searched and can’t find any solid dilution ratios for degreasing purposes. I’m looking for two things.

  1. Can I add lye to my current degreaser to boost it for the really bad areas. If so, how much is recommended

  2. What’s would the stand alone lye dilution ratios be for degreasing gas/dumpster pads.

I was talking to some guy on Facebook about using lye alone to clean dumpster pads. He had some impressive results. If I recall correctly he diluted 1lb to 3 gal of water. Then poured it on the pad with a flower pot.


It would be a great idea to have a sticky on chemical ratios for different applications. I remember racer had a great one for ebc. We just had another interesting one on oxilac acid, and one on muratic. One day someone or myself should go through the posts and pick through the noise for the value.


I add about a pound to a couple of gallons of water to ds, or a pound to 5 gallons to xjet. But that’s for wood. Experiment. Worst that can happen outs you clean it to fast :wink:


I like your methods. I think I can handle that.

For concrete can’t do much harm. Decks you can make them look like the fur from a German Shepard ( I learned the hard way)


I’m not attempting hydroxide and wood just yet. I have about 1000’ of fence at my own home to test it on when I have time. For wood I’m using percarbonate and I still end up with furring. My wood cleaning techniques need some tlc. That’s one of my long term goals.

From what I’m gathering from several sources are ranging from 1-5lb per 5 gallon.

Be careful don’t get on any metal, door or window frames. If applying direct, with a pump up to the really dirty areas, can just augment your regular degreaser with it, depending on what you’re using or would start with a cup(8oz) to a gal. And go from there. Or if a big area needs it, go the xjet route with maybe 12oz per gal. Just depends on how dirty.


@Racer awesome. That’s just what I was looking for.

I added 2lb to 5gal of my normal degreaser so it’s probably hot. The main ingredient in it was potassium hydroxide, so now it has both hydroxides.

On another note, I have a question similar to this on a fb group and a helpful fella replied with this.

“i mix 5lbs hydroxide, with 25 gallon water. And then 5 gallons of purple power unless it’s a big $ customer”

Then another guy kinda made a smart ass commemt(nothing too bad) about giving out recipes or something. Leads me to believe it may be worthwhile. I’ll test it out one day on a smaller scale. I rarely use degreaser. Tonight I’ll apply directly to the really bad areas, and ds the rest. Thanks


I read on another forum that 1 lb Sodium Hydroxide to 1 gal water will equate to an 11% strength solution. 2 lb Sodium Hydroxide to 1 gal water would be 22% and so on. They did state, that the maximum is 5 lb to 1 gal water and be super careful as it will cause damage (this is a 55% strength which was stated as a dangerous mix - it will make your pump up dance around and cause severe skin burns if in contact with skin). . When hydrox and water mix, it will create heat. Too much and it can melt through a thinner walled plastic container.
Most standard household degreasers will use Sodium Hydroxide in them at about 3-5% solution strength. I used to get a High Alkaline Degreaser from Ecolab in the restaurant business that was around 15-20% and was considered by us at the time as bad ass degreaser - spray it on built up food grease and wait 10 minutes and then wipe off. No scrubbing at all.
Notes -

