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Lye is a term meaning a strongly alkaline solution. It originally meant a solution of potassium carbonate (potash) prepared by leaching wood ashes with water, but now the name also means a solution of sodium or potassium. You can find it in the household cleaning section in supermarkets. Lye should be used with caution, as it is caustic and poisonous. Wear rubber gloves and use lemon juice or vinegar to neutralize lye burns. Always read the label. Do not use plastic containers or utensils.