August 2006
Featured Articles

New Market Woman Makes Goat Milk Soap

by Susie Sims

  Mazikowski feeds her Oberhasli goat, Bella’s Bea.
Where does your soap come from? A local drug store, a gift shop, or maybe even a specialty store.

Beyond that, do you know where it comes from? How was it made? Who made it? When was it made? What is in it?

About eight years ago, Margaret Mazikowski did something very normal—she went to eat at Cracker Barrel. While there she looked around the gift shop, as most folks do. She found some things to her liking, including goat milk soap.

When she got home she tried it and liked it. Then she got curious. “I did some research online and found out how to make homemade soap,” said Mazikowski. “I began making a lot of soap.”

Her youngest son, John, is eight years old and has never used store-bought soap.

Mazikowski uses a wooden mold to make three pounds of goat milk soap at a time.  
Mazikowski’s husband, Mark, helped with the first batch of soap, which was made in the family’s kitchen. That first batch was 100 percent olive oil soap, recalled Mazikowski. Since then, she has tried many different recipes.

Some recipes have worked for her and remain as “old faithfuls,” while others have only been used the one time.

Cold-Cold Process

Mazikowski uses what she calls a cold-cold process to make her soaps. She begins with fresh goat’s milk from her Oberhasli goat named Bella’s Bea.

“I don’t add heat to the process,” she said. “I let the lye heat the oils.” Mazikowski explained that once the lye is added to the milk it gives off heat immediately. And that once it is mixed with oil, the lye changes chemical composition.

“You can see the steam coming from the milk once the lye is added,” Mazikowski said. “It produces enough heat on its own to process itself.”

You may wonder why Mazikowski uses lye to make her specialty soaps. She explained that lye must be used to make soap. “You can make bath bars and other things, but you cannot make soap without lye,” she said.

Once the mixture is made, Mazikowski pours it into a plastic-lined wooden mold. Then she “puts it to bed” for 24 hours.

The final step is aging. Mazikowski said she lets the soap age for three to
  Margaret Mazikowski measures out goat’s milk to begin making soap.
four weeks before she cuts it into 15 bars with what looks like a giant egg slicer.

Each batch makes three pounds of soap. Other ingredients include rice bran oil, palm kernel flakes, and castor oil. According to Mazikowski, the palm kernel flakes help make the soap hard so it can be cut and the flakes also add lather. The castor oil adds bubbles, she noted.

Mazikowski said that many commercial soaps have animal fats added during production. She noted that the only animal fats in her soaps come from the milk.

In addition to making soap from goat’s milk, Mazikowski also uses recipes calling for cow’s milk.

Beautician Turned Soap Maker

Before she began working at the Burritt Museum in Huntsville four years ago, Mazikowski worked as a hairdresser. She had her own shop, which is located next door to her house in New Market. The shop now serves as a place for Mazikowski to make her soaps, lotions, candles and other products.

She said the most requested scent is Kudzu Blossom, which Mazikowski makes from dehydrated kudzu leaves. Some of her other popular fragrances include spearmint, peppermint, oatmeal, and vanilla.

Mazikowski fills bottles with lotion, which she makes from scratch, in addition to her goat milk soaps.  
Locally, Mazikowski retails her products through the Burritt Museum’s gift shop and at Harrison Brothers Hardware in downtown Huntsville. Harrison Brothers is reportedly the oldest hardware store in Alabama, Mazikowski noted.

She also sells her products over the internet and at her shop, when she’s home.

To keep up with demand, Mazikowski makes batches of soap two to three times each week. As each batch takes at least three weeks to complete, she is constantly in the process of making soap.

Lotions and Sundries

Her homemade lotions are big sellers and she has a wide range of fragrances available.

Asked if the lotions were made from goat’s milk as well, Mazikowski said that she had tried to use goat’s milk in the past, but that she couldn’t preserve the lotion, since the milk was fresh.

She makes large batches of plain lotion and then adds the fragrance according to each customer’s preference.

Besides soaps and lotions, Mazikowski also makes dog shampoos and sprays, lip balm, bath and body sprays, room sprays and candles.

Jill of All Trades

Mazikowski truly is a “Jill of all trades.” In addition to making soaps and sundries, she also spins wool and knits.

Mazikowski’s once-rural home in Madison County is now surrounded by houses and subdivisions. Her family doesn’t let that fact deter them from keeping their way of life.

In addition to the goats, they have turkeys, chickens and sheep.

Besides their son, John, the Mazikowskis have another son, Jamie, 15.

When possible, Mazikowski likes to trade at Marshall Farmers Co-op in Albertville.

To find out more about Mazikowski’s products or the soap-making process visit her website at Her email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Mazikowski encourages anyone interested in soap or lotion making to contact her or research the subject for themselves. She said she obtained much of her information from the internet.

Susie Sims is a freelance writer from Haleyville.