Homegrown Suds

Making laundry soap and bleach from scratch

| April 2006

Homemade soap. During winter, ham, pork, bacon and other meats which yield a great deal of fat are used more freely than in warm weather. The careful housewife should not throw away or waste a scrap of the fat, which should be strained and put into a covered can. When 3 or 4 pounds have accumulated, make it up into soap. Put the fat into a kettle with a little water and set on the stove or in the oven. Any impurities will sink to the kettle bottom and the fat will rise to the surface. After cooling, remove the fat in a single cake and weigh carefully. Put this clarified fat into a pail or kettle and set it where it will melt. Into a good-sized crock or can on the stove put a can of lye for every 5 pounds of fat. Add 5 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of borax to the lye and stir constantly until the mixture starts boiling. When the lye water cools, slowly stir in the fat. When the mixture begins to thicken, pour it into pans or pasteboard box covers and mark off into squares before it hardens.

This home-made soap will make rich white suds; there need be no fear of using it for washing laces, blankets, or the daintiest of lingerie.

Homemade Javelle water (bleach). Put 1 pound of washing soda in a granite pan, add 1 quart boiling water and stir until soda is dissolved; let cool. Dissolve 1/2 pound chloride of lime in 2 quarts cold water, let settle and pour the clean water into soda mixture. Let settle, and then bottle the clear liquid and store in a dark place. To use, mix with equal parts of water. Don't let garment stay in more than 30 minutes. Rinse well in several waters and lastly in diluted ammonia water.

Source:Farm Economy, a Cyclopedia of Agriculture for the Practical Farmer and His Family.


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