Making New Soap from Old Soap
These are all the remnants of soap I’ve been setting aside for almost two years. Some of the artisanal soaps hail from Wessex Soap which we profiled a while back, and from Truly-Life, the home-based business of Del Ray resident, Mellenie Runion, who also grows and sells loofah. Although I’ll keep buying handmade soap, it makes sense to whip up some upcycled soap bars from those odds and ends that otherwise end up in the trash. It’s really easy too. First, I broke up the pieces into small chunks.
Then, with help from my youngest daughter, Nadja, I grated a few pieces that serve as the “base” and get the whole melting process going on the stove.
You can use a double boiler or make the equivalent, like I did, by resting a bowl inside a pot filled with water. The soap pieces went into the pot over the boiling water. Part way through the melting process, I added some boiling water to the mixture and stirred. From what I read in different online tutorials, the ratio is 1 part water to 1 part soap. Eventually, in about 20 minutes, most of water evaporates and the pieces melt into a thick, rich soap soup.
After all of the pieces were melted down, I added some coconut oil to serve as the “binder.”
The recommended ratio of binder to soap is 1 to 2. After letting the mixture simmer for about an hour, you can add coloring to the soap mixture, but I decided to keep it simple and left the color (albeit weird) stay as is.
Next, I emptied the boiling water from the pan, poured the mixture from the mixing bowl into the pan, and then strained it back into the bowl, to catch any little bits of soap that hadn’t melted.
It all went into a glass loaf pan that I had greased with olive oil spray, and then into the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, I sliced some rectangles of “new” soap for us to use around the house. They’re not pretty, but, by golly, I feel happy about our “no waste” success story. As a result of mixing the differently scented soaps, you might wonder if the new scent is unusual, but it’s not. It just smells floral and what you might expect of soap.
I’ll keep buying new bars of the handmade soaps from local vendors, to be sure, but will rotate in some of our own recycled soap too. And, of course, keep saving those scraps.