Soap making relies on the ingredient of lye for saponification, a chemical reaction created when combining oils with a strong alkali. The result is soap and glycerin. Red Devil Lye has become a staple in the soap making process because of the easy availability in the public market. Lye is found in many household detergents in diluted form. Roebic Crystal Drain Opener markets only to retailers that present commercial use products to buyers with the sole purpose of cleaning drains.
Red Devil Lye and Roebic Crystal Drain Opener have the same ingredients of 100 percent pure sodium hydroxide. Red Devil Lye is manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser and Roebic Crystal Drain Opener is made by Roebic Laboratories. Sodium hydroxide is also referred to as lye or caustic soda and has several uses other than drain cleaner. Different packaging and marketing techniques make a huge difference in how identical items can have an impact on consumers.
Marked with no specific use, Red Devil Lye was active on the market for over 100 years until 2005 when the Food and Drug Administration ordered Reckitt Benckiser to remove from grocery shelves. Considered caustic and dangerous to the general public, Red Devil Lye is no longer readily available. Roebic Crystal Drain Opener was saved from this ruling due to specific commercial labeling.
Sodium hydroxide can still be found on the Internet through suppliers that carry chemicals for specific maintenance purposes. While Red Devil Lye has been removed from the website of Reckitt Benckiser, Roebic Laboratories still offers the same lye through Roebic Crystal Drain Opener on their site.