Making Lye Soaps

This first recipe is the old fashioned lye soap. It is very caustic at the beginning, so pets and children should be kept away. I don't know where you live, but it's better to do the whole operation outside because it is pretty vile smelling. You might want to wait until spring or summer.


Find a box about the size for 12 cans of soda or vegetables. Place it either in the garage or outside on the patio. Put several sections of newspaper under the box since there will be some drainage as the soap sets, then place some newspaper inside the box and line it with wax paper. I always clip this in place with clothespins.

Grammaw's Lye Soap


  • 3 pounds of fat (pure lard or strained drippings)
  • 2 1/2 pints water
  • 1/4 cup borax (in US we have 20 Mule Team Brand)
  • 1 can lye


Mix ingredients in a plastic or glass container. Stir till it reaches consistency of cake batter with a wooden or plastic spoon. The lye will react to metal. Pour in your prepared box and cover with an old heavy towel. Allow to set for 24 hours. Use rubber gloves to cut into bars. Age for 2 weeks before using.


Castille Soap


  • 1 lb. 7 oz. olive oil
  • same amount coconut oil and tallow
  • 2 pints water
  • 1 can lye


Use the same method as Lye Soap to set.

Cold Cream Soap:

Thoroughly mix 2 ounces facial cold cream into one of the above soap recipes just before pouring it to mold. You can also mix 1 ounce each of powdered milk and honey to any soap before pouring it to mold.

Have fun and be careful with the lye. I always tie a bandana around my face like a bank robber in the old cowboy movies, because that is one vile smelling concoction! It is worth the trouble though and is good for the skin. You can wash a baby's bottom and clear up diaper rash with it.

By Marty


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February 7, 2011
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