Soap could be bought at the general store but most of the early settlers made their own soap using lard and lye. For lard they used animal fat or leftover cooking grease.
Ashes were collected from the fireplace or from burnt tree stumps.
The ashes were placed in a barrel (with an opening at the bottom) or in a hollowed-out log.
Then water was added to the ashes.
Lye was formed when ashes were soaked in water.
The lye was drained into pails. Lye was combined with the melted lard and water, then boiled in an iron kettle outside.
After a few hours the mixture thickened and was poured into a pan and left to harden.
Then the soap was cut up into squares or bars.
These are the steps settlers used to make soap.
Soap could be bought at the general store or made at home.
Children had to collect enough wood to provide for a long-lasting fire in order to prepare for soap-making day. The lye was very dangerous to work with. Lye could burn skin if it was touched and it was unhealthy to breathe in the fumes.
The soap was made by pouring a mixture into a pan or mold and it was left to harden.
Then the clothes were hung on lines outdoors to dry. Clotheslines were tied between trees or buildings. Laundry was also spread out on the grass or on bushes to dry. In the winter, snow was melted to use as washing water. Lines were stretched across the room near the fireplace (or stove) and most of the clothes were dried indoors.
Clothes were hung to dry by the fireplace in the winter.
Washing and ironing clothes was a lot of work for settlers.