Reforming Soap Scraps

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Introduction: Reforming Soap Scraps

Many people buy bar soap in bulk, but the money you save often gets tossed when you stop using the scraps. Everyone does it. I got sick of throwing money in the trash and decided to start saving the scraps of bar soap. I melt them down once a quarter or so in a small saucepan and form a few new bars of 'mystery soap' that I then use just like normal soap. Beats ending up in a landfill. Here's how I did it.

Step 1: Collect the Soap

Save the soap scraps. I toss them into a drawer in my bathroom and wait until I have about 20 slivers of soap scraps. Personally, I use Ivory and Irish Spring, but you'll also find some Lava scraps in there too. Your preferences may vary, and you may want to separate them out if you're looking for consistency in the bars you make. Me, I don't really care.

Step 2: Break the Soap Slivers Into Small Chunks, Add Water

Break them into small pieces, about the size of a quarter, and then add about enough water to be visible at the level that the soap slivers are at. Turn on the burner to medium heat.

Step 3: Boil, Gently

Avoid boilovers, but simmer for a few minutes. The goal here is to get the water and the soap hot enough that they begin to stick together. They will, trust me. Stir often.

Step 4: Pour Into a Steel Colander

I put a frying pan underneath the colander so that the soap dribblings are captured and not wasted. Use a wooden spoon to push the soap mess around the colander so that the majority of the excess water is drained. You're trying to get a molten soapy glob, basically.

Step 5: Grease Two Small Glass Bowls

This makes it much easier to extract the soap 'bars' afterwards. Continue to let the soap mess cool and drain for a few minutes.

Step 6: Form Bars in the Bowls

Using a spoon, gather half the warm soap matter from the colander and stuff into a bowl. Repeat with other greased bowls as needed.  I dump the captured soap dribblings from the frying pan into one of the bowls that needs more soap matter - this one usually ends up being the 'fluffiest' soap. Clean up (this part takes the longest, in my experience), and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Step 7: Liberate the Soap From Bowls

Use a steak knife - slip it between the cooled soap matter and the glass bowl - it should pop right out with a little twisting. Use the recycled soap immediately or store it for the next time you (or mankind) runs out of soap.

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    70 Comments

    0
    MichaelT96
    MichaelT96

    6 years ago

    I tried making the soap this way and my soap all melted down to a thick paste. I poured it into the molds and let them set overnight in the fridge. I thought they looked pretty good but when I showered with one of the bars it got kind of mushy in my hand. What did I do wrong? Should I follow my friends advice and add bees wax to it? Please help.

    0
    MelissaK
    MelissaK

    Reply 4 months ago

    You have to let it cure in a cool dark place for about 2 weeks so all the moisture comes out of i

    0
    Muzhik
    Muzhik

    Reply 6 years ago

    See my above reply to Nolene.Lambert. By melting the soap, mixing, and letting it cool, you're making a type of "French Milled Soap". DON'T set it in the fridge. Let it cool overnight on the counter or in a closet. After you take it out of the mold, let it air dry for a couple of weeks in a cool dark place. This is curing the soap, but not in the way soap you make with fat and lye have to cure. In that case, you're waiting for all the lye to react with all the fat and make soap. In this case, you're waiting for all the water that got added during the melting phase to evaporate out.

    You can get better results by using a double-boiler, or if you don't have one, put a smaller pot inside a larger pot. Fill the bottom pot with water, start heating, and make sure it doesn't boil dry. Put the soap pieces in the top pot with no more than a tablespoon or two of water. They don't need to be broken up but will melt faster if you do. Put the lid on the top part and wait, stirring the soap every once in a while. When all the soap is melted, turn off the heat and take off the lid to let the water evaporate out of the soap. After a few minutes, pour the soap into the molds and put in a cool dry space overnight to harden. Afterward, let it cure for a couple of weeks. You'll have homemade French Milled Soap, nice and hard that will last and last!

    0
    DawnB135
    DawnB135

    Reply 5 years ago

    thank you muzhik for all your very helpful and lengthy descriptive instructions!! Your awesome!

    0
    mah1949
    mah1949

    Reply 5 years ago

    very helpful, thanks

    0
    Rocksister
    Rocksister

    Tip 7 months ago

    My grandmother raised six children alone during the Depression. She saved EVERYTHING. For soap, she kept a sock for gathering slivers. Once there was enough, she tied a knot in the top of the sock and it was used. She was pretty smart!

    0
    plwpble
    plwpble

    10 months ago

    I usually grind the left over soap and add it to the laundry detergent.

    0
    ozzieBoy2
    ozzieBoy2

    5 years ago

    Any suggestions on what I can do to make store-bought soap bars less caustic? We bought a case of Costco's Kirkland bath bars and the soap is so strong that no one in the family wants to use it. I still have twelve 4.5 oz. bars and don't want to waste them.

    0
    19priceless50
    19priceless50

    Reply 11 months ago

    Look up Clean the World and donate it. Since it is a charity, you can probably take it off your income taxes.

    0
    artisticlicents
    artisticlicents

    Reply 3 years ago

    These too can be altered. You may end up with a great deal of expensive soap, but it should help. Mix half and half 100% raw shea butter (Amazon $12.99) with the soap. That should go a long way to take the harshness from the soap.

    0
    DoItMyselfer8
    DoItMyselfer8

    Reply 3 years ago

    See if you can return them for a refund or at least a store credit.

    0
    Itz Just Me
    Itz Just Me

    Reply 4 years ago

    If you can't find a way to donate them you can always return anything to Costco, they have satisfactiion guarantee! :)

    0
    KeneeL
    KeneeL

    Reply 4 years ago

    Donate them! There must be someplace near you - shelter, charity, etc - that needs strong soap!

    0
    Megan J
    Megan J

    Question 1 year ago on Step 4

    Can you add scented oils or olive oil at this stage?

    0
    Annynna
    Annynna

    1 year ago

    Try to put chipped pieces of soap into a stocking or fine net

    0
    tonygoffe
    tonygoffe

    9 years ago on Introduction


    ...NOW...if someone could just do an Instructable on "How to make a Soap Mold/Press" ..we'd be in Heaven !!!!!!! (with a Family Crest, of course !!!!! )

    0
    leahbromlow
    leahbromlow

    Reply 2 years ago

    Ok, the press easy, ceramics or wood or plaster 101... figure out if u want it pressed in or pulled out and make yourself a kewl start easy trust me.. press....with a good handle because soap is stiffer than say cookies... it's all going to be in the durability to be able to push into the soap...
    Does my idea make some sense, wish I could draw it out,

    0
    StarrF
    StarrF

    Reply 6 years ago

    You know those travel soap dispensers? The plastic ones with the lid, just enough to hold one bar of soap? You could always use that as a mold, but I'm thinking maybe also apply a small layer of olive oil or something, to help prevent sticking. That way it would be more of a soap shape, instead of bowl shape. As far as the family crest goes, you're on your own. lol. But I'm sure if you really, really wanted one, you could do a Google search or something to see if you could special order something like that. Good luck!

    0
    artisticlicents
    artisticlicents

    3 years ago on Step 7

    I have both a suggestion and a question. The question is what are the relative amounts you are suggesting for each element of this recipe? How much soap vs oil or water?

    My suggestion is that silicone works well in this situation. The flexibility of the silicone helps to release the soap easily and quickly after it has been cured.

    0
    heathbar64
    heathbar64

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I've often wondered if you could remold soap. I was thinking of molding it in a mold with a custom family crest or something.
    If you just want to avoid wasting the soap, why not just put a few pieces in a cloth bag and use it to wash with?