|Written by Thomas Conroy|
Introduction: In days of old people had to possess a diversity of knowledge in daily living simply to survive, and how to make simple soap in the wild was among them. Making soap in the wild is not a short effort devoid of labor, as it requires several processes and a good commitment of time. The positive features of making soap in the wild is that it can be free of cost and it does clean quite well if made properly.
Step 1: The first step in making soap is to make a container with a small hole punched through the bottom. Into this place a one inch layer of small gravel, and on top of that a one inch layer of sand. Taking ashes from a cooled campfire, fill the remainder of the container to the top with ashes. Place a second container under the first one, and slowly pour warm water over the ashes in the top container at the rate of 2 or 3 ounces per minute. The reason for this is that if the water is poured too quickly it will not be able to absorb the necessary components of the ash to create soap.
Step 2: After running 1/2 to 1 gallon of water through the ashes (depending upon the size of the container) place the water into a pot or large pan and place it on a fire. Let this mixture boil until it reduces by 2/3 to 3/4, and then add about 1 1/2 cups of lard, grease or animal fat. Let this mixture boil for at least 20 to 30 minutes in order to allow moisture to escape.
Step 3: It is imperative that the lard, grease or fat be free of food particles or animal blood - if not the soap will mold in the drying process. After removing the soap mixture from the fire allow it to cool for ten minutes, and then place the soap into molds to harden. After about 2 days the soap can be removed from the molds, and place in a well-ventilated area to complete the drying process. In ten to 14 days when the soap is no longer moist to the touch it can be used for any purpose from bathing to washing clothes.
Step 4: While it may not be as sweet smelling or gentle as store bought soaps, the simple soap you can make in the wild has the advantage of possessing better cleaning ability than most commercial soaps. In a survival situation, making simple soap in the wild can at the least enable a small bit of civility in crude living conditions.