Saturday, March 10, 2007



l can lye
4 lbs. of beef tallow
3 gallons of clean water
50 gallon heavy metal barrel

Be accurate in measurements.
Put three rocks under the barrel so it is off the ground about 12 inches.
Build a fire under the barrel.
Put all of the tallow and all of the lye and one bucket of water in the barrel.
Cook very throughly so all of the tallow dissolves.
Soap may look curdled or have liquid fat on top.
Cook as least two to three hours. It is very important that all of the tallow be dissolved!
Add a gallon or two of water about every half hour to an hour.
Be sure to stir at least every half hour.
Cook at a high rolling boil for the next four or so hours.
You must have a fairly high boil or the soap will not get done.
As the soap cooks, the grease or foam will disappear.

Soap thickens as it cooks down. A white film forms over the soap as it thickens and the soap sticks to the side of the barrel. The hot soap turns to the color of honey candy when it is done. Be careful at this stage because the soap will burn if not stirred frequently.
Be sure to stir the bottom of the barrel with the broom stick.
The fire does not need to be as hot now. The soap will fall in strings and droplets from
the stirring stick when the stick is lifted out of the soap.

When the soap is done, pour the soap into # 3 tin tubs or other large containers. There will be about three and a half tubs full of soap in a ten-can batch.
I have my husband get old gloves on to tip the barrel over. Pour the soap into the tubs and leave the soap in the tubs until the soap sets up. This will generally take one day or it may take
two days.

When the soap is set, dump the soap onto a clean flat surface and cut into large bars about six inches by six inches. Leave the pieces of soap out until it dries completely. This may take two to three weeks. Do not let the soap get wet. The soap shrinks and a white dust forms on the dried soap. The soap is deformed and ugly looking. It is now ready to store in a dry place for future use.

I put one bar in a mesh laundry bag and drop the bag in the washer. I leave the soap in the washer as the washer agitates, until I have the amount of suds I want. This soap really cleans. It is good to use as a pre wash on spots. It is also very effective to use to wash dirty walls.
Some women washed their hair in this soap because the soap got the hair so clean and shiny.
Do not use as a hand or face soap.
The soap is too harsh and stringent for cleaning your skin.


charmcau said...

I just read your blog
How much does a can of lye holds. In short how many ounces?
Thank you for you help.
My email is

charmcau said...

I just read your blog on homemade cooked soap.
How much does a can of lye holds. How many ounces?
Thanks for your help