Announcement We like to keep things simple. Our soaps are crafted in small batches from simple ingredients; you won't find any synthetic detergents or petroleum products. Just Real Soap with an ingredient list that's easy to read and understand. Remember to visit our new website at www.SaranacMountainHearth.com.
We like to keep things simple. Our soaps are crafted in small batches from simple ingredients; you won't find any synthetic detergents or petroleum products. Just Real Soap with an ingredient list that's easy to read and understand. Remember to visit our new website at www.SaranacMountainHearth.com.
Real Soap made in the Adirondack Mountains
Ernest W. Hayduke lived an uncomplicated life. His home was a one-room log cabin built in the woods several miles from town. He grew his own vegetables, kept a small flock for eggs, and hunted meat in the acres surrounding his homestead.
What his garden, animals, and the forest couldn’t provide, he traded for in town. The first Friday of the month, Duke (as he was referred to by the locals), could be found in the town center, sitting in the back of his small buggy waiting for people to trade with. Duke never had to wait long, nor did he have to seek people out; what he had to offer was far less common in the markets than a sack of flour, a bolt of fabric, or even a pound of sugar.
Duke was thrifty, and he let nothing go to waste. The fat from the meat he hunted was rendered in a large kettle on top of the wood stove he used to cook his meals and heat his home. To the rendered fat, he would add caustic potash made by draining collected rain water through a barrel of ashes swept from his stove. This mixture of fat and potash would be left to cook for days until nothing but a kettle of soft soap paste remained.
Duke would then dilute the soap paste with water before pouring some of the liquid soap into glass jugs that had been given a hefty dose of cider vinegar to take out the bite of any excess potash.
Soap—real soap made from fats and oils—was scarce during the Great War as the demand for valuable fats grew. As a result, people were forced to either buy detergents for personal grooming and housekeeping, or make real soap themselves. Duke, however, never saw the need to purchase or trade for detergents as the animals he hunted provided enough fat to keep him clean; whatever he had left he traded. After all, how much soap does one mountain man need?
There wasn’t a lot of soap to be traded—a month’s worth of meat for one man hardly supplies enough raw materials to keep a small town clean—but people would line up with their goods and hope they had something Duke needed.
By the start of World War II, Ernest W. Hayduke was a local celebrity, and the townspeople knew that as the supply of real soap diminished, Duke would be their only reliable (albeit limited) source. Many continued to try their luck, hoping that Duke would be in the market for some cornmeal, milk, or potatoes. Others sought him out at his home where he eagerly taught them the art of making soap.
My great-aunt, Pearlie-Mae Murphy, was one such person. As a young woman in the 1940s, she learned the basics from Duke and improved upon his methods, hoping to add a little luxury to war time. She painstakingly collected pine sap and added it to her kettle of fats; she dissolved the soft soap paste in teas made from flower petals, rosemary, and herbs. The soap she made not only filled her home with the smell of balsam, but added a cleansing scent to the finished products.
Aunt Pearl passed her wisdom down to her children who eagerly taught me their methods. While the underlying principles have remained the same, the soap at Saranac Mountain Hearth does differ from that made by Ernest W. Hayduke.
We use only food-grade vegetable oils and real balsam essential oil and rosin. Our potash is a pure and food-grade product that is no longer swept from the stove but purchased online.
We do cook over fire--on a kitchen range--but have traded hours of stirring for a few minutes with an immersion blender.
A good dose of vegetable-based glycerin adds clarity to the liquid and helps to soften the soap for everyday hand-washing.
The result: Real soap for Natural Living. That’s what you’ll find at Saranac Mountain Hearth.
January 5, 2012
My soaps are made from my own blend of natural fats and oils and strongly scented with fragrance and essential oils.
And lastly. . . My items are handmade and therefore, one of a kind. Please allow for slight variations between similar items. Thanks for shopping SaranacMtnHearth!
Accepted payment methods
- Accepts Etsy gift cards
~All items are shipped through USPS.
~We do not ship outside the United States. Any orders placed with a shipping address outside of the US will be cancelled.
Shipping Time-line for Orders:
~Orders are shipped in 1-2 business days from your order date.
Refunds and Exchanges
Cancellation requests received after shipping fall under our return policy.
Returns must be initiated within 30 days of delivery to receive a full refund of
the purchase priced (we do not refund shipping charges). 30 days begins at
midnight of the first full calendar day following delivery. All returns must be
new, unused, and contain all original packaging and accessories. Some items
cannot be returned: bath and body products (soap, personal fragrance, lotion,
etc.). Returned items must be shipped through the same parcel service that
delivered to you and must include Delivery Confirmation. All items returned
after 30 days are subject to a 10% restocking fee. All sales are final after 45
The refunded value for each item returned will be reduced to reflect the value
of any free gift or discount. Merchandise on clearance at the time of return will
be refunded at the current clearance price. All sales are final on clearance
Other restrictions may apply.
Additional policies and FAQs
My liquid soap arrived and it was a cloudy white color. It was supposed to be clear. What happened?
Handmade liquid soap may become cloudy in extremely cold conditions. All natural liquid soap has a cloud point - the temperature at which the insolubles will precipitate out and create cloudiness that may look simply like little tiny pellets or white streaks. In extreme cases, the soap may take on a completely opaque look. Once the soap is brought back to room temperature or warmer, it will clear back up. If your soap has become cloudy, keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with it and it will perform just as well as if it was clear.
However, if you would like to hasten the process, you can try one of the methods below:
1. Empty the contents of your soap bottle into a microwave safe glass bowl. Heat on 50% power for 1 minute, stirring gently every 15 seconds. If the soap is still cloudy after 1 minute, resume heating and stirring every 15 seconds until the soap is clear.
2. Set the entire bottle of soap in a bowl of hot tap water. Keep in mind that this will destroy the label.
Are the labels on your bottles water-proof?
Unfortunately they are not. We use an adhesive backed kraft paper and use a laser printer for all of our bottle labels. The adhesive is very strong--the label will not come off. The toner used to print the labels is water resistant and will not run should the label come into contact with water. The paper, however, is another story. If it does get wet, please let it dry naturally. While the print will not run, it will flake off if the paper underneath is disturbed. Once the label is dry it will take on a rustic appearance (small wrinkles and an un even texture).