Everyone knows the feeling… you have a lovely, new bar of soap, a joy to use, but it fast deteriorates into a little scrap of soap that doesn’t lather, breaks when you use it, and slips through your fingers to sit mockingly on the shower floor- or, worse still, sets to the floor of the shower so you have to prize it off with your fingernails.
So, what do you do with the soap scraps? You can:
1) Throw them away- neither ecologically sound nor good for the budget
2) Put them by the hand basin and hope people will feel they have to use them up – unlikely, they’ll probably just sit there and dry up and look yuk while everyone avoids them
3) Save them in a container until you have a cupful, then boil them up with water in an old saucepan, mush them into goop and use it to wash your clothes – practical, but messy and not much fun
4) Put them in an old-fashioned “soap saver” (a little wire basket with a handle; you put soap inside, close it up, and agitate it under a running hot tap) to wash your dishes- but it leaves soap scum on your dishes, and where would you find a soap saver these days?
5) Put them in the cut-off leg of a stocking/pantyhose and tie to your outdoor tap for washing hands after gardening- this works with bigger bits, but scraps dry out/break up/ don’t lather
6) Leave them in the soap rack where they will fall out, or in the soap dish to go mushy/mouldy, and pretend it’s someone else’s problem- yuk (it become’s everyone’s problem)
7) Leave them in the bottom of the shower to stick on like limpets while they slowly get melted away/go mouldy/cause someone to slip and bang their head/break the shower screen etc – don’t say I didn’t warn you
8) Leave one on the kitchen sink for the mice to take - I kid you not, this happened (one day there were little teeth marks in the soap; the next morning it was gone!)
or – ta-dah!
9) Mold the scraps onto a new bar of soap, and experience the constant joy of a decent-sized piece of soap to use, whilst basking in the self-righteous glow of someone who isn’t making any mess or wasting a thing! If this is your preferred option, read on…
Step 1: Soften old and new soap
Get your scrap and your new bar* of soap, and leave them both on a damp sponge (or folded washcloth) for a few hours, until the bottom side of both pieces is softened.
Soap which has an indentation in the side works best, but a more rounded cake of soap works fine, too- just make sure it’s softened enough to work with as in the next step.
* It's easier if the new soap has been used a few times to wear down the edges and soften a bit- see the second example (white/white). I's also easier if you use your scrap before it dries out too much and hardens.
Note- I've shown a white scrap on green soap so it's clearer, but it looks much better with the same colour- e.g. white on white!