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Sodium hydroxide is used in many industries: in the manufacture of pulp and paper, textiles, drinking water, soaps and detergents, and as a drain cleaner. In the petroleum industry, sodium hydroxide is used as an additive in drilling mud to increase alkalinity in bentonite mud systems, to increase the mud viscosity, and to neutralize any acid gas. Sodium hydroxide is used with hydrochloric acid to balance pH.
Lye is used for soap making, candle making, homemade biodiesel, frosting glass, making several foods, and for chemistry experiments.