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Hunting and Fishing | Lye Soap can remove human scent, clean-disinfect hands, and wash off poison ivy and oak oils

Updated on October 5, 2012
Four pack of Amish handmade lye soap.
Four pack of Amish handmade lye soap.

A bar of lye soap may just be your best part of the trip!

As you pack up your hunting or fishing gear to head for the woods consider adding a bar of lye soap. Yes, this little bar of soap may just be the best part of your trip, in fact it may even save it.

As the earlier settlers discovered lye soap was once the main cleaning ingredient used in every household. It was used to do laundry, bathing, shampoo, and shaving, washing dishes and doing the floors. The lye supposedly creates an antiseptic, and although there is no scientific evidence, and the medical community may write it off as an old wives tale, many still swear lye soap helps with skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, dry itch skin, dandruff, Acne, and other skin allergies and conditions.

Historians will also attest to lye soap being used for eliminating head and body lice, bed bugs, mites, and was the only source of basic hygiene available at one time.

One thing for sure lye soap has incredible degreasing and oil removal from the skin and clothes. Bathing with lye soap before the hunt will help remove human scent that maybe easily detected down wind. Scraping off some lye soap shavings in a wash load of your hunting clothes, will further remove the body oils and scents that have accumulated in the clothing.

What better way to wash and disinfect your hands after field dressing that big buck, or cleaning that large bass. Needless to say we all get nicks, and scrapes from handling hunting knifes, coming in contact with rusty barbed wire and nails from previous tree stands, and fishing hooks. An ounce of prevention in the field may save you from having a really bad infection.

As you return from the hunt or fishing trip washing the arms, hands, and other exposed skin areas and then bathing again in the evening with lye soap will help remove the oils that may have brushed up against a poison oak, or a poison ivy bush. A brush with those and your hunting or fishing trip is pretty well over ending in a miserable trip to town or home to seek some much needed relief. If you do encounter a breakout, washing the area frequently will also help remove the oils from spreading and help soothe the skin irritation.

Some will save up the small scraps of regular bar soap, add a few shavings of lye soap and melt them together in a double boiler to form a prevention lotion for poison oak and ivy to apply before going into the woods or gardening.

Lye soap is also a great grease remover for cleaning mechanics hands, so if you have a flat tire or have to replace a wheel bearing on the camper or boat trailer on the way, lye soap will get your hands clean again.

Many hunters don’t realize the sweat and oils accumulating in their favorite ball cap provide an early warning siren for that potential big buck, lye soap will remove the oils and human scent from ball caps, hats and other hunting gear.

Let’s not forget man’s best friend as they can also benefit with a lye soap shampoo as well as washing the dog scent oils from collars and leashes.

Lye soap is also an excellent lubricant, so if you encounter a squeaky door on the truck, camper, or a squeaky pulley on the tree stand, lye soap can again save the day.

Chopping onions for the campfire stew or frying up a mess of fish will linger on the hands for the next day’s hunt, lye soap will remove those odors, and if you forgot to pack the dish soap, well remember lye soap was used for years to wash dishes, even those greasy skillets.

Natural lye soap is actually used by many as catfish bait, and again cleaning fish and handling them leaves an oily residue on the hands which lye soap can quickly remove and disinfect those nicks from fins, knives and hooks.

Lye soap is not as readily available in stores, as it is generally handmade in small cottage based businesses. Some hardware and garden stores will carry it as well as sources online. Cottage Craft Works .Com does carry a four pack of Amish handmade lye soap for $18.95. This is very reasonable as many sell it for $6 to $8 a bar.

Cottage Craft Works .Com is an online general store with many hard to find back-to-basic gear and products. They have a huge selection of handcrafted heirloom quality hunting gear and game calls and can custom make or personalize just about anything a person needs. Check them out at or their subsidiary


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