Soap Works

By , May 22, 2019

Aly and I cranked out another batch of homemade soap recently.

That’s kind of a big deal for us, because we’re making good on a commitment we made in March to get at least three varieties of soap made for the summer tourist season. This wouldn’t be much of a problem, except that Aly’s job as a tour guide gets busy at the same time.

Aly making soap

Aly stirs oil, heated on the stove, for soap making (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Despite scheduling difficulties, we had a good day making soap. Highlights of the event included using a new, experimental soap mold that worked like a charm.

Right now, the count stands at one batch complete, another just done and starting to cure, and one to go.

We cured a batch of devil’s club soap a few weeks ago; these are in store in Haines, at Alaska Rod’s, the only outlet that sells our soap other than our store page on our web site.

The newly poured batch is our most popular variety, Russian tea. It’ll be ready in the first part of June. When it’s cured, it’ll appear on the store page as well.

mixing soap

Mixing heated oil and lye water with the Kitchenaid, with bowl and dasher dedicated exclusively to soap making. The essential oils and GSE for preservative can be seen in the measuring glass on the right (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Our third variety is, like the devil’s club, seasonal. Our next batch will be our third try at spruce tip soap.

Spruce soap, instead of being what one would expect, either a Christmas tree smell, or, less fortuitously, a cleanser smell (like Pine-sol) has more of a citrus smell, very much like orange. We’ve tried making it twice before, once with spruce tip tea as water in the recipe, another time with spruce tips in the oil. Both times, we’ve had success to a certain degree: people who have bought the soap like the scent. We can’t smell anything, however! Hopefully, this third try, which includes spruce tips in the oil and the water, will work. After all, these soaps are primarily for our personal use—we sell the excess—so if we can’t smell spruce in the soap, it’s not worth making. We’ll keep you posted on how this turns out . . . .


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