We will be clean when the Revolution comes

Holy cow, I made soap.

This story starts more than a year ago. See, when we moved in here I found a bottle of lye under the kitchen sink (along with a truckload of other random scary chemicals) and it was one of the very few things that evaded the HazMat roundup. My thought was to save it for soapmaking. After a generous friend showed me how to make it in her kitchen, I knew I would surely end up making it some day… but I wasn’t in any hurry until I read this Crock Pot Castile recipe and realized how easy it could really be.

Inspired by the same generous soapmaking friend (who eats a lot of bacon), I started saving up and purifying chicken fat leftover from cooking. Since we really don’t eat that much meat, it took a long time to amass just 3 ounces. And my laundry detergent is running low right now… so I decided to just go ahead and add in a bunch of olive oil, so that I’d have enough fat to make a respectable batch of soap.

I used the MMS Sage Lye calculator to figure out exact weights and volumes: 1 oz castor oil (conditioning), 20 oz olive oil, 3.1 oz chicken fat, 8 fl.oz peppermint tea, 3.1 oz lye. I was just going to call it Homesteader’s Basic (because of saving up chicken fat and using my own peppermint and all), but titled the recipe Italian Homesteader’s instead, in honor of all that olive oil. I should have used basil instead of peppermint, too. -laugh-

The white slabs in the measuring cup are chicken fat; it was a beautiful pure white once it was purified. But once the lye was diluted in strong peppermint tea and added in…

It became what Josh termed “chicken fat yellow.”

I used my immersion (stick) blender for about 7-9 minutes (olive oil takes much longer than other fats) till it came to “trace”:

Which made it look even grosser.

Cooking it on low for an hour didn’t help, either.

But at least I put my retired colonial brick mold to some good use as a soap mold.

My 20-some ounces of soap only filled one side of the mold. That’s fine, we’ll see if it works before making a huge batch.

Before filling it, I mixed in peppermint essential oil and then I crumbled dried peppermint on top. It was the consistency of a warm jello jiggler.

I let it sit overnight. In the morning it was as firm as a cold stick of butter.

So I sliced it up into bath-sized bars and set them down in the dark basement to cure and harden for at least 2 weeks.

I don’t think I added enough fragrance, because they just smell pleasantly of “soap” rather than peppermint. Oh well.

It works though – we washed our hands with some flakes scraped up from the inside of the crock pot and it lathered up beautifully! So at least I know that even if some people turn up their noses at my chicken soap, it will make a fine laundry detergent ingredient.

And with 9 bars, I will have plenty of time to save up more chicken fat before I need to make the next batch.

7 Responses to “We will be clean when the Revolution comes”

  1. Heidi Says:

    I don’t know if the local butchers dump their chicken fat. If they do separate the stuff they cut off, you might find someone to save you some. i know others have had restaurants save their used cooking fat to make into car fuel, so maybe you might find a source too.
    I’d be really careful about storing that lye though–lock it up.
    I have to say that you are constantly amazing me–going where I would never go. I am learning more from you than you learned from me…

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I wish I would have know, the last HUGE batch of broth I made was sooooooo fatty. I’ll keep you in mind, since we do eat quite a bit of meat.

  3. diana Says:

    Well cool! I only need about 24 ounces of fat for a batch of 9 bars, which should keep us in soap for a while. But hey! nothing wrong with making a larger batch and spreading the love! :)

  4. Erin Says:

    Well we both have gobs and gobs of mint or I would offer you that too;)

  5. Heidi Says:

    I like your friends, kid.
    Wish we lived closer…I have a jar of poured-off bacon fat ready for the garbage man.

  6. diana Says:

    No! Send it to me! I’m serious! 😀

  7. Heidi Says:

    no way– (wish I could though) imagine if it leaked mid transit–or broke–can you imagine the smell?

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