Soap Successes

By , March 15, 2018

Lately, we’re celebrating a few small, quiet successes in our homestead soap making.

First, Made in Alaska has released their Body, Bath and Spa Directory, which lists our homemade soaps for sale. It even includes photos of our product!

Cover, Made in Alaska Body, Bath and Spa Directory

The Made in Alaska Body, Bath and Spa Directory (Image: Alaska Department of Commerce and Economic Development)

Hopefully, that’ll help spread the word, although the photos aren’t paired with the producer listings. It’s not perfect, but no bad publicity, right?

Secondly, we have a batch of our devil’s club soap ready for sale.

Of all our soap varieties, devil’s club is the rarest, because it’s the hardest to make. We try to harvest the devil’s club at optimal times of the year. And, if you’ve ever encountered devil’s club, you know that it’s nasty stuff to handle, no matter when you try!

devil's club close up

A nice detail photo of devil’s club’s business end. And, the plant’s ALL business end! (Image:

As a result, our supply of materials, though abundant on the homestead, is limited by convenience, season, and circumstance.

Nevertheless, we have a batch available for a limited time.

While we enjoy making soap for the most part, actually getting to it requires overcoming considerable psychological and physical inertia. It’s a dangerous process, involving caustic lye, and an inconvenient one, involving cleaning up oily, caustic raw soap (see Making Homemade Soap). We can never know exactly how long it will take, so we need to feel like we have adequate time for worst case scenarios. The lye water and the oils must drop to the right, similar temperature, both at very different rates. We cannot predict when the mixture will begin to trace—sometimes it’s minutes, other times, it’s hours. Getting the soap out of the molds the next day can be a difficult, frustrating process. All in all, it’s very easy to think of something else we’d rather do than make soap.

Of course, the more we do it, the better we get at it, but finding the time, conditions, and, most of all, the will to do it can be daunting. Aly and I have resolved to keep our local distributor, Alaska Rod’s, and our Website store adequately stocked with soap this summer, if not in all varieties, at least in most.

Wish us luck!

2 Responses to “Soap Successes”

  1. Virginia White says:

    Mark, I love your soap. It makes my face feel so clean! It’s a permanent item on my wish list!

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Virginia, thank you for this, and all you do to support us!

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