December 01, 2007

Homemade Soap with Lard and Lye (vintage)

Last week my beloved Grandmother passed away. As the family went through her belongings we had many moments of laughter and tears, smiles and stories. One of the items found was a complete (and happy) surprise. A small bag of her homemade soap was found. What a blessing as the family thought all the homemade soap she had made when she still lived "out on the farm" was long used up years ago.

Her white bars of homemade soap are instilled in all our memories, as her adult children grew up using nothing but, and even her grandchildren and great grandchildren grew up with those white squares of soap in our baths at her home.


5 pounds lard
1 can lye
3 pints water
½ cup vinegar
½ cup borax
½ cup ammonia
½ cup Clorox (optional)

Melt lard and let set till lukewarm. Add lye to water, stirring to dissolve lye. (Caution: protect hands while mixing lye and be careful not to breathe lye dust while pouring into water). Water will get hot when mixed with lye. Allow water to cool. Mix vinegar, borax, ammonia, and Clorox into lard. Then pour lye into lard, stirring to mix well while adding. Stir until thick. This homemade soap should float.

(This is an old vintage, well used recipe from an old, old cookbook - attribution: Mrs. Arno Fascher, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Back then a can of lye was 12 ounces.) 

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