Making soap was another arduous task a homemaker performed.
Soap was made using fat, ashes and water. The water and ashes were combined to make lye. Ashes were gathered from the fireplace and placed into a wooden hopper. Hot water was then poured over the ashes and the mixture was left to soak. As water would seep out of the hopper, it would drip into a wooden bucket. This by-product was then placed into a large cast iron kettle, along with the fat, and boiled for several hours over an open fire to make soap.This process produced a soft soap which was poured into a wooden barrel and ladled out with a wooden dipper when needed. If a harder soap was desired, a handful of salt was thrown into the boiling water at the end of the process. Salt was expensive, so it was not usually wasted on soap.