  1. Always add Hydrox to water - never water to Hydrox. Allows solution to fully dissolve and settle before putting lid and sealing container for use.
  2. As Racer stated, be careful with solutions around painted and metal surfaces (be sure to spot test first - I like the q-tip method so only a very small spot will tell me - never on aluminum, galvanized)
  3. Use warm water to mix - almost all chems (especially flake or powder) will dissolve better in warm water
  4. Wear PPE - rubber gloves, eye protection, etc. No one expects a splash or spill but can be life changing (how would your like be if you were blind in one eye?)
  5. Work small to big - start will low dilution rates and get to know the chemical first. Take time to work your way up.
  6. I like to do my chemical mixing in the middle of my back yard. Well ventilated, plenty of room around and no one else around, just in case. In fact I put a tarp down with 4x4 under the edges to create something of a containment area - again just in case.
  7. When working with Hydroxides (Sodium or Potassium), keep a gal of plain white vinegar around. It instantly neutralizes the chemical. If you do splash a highly concentrated solution on your skin, you will want it ASAP.
  8. Sodium Hydroxide is better suited for petroleum based oil such as vehicle lubricants, gas, tire marks, etc. Potassium Hydroxide is better suited or organic oils such as fryer grease, cooking oils, etc. I use Sodium as my general degreaser in most applications EXCEPT restaurants where I use Potassium exclusively for all areas including sidewalks, front/back door pads, dumpster area, etc since in the restaurant environment it is all food based grease/oil that is being tracked out on these surfaces. .
  9. If I have a particularly bad build-up spot, I like cover with appropriate powder or flake, spray enough EBC on top and mix with a scrub brush to create a slurry like paste. Let dwell for 10, 20, 30 minutes spraying as often as needed to keep from drying (usually upon arrival, I first do a walk-around and identify any of these spots, do the treatment at the beginning and then work on other parts going back to tough spots after the dwell).
  10. Run-Off - be mindful of your run-off. Hydroxides and asphalt, vegetation, storm sewer drains do not mix. A strong hydroxide rinsed off onto asphalt will eat away at the asphalt binder creating holes. It will kill vegetation. And lastly, you do not want to rinse off into storm drains. I will use simple water filled plastic tubes (can buy in 11 mi thick 8 inch diameter continuous rolls - tie a knot on one end, unroll the length you need, fill with garden hose water and tie a knot in the other end. Boom, a cheap disposable water containment berm). Then use a water transfer pump connected to my generator on trailer to divert water to a safe place - with restaurants often this is upstream of their grease trap system into a drain clean out. If not then to a safe place. I personally do not capture water into tank and take off-site - just too much work and most will not pay what it cost for me to do that - if I do not have a safe place for run-off, I just don’t use those chems and tell them that is the best it will be. On this note - where I am at, it is common that on the property it a concrete “pool” like area. All the “storm” drains do not drain to a municipal gray water system but to this “pool” area where natural dehydration occurs. I suppose at some point, they get it cleaned out (would seem to take 20 years to build up enough at bottom to require a clean out) but what is important is that I can drain into the “sewer drain” on site without worries since is does not go to any natural water (river, stream, lake, etc) or to city water system. Be sure to check that out - some are not concrete but same basic concept in that all property drains let out to a drainage pond of sorts which keeps you in compliance with CWA.

That’s an awesome reply. How long have you been doing this type of work?

Definitely bookmarked this one. Super helpful. I appreciate that

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This is an old thread but I just want to confirm this is for unfinished wood. Such as this fence. I’m looking to experiment this weekend. (On my fence) 1lb to 5gal applied w/ xjet. No porportioner


Yes indeed

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Great info. Thank you

I didn’t see this thread first time around…I have a ONE comment (which actually means it was a great post)

Hydroxides are NOT degreasers. They do help in lifting a stain, mostly because they burn right through it, but to truly degrease you need a glycol ether and or surfactant. Just slapping some caustic on a stain isn’t
usually enough unless hot water was going to get it up anyway.

I do agree the KOH is much better on animal based stains.


Don’t really need on that fence. Don’t see anything to strip. Sodium percarbonate or sh will work fine.

I’m with Racer - I would use sodium precarbonate or SH. I had a 15 year old fence I played around with that was in way worse condition with heavy mold/algae and rotting. I found precarb worked great except for the mold/algae where I would hit it with SH.
On this note, I have found that anything with sodium in it seems to encourage furring more than just plain water. Hydroxide seems to fur the worst with SH with a gradual increase in furring as the strength went up.

On wood, I think Hydroxide is only used when you have a stain or sealer to contend with.


I did in way reference one thing I do which is to make a slurry of hydrox and EBC so it would not just be hydrox.

Normally what I do, is make concentrated hydrox and add to an existing degreaser to ramp up the caustic to eat through heavy grease. This way I get the benefits of the chems in the regular degreaser but added strength from the increased hydrox. Hope this makes sense.

I generally do this only on my restaurants and drive-thru accounts where I am dealing with heavy oils,fats, grease or motor fluids and looking to aid hot water any way I can to clean quicker and better.

It seems to work better and does not cost much. Is their a better way?

Another question - when I put highly concentrated hydrox on say a restaurant grease pit (this is where the dumpster is as well as a big tank to dump in used cooking oil and grill grease that seems to end up all over the place), it turns it to a liquidy whiteish slurry that with hot water I can just rinse away. Not a chance that would happen with just hot water as I have tried. I guess the question is, hydrox is doing something for sure, what it is? My research and I could be wrong, I don’t claim to be a chemist, nor am I a rocket scientist, but I thought hydroxides converted fats into liquids through soapification (sp?).


Would the mix @Harold mentioned (1lb to 5 Gallon via x-jet/ no proportioner) work on this tinted water sealer? Customer attempted with box store stripper without much luck. Been searching quite a bit lately and I really don’t want to start with too hot of a mix and cause it fur up.

I don’t put bleach on pressure treated wood. Look up bleach and copper.

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@Max1 Osborn brushes remove furring rather quickly. Or a floor sander of course