Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Homemade Soap Problems

It is a sad fact of life that those of us who make homemade soaps for our families are finding it more and more difficult to buy the 100% sodium hydroxide (lye) for our soaps. Here in Oklahoma, you cannot buy it in any of the stores in my area. To purchase the lye, we would have to go to online resources such as the soap making suppliers. This is also a problem. I am wanting to make a good old-fashioned soap with no frangrances or colorings. Many of the retail online businesses that sell soap making supplies will only sell the lye to you if you are also buying the frangrances, colorants, or other supplies when you purchase the lye. I have no use for these things.

I remember that in the old days, the lye was homemade. The early colonists and even the pioneers later on didn't have access to the commercially available lye for their soap making. Instead, they had to make their own from wood ash. If it was possible back in those days to do it, why would I not be able to recreate the homemade version? We heat our home with wood stoves, including our cookstove. I have a readily available amount of wood ash to work with.

I am going to give it a try. I am going to save the ash and try making my soaps from the homemade lye. The homemade potash lye is a potassium hydroxide, which makes a soft brownish colored soap. The soap looks more like a gel consistency unlike the hard bars of soap you get from the sodium hydroxide. After I make a batch of the soap, I will post a blog giving the results.