Sometimes I think I'm a bit too frugal. I've been saving up soap scraps in a mesh bag for a couple years now, without a solid plan of what to do with them. Finally, when the bag was overflowing, I did some research and realized you could make new bars of soap out of old soap scraps. So I tried it and the results were.... interesting. My new soaps are perfectly usable but not quite as wonderful as I was expecting. Let's just say, I won't be giving them as gifts!
There doesn't seem to be one tried and true recipe for making new soap out of old soap. Just follow these simple steps and be prepared to wing it depending on the type and amount of soap bits you have.
Start with a bunch of soap scraps. The more the merrier!
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.
Put the soap flakes in a microwave safe, glass container. Add a little bit of water - about 1 Tablespoon per cup of soap flakes (I did not measure mine). Keep in mind that the more water you add, the longer it will take your soap to dry in the mold. Microwave the 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.
As you can see from the photo below, I made two batches - one was smoother and one was more chunky. I actually like the chunky look because you can still see the colors from the different soaps. At this point you can add some essential oil scent if you would like. I added a lavender chamomile blend to one of my batches.
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. I've heard you can also use a bread pan and then cut the large soap into slices.
(This is not a pretty picture of my well worn muffin tin....)
Let your 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.
Like I said before, these "new" soaps are perfectly good but won't win any beauty contests. The pretty colors of the original soaps are largely gone and the resulting colors are a bit greyish. However, I've been using one in the bathroom and it works just fine! Next time though, instead of going to the effort of molding the soaps, I might just melt the scraps down and turn them into liquid hand soap or laundry soap.
(this post is linked up over at Your Green Resource)