Understanding animal fat soaps
My grandmother always said, “cleanliness is next to God-liness.”  It’s a fun saying that simply communicated the importance of being clean.  Throughout the Bible you will find many instances of people bathing and how valuable fragrances and perfumes were back then so maybe she was on to something.  Being clean and smelling good has been valued throughout time.
Tallow (animal fat) based soaps have been around as long history has been recorded.  Originally used for cleaning clothes, it eventually became something that we found fitting to use on ourselves.  The image of rubbing animal fat on our bodies doesn’t seem that inviting and would be greasy which is why we combine lye with bear fat to take it through saponification.  Saponification is the reaction that turns fat into a fatty acid salt known as sodium tallowate that is odorless (or has a very faint fatty smell to it.)
Sodium tallowate cleans your skin and hair by helping water mix with dirt and oils so you can easily wash them away.  Lard soap is more compatible with the cells on our skin.  Our skin is largely composed of saturated fats just like that found in the fat we render down.  This can help our skin dry out less than using plant-based soaps which are monounsaturated fats.  The resulting bar of soap will typically have a good hardness, making it longer lasting. They are also known for creating a good lather when mixed with water.

1. Bear Grease (rendered bear fat)

2. 100% Lye (sodium hydroxide)

3. Water

4. Essential oil scent


1) Figure weight of the bear grease and input the weight into this calculator -http://soapcalc.net/.

2) Put the suggested amount of cool water from your recipe calculation in a non-aluminum container and add the suggested amount of lye and stir. It will become very hot and may even steam. It will appear cloudy initially, stir until it becomes clear and let sit 10 minutes once clear. (do this out-side)

3) Make sure the bear grease is at 100 degrees Fahrenheit and add the water lye mixture.

4) Use a mixer of some sort (even a paint mixer on a drill) and mix the components together until it gets very thick and achieves trace (You can see where your mixer has been).

5) Add whatever scents you would like to the mixture.

6) Pour into molds (can be anything lined with wax paper or actual silicone molds).

7) Cover the top of the mold with wax paper and wrap in a towel (you want it to cool slowly) for 24 hrs. 

8) Remove from mold and cut into desired bar sizes.

9) Keep at room temperature for roughly four weeks to cure.

Bear fat lye soap is a great way to utilize more of your 2021 bear kill. It’s great for your skin and smells incredible. It also makes a thoughtful gift for hunters and non-hunters alike.