That’s right. This post was going to be titled Shred & Pour: Recycling Soap Ends, but the universe had other ideas.
What was to be a simple exercise in melting those little pieces of unusable soap that are left over at the end of the bar turned into an exercise in frustration and stinky kitchens.
My grandmother always used to save those useless ends of soap and put them into a bowl. Then she would add little sprinkles of water and press down on the mixture now and then, allowing the soap ends to sort of cream together. It was then possible to put your hand into the bowl and scoop out enough soap to wash your hands with.
A few years ago I decided that I would do the same but, having recently discovered soap-making, I though that I would melt all of those little pieces of soap together and pour the mixture into new soap molds.
All I can say is that it worked fine last time, the result being cute little bars of pastel green soap with tiny chunks of other solid colors mixed in.
This time….well I’ll get to that.
So here were the original instructions that I was going to give you……DON’T FOLLOW THESE!!!
- Recycling Soap Ends
Soap ends from old bars of soap
A Double-boiler or
a microwave-proof glass measuring cup with pour spout
Scented oil (such as amber, patchouli or sandalwood)
Food coloring (if desired)
1. Grate soap ends as small as possible using the cheese grater.
2. Place soap ends into the top of the double boiler so that they fill a little less than half the pan.
Alternately, place them in the measuring cup to the same height.
3. Add three drops of scent and one drop of food coloring.
4. Heat over double boiler (or in microwave) at low heat until the soap becomes liquid. IT WILL BE HOT!!!
5. Stir a little, pour or spoon into molds.
6. Place into fridge to harden.
UNFORTUNATELY, I don’t have a double-boiler and although, in theory, you can create one simply by placing a smaller pan inside of a larger pan. I have discovered that this doesn’t work well when the pans have insulated bottoms, as all of my pans do. So I opted for the microwave method.
The whole mixture smoked something awful in the microwave, and still I persevered.
I kept cooking and cooking, waiting for the melt.
I added a few drops of water and it seemed to initiate a melt.
I removed and stirred to break up the chunks and still had to cook more.
I eventually got a brown gooey mess that resembled melted soap and so proceeded to pour it into the molds (which I had borrowed from someone.) There it proceeded to melt right through the pretty shapes and onto my counter.
I tried to pour the last bits into metal mold shapes, but they smelled so burnt that I had to throw them away. Ahhh…frugality gone wrong…
So my new directions are:
Add the soap ends to store-bought glycerin soap chunks that are specifically designed for microwave soap-making and make sure to use a soap thermometer. Either that or get some metal molds, because those plastic soap molds and soap end recycling simply do not mix!
Oopsy, oh well. ;) I’m off to buy replacement molds.