Alisiva, otherwise known as ash water or lye, is a mixture made by boiling ash from burnt wood that has been boiled in water. The traditional lye solution is used to clean, polish, whiten and disinfect clothing, glass, varnished wood, silverware, dishes, rust and yellow stains on marble and tiles, and so on. The solution is stored in bottles for future use. In olden days, it was not only used for bleaching clothes but also instead of soap for bathing.
Nowadays it is used in the kitchen for cooking sweets and food. As in earlier times, it is used to make kourabie, moustalevria, melomakarona and bread. It imparts food a wonderful taste. The reason housewives of old added lye to their recipes was because, as a cooking and pastry-making ingredient, ash water has the ability to make the dough crunchier and gratable. Modern recipes use soda or baking powder in its place.