Lye Soap and Freedom

The crisis we face is clearly related to a loss of trust – trust in ourselves, in freedom, in our own government and in our money. We are a litigious welfare society gone mad. Everyone feels compelled to grab whatever he can get from government or by suit. The “something for nothing” obsession rules our every movement, and is in conflict with the other side of man’s nature – that side that values self-esteem and pride of one’s personal achievement. Today the pride of self-reliance and personal achievement is buried by the ego-destroying policies of the planned interventions of big government and replaced by the “satisfaction” of manipulating the political system to one’s own special advantage…This problem cannot continue indefinitely. Something has to give – we must choose either freedom and prosperity or tyranny and poverty. – Quote by Ron Paul in an address to the House. September 19, 1984.

I for one, am inclined to go further than Ron Paul has in the above quote. It’s not freedom itself that delivers a prosperous nation, but rather it is God almighty who works through the free actions of His people. In fact, I could argue that all the free market ideals which have made this nation so great, can be directly, or indirectly deduced from old testament civil law!

Consider the following argument by Christian philosopher Greg Bahnsen:

For instance, Jesus said “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all these things (daily provisions of life) shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). Paul taught that “Godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (I Tim. 4:8). The Old Testament prophet Malachi exhorted God’s people that if they would obey Him (here, by bringing in their tithes), God would open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing for which there would not be enough room to take in (Mal. 3:10). Even earlier, the great leader of the Israelites, Moses, had written that obedience to the Lord would result in blessings on the society’s children, crops, rain, herds, cities, and fields; it would bring peace to the people from without and prosperous economy and health from within (Deut. 7:1215; 11:13-15; 28: 1-14; 30: 15, 19; Lev. 26: 3-12). in ethical decision-making, then, we should properly consider the end, aim, or consequences of our behavior.

It is not a loss of trust in freedom, or abstract political / economic ideals that has lead America to her own “road to serfdom” but rather, her loss of trust in the sovereign creator. Ron Paul is exactly right when he says that this problem cannot continue indefinitely. We MUST choose either freedom and prosperity, (relying on the providence and law of God) or we will have one of the most horrible tyrannies in the history of mankind.

In a spirit of true self reliance, I decided (in light of recent developments concerning government invasion into our privacy,) to begin living an “off the grid” lifestyle!

I first, began washing all of my clothes by hand, you know…the old fashioned way. In fact, a buddy of mine contributed a traditional washboard to the effort, and my parents, (as an interesting gift) scrounged up a wringer from somewhere. (One of the old fashioned kinds with two rollers and a crank to squeeze dry your clothes!)

The benefits of washing my clothes this way are worth every bit of the extra time and effort. For one, clothes that have dried naturally have a great texture to them, as well as a great “fresh” smell! Also, (living in a city) I save a ton on laundry expenses. No more quarter laundry machines for me!

This was just the first step though. I decided next to try creating my own soap. I wasn’t satisfied with my old toxin laden commercially manufactured garbage. After talking with my grandparents, (who still have knowledge of the “old ways”) I decided to pay them a visit, and learn my grandma’s special soap making recipe! What follows is an account of how to make lye soap, along with the recipe. I’ll also add in a few creative idea’s that I’m going to try, and if you guys would like to make some, and have questions about how to do it, just email me, I’ll be glad to give you some pointers!

1 pt (1 ½ lbs) of grease

1 cup cold water

3/8 cup lye (3 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons of Borax

2 tablespoons of ammonia

You’ll need a wooden spoon, a few different measuring cups, and a glass dish.

As I write this, I’m planning on burning up some of my hardwood and making some homemade lye that way. I haven’t tried this yet, so I’m not going to post any link or anything that describes how to do it, (at least until I’ve been able to successfully do it myself!) So, for a good source of lye, you’ll have to order it, or if you’re really lucky, find an old mom and pop store that may still have some for sell. (They recently discontinued the sale of “Red Devil Lye” commonly used for clearing clogged drains!)

The way this works is, the lye, hit’s the grease, and begins a chemical reaction, known to us sophisticated soap makers as, “saponification.” The borax in the recipe acts as a stopping agent to the lye.

Take the lye, and add it to the water. It will get very hot, very fast! Be careful! One splash of lye into an unfortunate eyeball makes for one unhappy freedom loving soap maker!

Make sure all of your grease is melted. The TYPE of grease isn’t really important. My grandma always saves her grease, so she had plenty of bacon / hamburger / whatever other meat she cooked on hand, type grease. I personally, only eat organic meat with no added toxins, but even still, I don’t like the idea of washing my body with animal remains. So if you’re squeamish and also health conscious, you can use coconut oil, organic olive oil, or some combination there of!

Make sure all your grease is melted, and at a good temperature of around 98 degrees. Mix this with your lye water, when your lye water gets to around the same 98 degree temperature.

The saponification process will take about two weeks to fully work itself out, so if you’re impatient, and really need your soap quicker, then you can use the borax and ammonia, to act as stopping agents for the lye. If you add them to the mixture, then your soap will only have to sit for a few days before you can use it, (I’d at least give it a week.)

I’m not sure about this, but I believe that the soap that was made using the stopping agents, won’t last as long, or lather up as well as the soap of the patient guy, who would wait for a few weeks before he used his soap, (giving the lye full time to work.) Also, I would advise against bathing your body with soap containing these harsh chemicals like borax and ammonia. “What about the lye Shotgun?” Well, the lye will eventually burn itself out and all that is left in its place is the clean, healthy soap. But really, it’s up to you.

If you DO decide to add the borax and ammonia, make sure you add them to the grease, and mix it in. Do NOT add it to the lye water, since the soap wont turn white like it supposed to. I’m not sure why, but, I made my first batch of soap this way, (adding the borax to the lye instead of the grease) and it didn’t turn out right.

Once you have mixed the lye/water with the grease, then stir them together really good, and pour the mixture into a glass dish, and let it sit. It will get hard in about two hours, and you can cut it into bars. Once you have the bars, remember, don’t handle them or wash with them for at least two weeks, (or one, if you’ve used the borax and ammonia.)

If only securing our freedom was as easy as soap making!!!!

For some extra fun, try splitting your final mixture in half. Pour one half into the glass dish, and color the other half. Drizzle the colored half into the dish, and swirl it around with a wooden spoon. The result with be a cool, “marbleized” effect, similar to what you see in some commercially made soaps.

I personally LOVE anything mint! I’m going to drop some peppermint oil into the mixture (for the smell) and try for some green “marbleizing.” Also, something neat that I’m going to try, is after the soap has sat for the two weeks, I’m going to buy some glycerin soap from the store. This is just clear, pure glycerin for the most part. Melt it down, and drizzle a thin layer over the soap that I’ve already made, and before it hardens, I’m going to sprinkle some peppermint leaves in it. The result, (so I hope) will be an awesome and healthy bar of peppermint soap!

God bless, and let me know if you have any questions, or need any help making your own soap!

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2 Responses to Lye Soap and Freedom

  1. Virginia says:

    Nice article but I would never make soap using borax and amonia. better to wait 6 weeks and have the best soap experiance of your life. If you do make soap with potash (commonly called lye but from wood) you will need to add salt before pouring inton your molds as potash soap does not naturally solidify for solid bars.

  2. shotgunwildatheart says:

    I’ve actually come to really appreciate borax lately in my soap experiments. It’s found in nature, and indians used to use it to help clean their laundry.

    It really helps cure the batch a lot faster, and adds to the longevity.

    Thanks for the comments though. I havn’t had a chance to try making potash yet. I guess that’s one of the drawbacks to living in a big city…no property to “play” on.


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