A brief History
of Cold Process Soap-making
The cold process method is the most popular soap making process today. It is made by mixing animal or vegetable oils and sodium hydroxide (lye). The first production of cold-process soap began around 2800 BC in ancient Babylon. The Babylonians combined wood ashes with animal and plant fat, and got a substance that was effective for cleaning.
This method of soap-making would endure for centuries to come. By the beginning of the 19th century, soap making was one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. This was a practice traditionally done in the fall after butchering.
Old fashioned lye was made using hardwood ashes, a barrel or ash hopper, and rainwater. Holes were drilled in the bottom of a barrel. The barrel was placed on a grooved stone slab which rested on a pile of rocks. A layer of gravel was placed over the holes. Then a layer of straw, twigs, and sticks was placed on top of the gravel as a filter to prevent the ashes from getting in the solution. After filling a barrel with hardwood ashes, rainwater was pored through the ashes to leach out the brown lye liquid which would flow into the groove around the stone slab and drip down into a container. This home-made lye was combined with the fat from the animals they had butchered. It was from this combination that soap was made.
The resultant soap was utilized for various cleaning purposes. Bathing, laundry, dishes, house-cleaning... pretty much anything that needed a washing! the method for creating Speleo-soap is reminiscent of this of the traditional method. Lye and fats are used to create the soap but being a vegan product, only vegetable fats are used... and what truly sets Speleo-soap apart is our emphasis on aromatherapy (via the use of holistic herbs and essential oils) and of course our special speleo- ingredient.