Reusing soap pieces
recycle, reuse and save money with those soap scraps
When I had my store, reusing soap pieces didn't get done at first, as we would have flats of leftover pieces of soap. From the slab ends to the shavings.
Not wanting to waste, we would sell the good sized but rough looking soap ends for a dollar. With the hotel sized pieces to the 1/4 bar sizes, we donated those to local charities like the food bank. Next were the even smaller pieces, probably good for almost a weeks worth of use, but because we had so many, we would toss these out. One day a friend who worked at the youth center saw these on the dumpster and quickly retrieved them saying that the kids would love these. We had thought no one would want these little sized pieces. But now, you may have a lot of these pieces, either from making soap, or from just collecting it over the years.
I have four solutions for you.
#1: If you already make soap, you just need some of your soap base, and stir in all these little pieces. The heat of the soap base will help to soften the pieces so they mix in well. You may wish to scent this batch as the scent from the assorted pieces don't create a strongly scented bar. If you are making a same size batch of soap as usual, make sure there is room for all the soap pieces without overflowing the mold (did that myself).
#2: If you would like an easier method for reusing soap pieces and to make soap, perhaps this way would work well for you. Melt and pour soap, also known as glycerin soap, would make a nice base for your soap pieces. Simply melt the base, add your pieces, add some scent and color if wanted, then pour into the mold. You could use this soap the next day if you like, unlike the first method, where you would have to wait the usual cure time. The above image shows a glycerin bar with different colored glycerin base on the bottom, then pieces added and blended.
#3: Grating all of your soap pieces and placing them in a pot, adding water, and letting the heat and water soften the pieces to where you can pour, or spoon, this newly blended soap base into a mold. With this method, you could also make soap balls, like they did in the old days, but wear gloves. These would be ready to use as soon as they hardened, perhaps a week.
The visual aspects of reusing soap pieces into new bars will depend on the base and size of pieces that you use. Often in rebatching, the soap pieces are grated, which makes and blending easier, and creates a pretty mottled effect. On the other hand, using chunks makes a nice effect too when the bars are cut and colored squares are showing. When I used the shavings, these would appear like lots of little layers in the soap.
#4 (3 ways): There are a couple of new inventions, and one old one, created for the purpose of reusing soap pieces, and these are:
1) A 'soap bank' found at the Treehugger website, resembling a basketball hoop where you place the little soap bits into a mesh bag and will lather up when rubbed.
2) The other is a 'liquid soap maker', where you place your soap bits, add water, shake and use like a pump.
3) And there is the soap bag, store bought ones are often made of mesh, and handmade ones are often knitted or crocheted.
When I did reuse the soap trimmings at the store, we had four categories for the pieces, being earthy (like sandalwood), citrus (all citrus and lemongrass), flowery (all flower scents like lilac and lavender) and medicinal (like peppermint, tea tree, rosemary). Also, the colors of these groups would complement when all put together into a new soap base, for example, the floral scents were usually pastel and looked nice all blended together.