How to Treat a Lye Burn

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Lye is a chemical compound found in many household products. It is a highly reactive substance when mixed with other chemicals or materials and an alkaline chemical that can dissolve fats. Lye burns are considered chemical burns and need to be treated immediately and diligently. If the burn is blistering or is extremely large, seek medical attention immediately.

Treating Lye burns to the Skin

Remove all contact with the substance containing lye. This may means removing clothing, jewelry and other accessories contaminated with lye.

Rinse the skin under cool water for at least 15 minutes to flush the lye away from the burn location.

Look for signs of shock--fainting, pale skin or panting. If shock is detected, wrap a blanket around the person, elevate their feet to promote blood flow to the heart and vital organs and seek medical help immediately.

Place a cool compress on the burn.

Apply a sterile bandage over the burn. Provide enough room and cushioning to preventing any excess pain or injury from bumps and scrapes.

Seek medical attention immediately if the burn is serious or covers a large area of the body.

Treating Lye Burns to the Eye

Hold the eye(s) under cool running water for at least 15 minutes.

Close the eye(s).

Wrap a bandage around the closed eye.

Go to a doctor to determine any further action if necessary.


If you suspect the person is going into shock, it is imperative to get them medical attention immediately. The symptoms of shock are breathing difficulty, fainting, blue lips, sweating and confusion. Do your best to keep their temperature constant with blankets. Remove tight clothing and do not give any food or drink because they may begin to vomit.

Do not flush the area with anything other than water to prevent a more serious chemical reaction with the lye.