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Lye Soap Recipes

This is one of my favorites. I call it the 25% recipe because it contains 25% coconut oil.


20 lbs lard
5 lbs coconut oil
7.5 lbs of water
3.5 lbs of lye


Follow normal soap making procedures.

Always wear protective clothing in a well ventilated area.

To make the bars more crumbly(harsher),
increase the water and lye by 10%, then by 20% to get desired soap.

Granny's Lye Soap

Why did we decide to start making lye soap?

There was so much misinformation about lye soap. The qualities that made lye soap so attractive to our colonial ancestors still apply today. The main difference is that with modern science we can take the basic idea of mixing lye/water solution with lard and make a spectacular bar soap that is neither harsh to touch nor pungent to smell. Yet we are able to keep all of the soothing properties that make for such an extraordinary bar of soap.

Can you make a bar that is comes from 100% lard.

Yes you can and some soap makers do. We use a recipe that is very heavy on the lardbut also incorporates some vegetable oils for lathering properties.

Lye Soap Folklore

Though there is no medical evidence that old fashioned lye soap cures poison ivy, it is sometimes called poison ivy soap. It has also been clamimed to cure dandruff, psoriasis, itchy skin, acne, eczema, bed bugs, poison oak, moquito bites, mites and head lice. Some settlers would only stir soap mixes with a sassafrass stick. Why? Was rain water better than creek water, many soap makers thought so. In Appalachia it is called the Appalachian cure all. A common cousin of lye soap is pine tar soap that was also made with lye and from the readily available pine tar settlers were using in many ways.

Red Devil Lye Soap

Red devil lye was used for years in the home made soap making process, but has recently been discontinued because the formula is no longer pure sodium hydroxide.

Kettle Soap

Yes another name for lye soap as many a back yard had a large black kettle used for making soap.

Modern Lye Soap

Today most soap makers offer lye soap with essential oils and herbs infused into their soaps as part of their product line to compliment their plain pold fashioned lye soap.