Homemade LYE SOAP For Clothes, Dishes, Hands, Bath. No Perfume, No dyes, just pure soap.
During the civil war, laundresses were assigned to a company, typically married to one of the soldiers or [shudder], a mother. According to the Union Army’s 1861 Military Handbook, only women of good character were allowed to be a laundress. Each woman had to obtain a “Certificate of Good Character” from Army headquarters before she was allowed to begin working. Most laundresses made their own soap by rendering animal fat and adding lye in a day long process while cooking it over an open fire.
A few women did have access to soap from a company called Procter and Gamble. During the Civil War, the Cincinnati company won contracts to supply the Union Army with soap and candles. The military contracts introduced Procter and Gamble products to soldiers throughout the country. The company was so successful that, after their establishment in 1837, in less than 20 years Procter and Gamble’s annual sales had exceeded $1,000,000.