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