Fat Saving and Soap Making

How to Cook
The housekeeper who endeavors to waste no food may find that she has saved some fat which is not suitable for food. Such fat can be utilized in soap-making. By using "modern lye" soap-making is not the laborious task as was the preparation of soft soap in colonial days.

The fat for soap-making need not necessarily be decolorized. It should, however, be tried out (if it is meat fat) and clarified before using in the preparation of soap.

Soap made at home differs somewhat from that made at a factory. When fat and lye are combined chemically, soap and glycerin are formed. A commercial soap-maker extracts the glycerin from soap, the housekeeper does not.

Homemade soap, however, usually proves very satisfactory. When the time consumed in making it is not needed for other duties or obligations, it is a saving to make soap at home.


1 can Babbit's lye
1 quart cold water
6 pounds clarified fat
2 tablespoonfuls ammonia

Turn the lye into a granite kettle, slowly add the cold water, stirring with a stick or a wooden spoon. Work most carefully to avoid getting the lye or the lye solution on the hands. When the water is added to the lye, the mixture becomes very hot. Let it stand until it is cool.

Put the fat into a large kettle or dish pan. Heat it until it melts. Then remove it from the fire. Let it cool sufficiently to bear the hands in it. Slowly add the lye solution, stirring constantly. Add the ammonia and continue stirring until the mixture becomes about the consistency of thick cream. Then turn the soap into a wooden box lined with paper or into a granite dripping pan. When the soap becomes firm, cut into pieces of suitable size.

The materials above will make about 8 1/2 pounds of soap.

If desired one small cake of soap may be prepared.
The following recipe may be used:

1 teaspoonful lye
4 teaspoonfuls cold water
2 tablespoonfuls fat
1/8 teaspoonful ammonia

Proceed as directed for the large quantity. Pour the mixture into one cup of a granite muffin pan or into a small pasteboard box.

How To Cook
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  Cooking Notes 2006