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Carmi Rotary Club Learns About Soap

Carmi Rotary Club meeting

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Carmi Rotary club learned about soap making on Thursday from local resident, Kathy Mallory.

Kathy told the group that she has been in the soap making business with her daughter Tracy, for around eight years. They manufacture the products out of Kathy’s home in Emma.

She explained to the club that it is a long process, but one that she thoroughly enjoys being part of. She joked about the expensive, technical equipment needed, then showed the group a big cook pot that is the basis of her operations.

She told the Rotarians that she uses a lot of Lye in her soap, along with the most important ingredient, goat’s milk. She explained that she freezes the goat milk first, to make sure it holds up to the heat of the cooking process. She begins by heating up her base, which is olive oil and palm oil. When that hits the right temperature, she slowly adds in the lye and goat milk mixture, which takes a lot of stirring and quite a bit of time. She also adds in the “flavor” of that particular batch, which gives the soap its own unique scent.

Once the mixing is done, she pours the soap in to an expensive mold…she explained that her molds are Glad containers, that she purchased from every Dollar Store and Walmart within a hundred-mile radius. These finished products then go in to the freezer, before being removed to sit for another three to four weeks before they are ready for sale.

Another item she has had great success with is loofah soap. She commented that most people think the loofah is a sponge from the ocean. In fact, it is a gourd that can be grown in gardens right here in Southern Illinois. She showed the club a loofah that she would turn in to her special soap. Again, using a very sophisticated piece of equipment – a Pringles can, she places the peeled loofah in the can, pours the soap mixture around it, freezes it and lets it sit. The end result can then be cut in to slices.

The last item Kathy told the Rotarians about is her biggest selling item, the Bug-Away bar. Kathy and her daughter worked several months trying to come up with the right recipe for this product before hitting on their winning combination. The soap is their base with several essential oils added that have proven to be bug repellents. She stated that when someone washes with this bar, and goes outside, the mosquitoes will hover above the arm, but will not land.

Kathy’s sales come from two farmer’s markets each week during the season, and from her website: which she manages.

In club business, the members discussed several upcoming events: first up the fundraiser for the Murphy brothers, who recently lost their home to a fire. The dinner will be held on Saturday, April 27th at the Lion’s Den in Carmi. Dinner will be served from 4:00pm until 7:00pm. Tickets are available at several Carmi locations, and can be purchased at the door the night of the event.

Next up for the Rotarians will be the annual fish fry. This year’s dinner will be held on Friday, May 17th. At the American Legion in Carmi.

The club also discussed the upcoming 5k run at Burrel’s Woods to benefit Pets at Risk. This run will kick off at 8:00am.

Melissa Questell pulled off a double win at Thursday’s meeting, winning the 50/50 drawing AND claiming the large cash prize to boot. She also was named as the day’s phantom.

The Carmi Rotary club meets every Thursday at noon at the First United Methodist Church on Main Street in Carmi. Anyone wishing to learn more about this civic organization is welcome to attend a meeting or speak with any Carmi Rotarian.