The last few years have been a medical nightmare for our family. Heart problems and bowel problems. Each of them led us on ways to help take care of these conditions with some natural changes to our diets. It worked for both of those conditions and our doctors encouraged it throughout. Both conditions are now under control with less medicine and natural organic foods. We are getting back to living without the added stress. Through our journey of eating more natural foods and going with organically grown veggies I had a thought. The stuff we put on our bodies is just as important as the stuff we put into our bodies. Our skin does absorb the chemicals that are in the detergent bought in the local store. We were still using the big manufacturers detergents on our bodies (the men) and in our laundry and dish detergents, etc. around the house. Those chemical effect us and our environment and we are seeing more and more reports of this in the media.
Years ago I was lucky enough to have a seed planted by my husband’s grandmother. She told us about how they used to make soap and how she missed it and the smell. They used lye or potash they made themselves and the fat rendered from the cows and pigs they raised on the farm. I have on occasion smelled some old fashioned soaps made that way and while the scent was strongly soapy it was not displeasing and made me think ‘clean’. But, I also heard others say that those soaps burned their skin. I have learned since why that happened. Today soaps are made from very carefully crafted recipes that are measured precisely and the some of this and that looks about right methods of making soap back then are not used. That some of this and that looks about right caused the problems.
I found a place to purchase all natural soaps from that I loved. Vermont Soaps but I lived in Michigan. I would buy their wonderful bar soap in bulk when it was on sale. But, the men here prefer liquid soap and refused to use it. To tell the truth I prefer it too for convenience. Grandma’s story kept swimming around in my head and I got the book by Catherine Failor titled “Liquid Soaps”. It all sounded daunting so I put it away. Then as I had that thought about putting chemical stuff on our bodies I got the book back out and actually read the procedures and the recipes sounded great. I researched and joined some wonderful online message boards and viewed tutorials at YouTube by soap crafters. I can do this!!!
While researching ingredients and where to get them I came across a recipe that was so simple it made my head spin. The directions for a laundry soap was dump three ingredients into a bucket and stir. Then stir two times a day for five days. Failed! That lump of white slimy gunk that I made served its purpose, I had to do this the way the professional soapers did it and measure my ingredients by weight, use a calculator to get the correct amounts, and cook and stir at my witch’s cauldron. My first batch of liquid soap was dish soap. My husband thought it cute that I let out a laugh each time I used it on something out of amazement at how well it worked and said I sounded like a happy witch. He was referencing my mother’s family that has ties to the Salem Witch Trials. Yes, genealogy and family history is something I love to do, too.
After that first batch of dish soap I started to craft and test more types of liquid soaps. I research each ingredient I want to put into my creations to make sure they will do what I want that particular soap to do. I also have a huge yard and love to garden and do it organically. We grow herbs and fruits mainly and buy our organic veggies from a local farmer. This year I am expanding the garden to include more herbs in larger quantities to put into our soaps. Going to have to ask a neighbor to use his tractor for the first tilling and I will offer an exchange of soap for his time and trouble, of course.