Grandma Reynolds’ Mother’s Lye Soap

A couple of days ago, I was looking through some of Grandma Reynolds’ keepsakes and discovered this incredible recipe for lye soap!  From the looks of the handwriting, she probably wrote this later in her life…perhaps even while at the Sunshine Terrace care center in Logan.  She credits the recipe to her mother.  Just in case you can’t read her handwriting, here’s the recipe:


Home Made Soap, Mother

1 qt. cold water

12 cups melted grease (vegetable, not grease)

1 cup kerosene

1 can lye

1 cup Borax

1 cup household Ammonia


put lye in enamel pan and

add ½ of the water, add Borax

and Ammonia and the

Balance of cold water and

Kerosene, combine and stir

When the mixture and the

grease are both luke warm

combine and stir until

it thickens put in enamel

pan and stir until it

thickens, let sit for 48 hours

then grind and store.

Did you notice that the soap includes 1 cup of kerosene and 1 can of lye?  I would imagine that this soap could almost be used for paint remover as well!  The last line says “then grind and store” so this might be laundry soap.  I vaguely remember home made soap at Grandma Reynolds’…large bars with a fairly strong odor of grease and lye.  Does anyone else?  Isn’t it incredible to think about how hard our grandparents had to work just to meet life’s basic needs?