How to Make Homemade Soap Out of Soap Scraps

Learn how to make new homemade soap by grating old soap scraps and remolding them into new soaps.

Homemade soap out of soap scraps

The big mesh bag of colorful soap scraps was sitting in my bathroom cupboard for longer than I would like to admit. As I dumped them onto the counter, I was reminded of soaps gone by – the scrubby oatmeal soap from the co-op, the handmade blue swirl soap that was a gift, the rose soap that smelled so good. Is it possible to be nostalgic about soap? Apparently so.

But nostalgia aside, I was here for a practical purpose – to avoid wasting perfectly good soap.

Being frugal is in my blood. Growing up, we scrimped and saved. We dug out every last bit from the peanut butter jar. We cut open toothpaste and lotion tubes to get out every last drop. We reused and repurposed and passed things along when we were done.

Which is precisely why that bag of soap scraps was haunting me. I needed to find a way to use them up. One option was to melt them down and turn them into laundry soap or liquid hand soap. But why not make new homemade soap? I decided to give it a try.

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Making Homemade Soap

There doesn’t seem to be one tried and true recipe for making new soap out of old soap. It’s more of a method than an exact recipe.

Follow these simple steps and be prepared to wing it depending on the type and amount of soap bits you have.

Step 1: Start with a bunch of soap scraps. The more the merrier!

How to Make Homemade Soap Out of Soap Scraps

Step 2: Grate the soap bits with a cheese grater. Soft, glycerin based soaps will be easy to grate but some soaps are quite difficult to grate and produce more of a soap dust than soap flakes (cover your nose & mouth so you don’t inhale any). Some of my soaps were so hard that I just broke them into bits instead of grating them.

How to Make Homemade Soap Out of Soap Scraps

Step 3: Put the soap flakes in a microwave safe, glass container. Add a little bit of water – about 1 Tablespoon per cup of soap flakes. Keep in mind that the more water you add, the longer it will take your soap to dry in the mold. Microwave the soap scraps mixture in about 30 second intervals. Mix after each time. In my case, the soap mixture never “melted” completely. There were still chunks of soap showing but everything got very soft and mushy. At this point you can add some essential oil scent if you would like. I added lavender essential oil to mine.

How to Make Homemade Soap Out of Soap Scraps

Step 4: Spoon the soap mixture into your mold. I used muffin tins and I sprayed them with cooking spray first just to make sure the new soaps wouldn’t stick. You can also use a silicone soap mold or make free-formed soap balls.

If you look closely at the photo below, you can see that I made two batches – one was smoother and one was more chunky. In the end, I actually preferred the chunky look because you can still see the colors from the different soaps.

(This is not a pretty picture of my well worn muffin tin….)

How to Make Homemade Soap Out of Soap Scraps

Step 5: Let the soaps dry out for a few days or even a week before you try to take them out of the mold. I was expecting my soaps to be a bit drier and more solid. Instead they are soft and will break apart easily if you try.

 How to Make Homemade Soap Out of Soap Scraps

The end result

My “new” homemade soap won’t win any beauty contests. The pretty colors of the original soaps are largely gone and the resulting soap is a bit greyish in color. I definitely won’t be giving any for gifts – however they work just fine and smell nice due to the added essential oils!

And most importantly, my guilty conscience is assuaged – I won’t be wasting perfectly good soap!

Do you save soap scraps to make homemade soap? 

green & healthy wishes Micaela signature


  1. Thanks Tracey! It's fun to do with the kids. My youngest boy helped grate the soap and stir the mixture.

  2. Here’s what I do with soap scraps: Take an old mesh scrubby-puff and cut the string that holds it together. Now you have a long tube of mesh. Cut a section about 2 feet long. Tie a knot in one end. Fill with soap scraps. Tie the other end to your showerhead or any towel bar or hook you may have in the shower. Wet your hands and rub them on the mesh. You’ll get a nice lather!

    When we stay in hotels, we bring home our used bits of soap and add them to our soap bag. We buy maybe 2 bars of soap a year. It really lasts a long time in the mesh bag because it isn’t melting in a pool of water, and because the mesh helps it lather so you use less soap.

