Soap was used as early as 2000 B.C. Rather than for cleaning, it was used as a scent or ointment that was rubbed on the skin. It was first discovered to be a cleaning agent around 1000 B.C.
There are three main ingredients in lye soap: water; lye; and lard, or tallow. Soap-making depends on a very sensitive chemical reaction which requires pure water. The pioneers used rainwater, which was collected in barrels.
Lye soap is made all summer long in the Village. One batch makes about 500 bars of soap. Because it contains no harsh chemicals or additives, lye soap is very gentle. It is good for cleaning, killing chiggers, treating poison ivy, washing hair, and removing stains from delicate clothing.