Letter Re: How to Make Old Fashioned Homemade Soap

Mr Rawles,

I’m looking forward to trying Grandpappy’s wood ash soap making technique. I’ve tried it before, but unfortunately only was only successful once. I might add, although unavailable as Red Devil brand in the grocery stores, lye is easily available from online soap making and chemical supplies. [JWR Adds: It is also available via mail order from Lehman’s–one of our Affiliate advertisers.] Another source, if you live in oilfield country, is to find a friend who works on a[n oil] rig. They get it in 50 pound bags and it’s pure and fine for soap making, hominy making or other uses. It comes well packaged in double plastic lined bags and stores well loose in a 5 gallon bucket (the kind with a [rubber] lid seal) lined with a plastic bag. It’s quite hygroscopic, so you need to be careful in humid weather that the bag is tied and the lid is sealed. – Judy B