1850 Soap Making. By: NICHOLAS #4. Soap Facts.
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By: NICHOLAS #4
Soap could be sold at a general store. Pioneers still made their own soap to save money. Lye soap is made of two ingredients- lye and lard. The lye came from hardwood ashes and lard came from pigs. Both of these items were available on every farm.
Lye is a chemical that can burn the skin. It is one of the ingredients in soap. The pioneers used hoppers for lye. A hopper is a wooden barrel with a plug on the side. Ashes were placed in the hopper and water was allowed to drip through it for lye. They pulled the plug from the hopper and lye was collected.
Lye is the ingredient in soap that cleans clothing, but lard is needed to help dissolve greases and balance the causticity of the lye. Pioneers melted lard and then combined it with lye to make soap.
They stirred the mixture for hours until it began to harden. When the stir stick could stand straight up in the soap, it was ready to be poured into a box where it hardened completely.
The soap had to sit for two weeks to a month before it could be cut into bars and used for bathing, laundry, and dishes.
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