Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Cooking and Cleaning.

Byline: Jane Mahoney For the Journal

Rhetta's Soap Co. comes straight from the owner's kitchen

Equal parts chef, herbalist and artist, Rhetta Herlan stirs the concoction atop her kitchen stove, watching for the faint trace or thickening that signals successful soap.

"As many times as I've made soap, I always cross my fingers," she said. "Even the tiniest change can make a difference. Precise measurements and temperatures are absolutely critical. The humidity outside can make a difference."

Herlan's sunny Los Ranchos kitchen is home to Rhetta's Soap Co., where silky bars of handmade soap are produced one kettle at a time. Once, twice or sometimes more often each week, Herlan starts her days surrounded by tubs of olive, palm and coconut oils, as well as the aromas of lavender, lemon or rose. …

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