This week I am returning to making soap for no other particular reason other than making a video. I know that many of my regular readers went on to actually make soap after my original article almost exactly two years ago. And since we pick up over 1,000 subscribers per day here, I’m sure lots of new dedicated readers/watchers didn’t even know it was there.
Making soap from store bought ingredients isn’t so much a survival topic as much as it is about bringing value to the world after the collapse. This soap, (without goats milk or any other health store soap gimmick), is extremely therapeutic to anything that itches, and you will never go back to store bought soap once you try it regardless. But it does take inputs that you can’t grow or produce yourself. I’m not going to reiterate the stuff I explained in the video, so just watch it. At some point America is not going to run on selling stuff made in another place to each other. Having the skill to make something useful is a better investment than silver coins or anything else.
At some point, possibly soon, I am going to try to make soap from just wood ashes and tallow. The original story about how soap was “discovered” is that after forest fires, people would wash their clothes at the side of water where animals died. The fat from the dead animals had soponofied with the lye created from the ashes, and they saw that the clothes got cleaner. Um horseshit. But whatever. That man was imbued with useful knowledge at the beginning of creation by a devine Creator isn’t going to make it into the textbooks, no matter how ridiculous the alternative may sound. I just don’t know how people can repeat obvious crap with a straight face.
Nonetheless, I did find an article in Mother Earth News about making soap from ashes, and I’d like to try it.
For our purposes though, we are using online purchased sodium hydroxide and vegetable oils. You may recognize sodium hydroxide as old style drain cleaner, but it is nearly impossible to find it in that pure form today. Until a few years ago there was one brand left, Red Devil, but that seems to now be gone as well.
From a survival perspective, storing sodium hydroxide is problematic. There is a reason why Drano came in steel cans. Any air at all destroys sodium hydroxide, and quickly. Supposedly HDPE containers are airproof, and I have personally seen that this is true with a 5 gallon bucket of coconut oil I have had for many years. It has not oxidized at all. But I have tried to keep sodicum hydroxide in HDPE and it didn’t work. Screw on lids may be the problem. If you plan to store sodium hydroxide I would put the container in a Mylar bag and seal it. That is why I a going to do, and throw in an O2 absorber as well.
There is a strong argument to store oils and sodium hydroxide separately, as opposed to just making the soap now. Oils are calories that you can eat. Soap you cannot eat, even though mice seem to love it. If it turns out that trade establishes itself after the collapse to a point where the people left alive can get sufficient food, oils may be something you can swap for other things you want. If food and oils are available, your oils will make you more trade value as soap, especially to anyone who has dandruff or a skin condition. Just food for thought, or soap 😛
I have linked above to Liberty Natural as a source for your oils, but remember that any oils will work. Even if the oils is oxidized, or has been used in a fryolator for two weeks, it will make usable and pleasant soap.
For molds, keep in mind that I have been a soaper for decades now. I have linked to expensive take apart molds, but you don’t need them to make soap. As I explained in the video, where I learned to make soap was from a farmer in New Hampshire, who to this day is most likely making her soap in beer flats with trashbag liners. That works fine. It is funny that this guy on Ebay says he has been doing soap molds since 2003. That was precisely when I designed (but did not patent) the wooden soap mold you see in the video. I support him now because the guy I tried to set up in business making them turned out to be a dud, and this guy took the idea and kept at it all this time. It’s great.
Keeping at it I think is going to be the key to surviving after the collapse. It all may crash in within the scope of a day, a week, or even a minute if the psychos who currently run this planet start popping nukes. But as I have suggested before, it may just slowly decay into chaos, as it does in the Ayn Rand book from 1957 called Atlas Shrugged. Though it is long, I would read that book if you have been convinced that a sudden collapse or hyperinflation is the only possible scenario. It may likely not be the case, and you may want to sell your handful of silver coins and buy some olive oil and sodium hydroxide, just in case.