Can anyone tell me how to make lye soap from ashes?

My grandparents knew how and I would like to make some to kind of keep the knowledge alive and pass it on to my grandchildren.

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wiccanbear5 years ago
hello, ok i use to do this with my gram. to make lye from ash is acctualy easy.
here is what you need.
about 20 lbs of ash - wood ash spesificly, NO! garbage in it. pure wood ash.
pine, apple or ceder is best. but if all you can get are other woods make sure to mix them really well together.
burn the woods down as fast as you can and as hot as you can. do not let the ash sit out side int he weather. the rain will wash the lye out.

ok once you have the ash and it is cool. take three or 4 old sheets that you will never use again except for ashes, and layer them together. if you have time stitch them together. fill them up with the ashes. tie really tight! you don;t want the ash to sift out.
next have a big big tube of water. no!!! aluminum tubs. glass, or steel or thick! plastic.
toss the sheet in and lett it soak up the water. keep adding water tilly our sure the ashes are fully wet. ( the water may get hot depending on how much lye in in the ash. expect that. plung the sheets in several times and make sure the ash is Thoroughly soaked.
then lift the sheet out of the water and hang it above the tub some how. we usualy just did it under a tree and tied the sheet to a branch to drip allt he water out.
once the water is fully drained from the ash you can dispose of it. next is the LONG wait. let the water evaporate and the crystals that forum are pure lye. if you want them all nice and shinny bright white you can clean the lye by putting it back in water and evaporating it again and again till its as clear as you want. you will lose some of the lye doing it that way. gram never really cared if it was "clean" or not. so there you have it.
shawneegeek7 years ago
if you have any Amish in your community, there usually more than willing to help the 'english' learn their trades.  Soap making included.  It better, because its hands on.
paganwonder7 years ago
Back in the1970's a series of books came out- "Foxfire"  I think they were called -that covered all of the old homestead/pioneer techniques and tools.  Maybe the public library can help with your query.
My parents had all of those books when I was a kid, they're excellent. I blame the Foxfire books for helping me to realize at a very young age that  it was possible to make all kinds of things for myself that I never would have considered. 
Hence, my eventual presence on this site can be directly traced to Appalachian people drizzling water through a can of fireplace ashes. Weird.
Yeah, Foxfire books, 19th century encyclopiedias, old Boy Scout manual- they all contributed to a life time of DIY.  It's my parents' fault for having an eclectic home library !
Everyone raves about those Foxfire books.  Maybe I'm the only one who thought they were too anecdotal and poorly organized to be actually useful as a "how-to". Anyway, the link below is for anyone who has never seen the inside of a Foxfire book:
These books are still being sold, so Google only gives snippets of the text.
Thanks for the link Jack- can always count on the 'ibles community for sources!
You're right, as a straight how-to, they could be much better organized and documented. As an anthropological study which also contains interesting nuggets of rustic know-how along with the folklore, they're quite good.
seandogue7 years ago
Check with a soap making forum.


Their forum group is highly knowledgeable and quite friendly.
Here's one page, but there are many others on Google that can give you alternatives.