Why do we make soap with Lye?
Our great great grandmothers made soap without having to use a caustic chemical, so why do we?
The short answer is that our grandmothers manufactured their own caustic chemical of sorts, called potash, by combining hardwood ashes and water.
This created an extremely strong alkaline substance that was considered ready when it would dissolve a chicken feather. The caustic wood ash solution was then mixed with fat rendered from butchered animals and boiled over an outdoor fire for many hours until a soft soap was formed.
While this method resulted in a truly natural soap, it was also difficult to control the quality of the final product.
These days, we have standardized substitutes to replace that wood ash solution:
Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) – also called caustic soda or lye; creates solid bars of soap
Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) – is used to make liquid soaps
Using these types of lye and precise measurements, we’re able to consistently produce batch after batch of gentle soap.
How long does a bar of soap last?
Bar soap can last between one week to six depending on how it is used. I use mine on a daily basis and keep it up off the sink on a soap dish that drains well. This will keep your soap dry between uses and it won't melt away if it was dipping it's feet in water.