Six pounds of washing soda and three of unslaked lime. Pour on four gallons of boiling water, let it stand until perfectly clear, then drain off, and put in six pounds of clean fat. Boil it until it begins to harden, about two hours, stirring most of the time. While boiling, thin it with two gallons of cold water, which you have previously poured on the alkaline mixture, after draining off the four gallons. This must be settled clear before it is drawn off. Add it when there is danger of boiling over. Try the thickness by cooling a little on a plate. Put in a handful of salt just before taking from the fire. Wet a tub to prevent sticking; turn in the soap and let it stand until solid. Cut into bars, put on a board and let it dry. This makes about forty pounds of soap. It can be flavored just as you turn it out.
A soap to clean clothes without rubbing: Take two pounds of sal soda, two pounds of common bar soap and ten quarts of water. Cut the soap in thin slices and boil together two hours; strain and it will be fit for use. Put the clothes in soak the night before you wash, and to every pailful of water in which you boil them add a pound of soap. They will need no rubbing, but merely rinsing.
Pour two pailfuls of boiling water upon twenty pounds of potash and let it stand two hours. Have ready thirty pounds of clean grease, upon which pour one pailful of the lye, adding another pail of water to the potash; let it stand three or four hours, stir it well; then pour a gallon of the lye upon the grease, stir it well; and in half an hour another gallon of the lye, stir it thoroughly; in half an hour repeat the process, and thus proceed until you have poured off all the lye; then add two pails of boiling hot water to the remainder of the potash, and let it stand ten hours; then stir the mixture, and if it has become stiff and the grease has disappeared from the surface, take out a little and see whether the weak lye will thicken it; if it does, add the lye; if it does not, try water, and if that thickens it, let it stand another day, stirring it well five or six times during the day; if the lye does not separate from the grease you may fill up with water.
To set the leach, bore several holes in the bottom of a barrel, or use one without a bottom; prepare a board larger than the barrel, then set the barrel on it, and cut a groove around just outside the barrel, making one groove from this to the edge of the board, to carry off the lye as it runs off, with a groove around it, running into one in the centre of the board. Place all two feet from the ground and tip it so that the lye may run easily from the board into the vessel below prepared to receive it. Put half bricks or stones around the edge of the inside of the barrel; place on them one end of some sticks about two inches wide, inclining to the centre; on those place some straw to the depth of two inches, over it scatter two pounds of slaked lime. Put in ashes, about half of a bushel at a time, pack it well, by pounding it down, and continue doing so until the barrel is full, leaving a funnel-shaped hollow in the centre large enough to hold several quarts of water. Use rain-water boiling hot. Let the water disappear before adding more. If the ashes are packed very tightly it may require two or three days before the lye will begin to run, but it will be the stronger for it, and much better.
Put in a kettle the grease consisting of all kinds of fat that has accumulated in the kitchen, such as scraps and bones from the soup-kettle, rinds from meat, etc.; fill the kettle half full; if there is too much grease it can be skimmed off after the soap is cold, for another kettle of soap. This is the only true test when enough grease is used, as the lye will consume all that is needed and no more. Make a fire under one side of it. The kettle should be in an out-house or out of doors. Let it heat very hot so as to fry; stir occasionally to prevent burning. Now put in the lye a gallon at a time, watching it closely until it boils, as it sometimes runs over at the beginning. Add lye until the kettle is full enough, but not too fall to boil well. Soap should boil from the side and not the middle, as this would be more likely to cause it to boil over. To test the soap, to one spoonful of soap add one of rain-water; if it stirs up very thick, the soap is good and will keep; if it becomes thinner, it is not good. This is the result of one of three causes, either it is too weak, or there is a deposit of dirt or it is too strong. Continue to boil for a few hours, when it should flow from the stick with which it is stirred like thick molasses; but if after boiling it remains thin, let it stand over night, removing it from the fire, then drain it off very carefully into another vessel, being very particular to prevent any sediment from passing. Wash the kettle, return the soap and boil again, if dirt was the cause; it will now be thick and good; otherwise if it was too strong, rain-water added will make it right, adding the water gradually until right and just thick enough.
Cut it into pieces and put it into a dry place; it is more economical to use after it has become hard, as it does not waste so readily.