  3. There’s no such thing as too frugal. 🙂

    I do like ‘Becca’s idea, it seems so much easier. Okay, lazier . . . HAH!

  4. Charlie Hendricks says:

    Great idea. We have just started stone carving as a hobby and our 2 year old and 4 year old want to do it too. We tried letting them carve soap the other day and it worked well. No we can recycle too. Thanks

  5. Kathi Moseman says:

    I used to have this gadget that you put the microwaved soap in and it screwed down tight and “compressed the soap. The result was a perfect round solid bar of soap. I can’t find the darn thing and can’t find another one…I think you have the idea, just need compression.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Great job!!!. I have tons of soap scraps and have been searching for a easy way to repurorse my soap left overs. My mother always said we learn from our failures not our successes. However you did a awesome job. I may add some oatmeal or brown sugar for an exfoliating soap but will have to Google it a little further. You can always give someone something unexpected they would so much appreciate it. I am so frugal as well I save yogurt container and cottage cheese container for seedlings. Or what ever I can get my hands on. Good job

  7. Ms Sparkle says:

    If you wrap the soap in saran wrap and microwave 30 seconds at a time, you can mold the scraps together. I use rubber kitchen gloves to keep from burning myself, ( just in case). In the cleaning section the have the large sponges, dig a hole in the middle to use as your soap dish and use the sponge to bathe with. Last when melting down the scraps add a little coconut oil to soften the new product ( can whip first)

    1. Thanks for the great tips and ideas – especially the recommendation to add a bit of coconut oil!

    2. Alan Moll says:

      Doesn’t even need to be wrapped. Today I used hotel soaps (some fairly large), about 15 bars, and just microwaved them together in a glass bowl. Once they were soft enough to be stirred, I smashed the mixture into silicone muffin tins.

  8. I make soap, my wife suggested that I use a silicone muffin pan for a soap mold. A great idea!, the bars peel right out cleanly and are a nice size.
    If you make soap, grind up the old pieces and add it to the new batch.

  9. Just found this tutorial via Pinterest! Can’t wait to use the mound of Ivory soap scraps from a Cub Scout soap carving activity (currently in a bag in our bathroom cabinet) into repurposed bars of soap. Thanks for the tips!

    1. What a great idea to use up scraps from soap carving! Hope you enjoy your “new” soap!

  10. GeekGirl93 says:

    Instead of using a grater I cut the soap bars up thinly Into flakes with a sharp craft knife. It ends In much finer flakes and results in much smoother soap cakes 🙂 heaps less lumps. This method does take some time though.

  11. Have you ever tried put lavender flowers in your soaps?

  12. Rosette Mifsud says:

    Hi Michaela, Thank you for the directions as to how to turn old soap scraps into bars of soap. I did that today, and I managed to make seven bars of soap, and am very happy with them. The only thing that I did different to your instructions, was that I added double the water, as I observed the mixture needed it. I had four cups of grated soap, and I put in four tablespoons of water and half way, after the third 30 second interval in the microwave, I put in another four tablespoons of water and finally, half a little bottle of essential oil – lavender. They are now sitting in my Easter Egg mould that I sprayed with Coconut oil spray before I placed the mixtures in. The consistency is good, and I wish I could attach a photo here for you, of my soap. Thank you.

    1. So happy it worked out for you! The amount of liquid you need really depends on the soap scraps that you have.

  13. Super hints, Micaela!
    I reuse the scraps of solid shampoo that accumulate in my shampoo tin.
    They are generally too small to grate without endangering my fingers, so I chop them with a fine knife.
    I haven’t got a microwave, so I use a Bain Marie.
    When the mixture has melted & is smooth, I press it into the cells of of a silicone ice-cube tray.
    The results are great!

  14. Alan Moll says:

    I just made a large batch out of hotel soaps, most were fairly large. Didn’t grate the soap and didn’t add any water — kept microwaving in short intervals until I could stir it all together. Smashed the softened soap into silicone muffin tins. Soap was solid when I removed it within an hour. Next time I’ll try adding a little bit water.

  15. I had all mine in a large freezer bag, and just beat with hammer till crushed and tiny, worked great n

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