Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I'll Stick to My Woolite

Here is a soap recipe from The White House Cookbook, c. 1887

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.

I don't even know what half of those things are. Leach? I think I'll stick to my Woolite and gentle handwashing of my vintage garments.

1 comment:

boylerpf said...

I totally agree with you about the hand washing & Woolite! How interesting.