About a year ago, we ditched over the counter body washes and face soaps and switched to all natural goat milk soap from Bend Soap Company.
It started because I struggled with acne. Two days of washing with goat milk soap and my acne-prone skin started to clear up.
Then I figured out how to turn it into a liquid soap (making washing my face at night much easier) and started shredding it to make my own laundry detergent.
Finally this past spring, I started washing my hair with goat milk soap. We essentially eliminated all of the various bottles with weird ingredients in the shower and use one all natural bar of goat milk soap for everything.
So then with four people in our house, as you can imagine, we’ve gone through MANY bars of soap. Which means I’ve collected MANY teeny tiny worn down soap scraps. But I can’t bring myself to throw them away!
No matter how small and seemingly insignificant, I know that it’s the small acts of savings that add up to big rewards. It’s re-purposing chicken bones into chicken stock. Turning carrot tops into pesto. Saving butter wrappers for greasing pans and making meals out of food scraps.
It’s using simple ideas like those to reign in out of control grocery budgets, and if we’re going to do natural living on a budget too, the same frugal mentality needs to carry over!
So what then do we do with all the little scraps of goat milk soap?
The easiest answer is to dump them into a loofah bag and wash your body with it. You’ll get awesome lather for sure, and you won’t have to worry about dropping little pieces on the shower floor all the time.
Another option is to purposely set those scraps aside and use those for the next batch of homemade laundry detergent.
And STILL another option is to use those scraps to make your own liquid face soap instead of grating from a new bar.
But I didn’t want to do any of those.
I already had shreds for laundry detergent (I bought a big bag of shreds just for that, in the lemongrass scent!). And my recipe for liquid face soap makes a big batch, so I still had plenty extra in a jar.
What I really needed was a plain ol’ bar of soap, just like I had when I first started. This meant I could wash my hair and my face like I normally do in the shower (the scraps are too small to hold – they get caught in my hair!) and put off buying more soap for just a few weeks longer.
Have you heard of milling soap? The concept is to take an existing bar of soap, melt it and pour it into a new bar of soap.
The idea is perfect for using up soap scraps, but it doesn’t work for all types of soap and it definitely didn’t work for my goat milk soap scraps.
That is until I found a trick! By adding one simple ingredient, I was able to melt all my soap scraps and create a bigger, practically new bar of goat milk soap!
How to Make Soap
Make Soap from Soap Scraps: Supplies
- 2+ cups goat milk soap scraps (or any soap), shredded or chopped into small pieces (the smaller the better)
- medium glass bowl (for a double boiler)
- medium saucepan (for a double boiler)
- soap molds OR a mini-loaf pan lined with parchment paper (see note below)
Make Soap from Soap Scraps: Method
Fill the saucepan halfway with water and bring it to a low boil. Place the soap shreds in the glass bowl, and the glass bowl on top of the saucepan.
The heat from the boiling water will begin to soften and melt the soap. If you are using goat milk soap, add 1 Tablespoon of water for every 2 cups of soap scraps. This helps the soap scraps bind to each other.
Gently stir the soap every few minutes or so. If you stir too often or too hard, you’ll make bubbles. You only want to stir so that the pieces of soap melt into each other and start to create one big lump of soap. If the soap does not start to melt into each other, add additional water 1 teaspoon at a time, up to 3 teaspoons.
When the soap is mostly smooth, turn off the burner. Note that the soap will likely not be entirely smooth. Some texture is normal.
Carefully pour the hot soap into the soap molds or a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
Note: 2 cups of soap scraps will fill 2-3 soap molds. If you don’t have soap molds, use a mini-loaf pan OR wait until you have at least 4 cups of soap scraps. Otherwise you’ll end up with really skinny bars of soap, which defeats the purpose of making new bars!
Initial Drying Time
Set the bars out to dry for about one week. The more water you added in the milling process, the longer the bars take to dry. A good rule of thumbs it to allow approximately 1 week of initial drying time per tablespoon of water. The soap might change colors as it dries and hardens. This is normal.
Secondary Drying Time
After the initial drying time, you can remove the soap from the mold or leave it there. In either case, let the new soap continue to dry for an additional 3 weeks.
For example, when I make this recipe as written, it takes one week of initial drying time before I can remove it from the mold without damaging the soap. I carefully remove it from the mold and let it dry for 3 more weeks before using it.
The whole process takes about 15 minutes from start to finish. When you’re done, you’ve made homemade soap for free!
Making soap from soap scraps is an excellent way to stretch your pennies and re-use items originally destined for the trash can. If you want, tell your family to save their soap scraps for you. You’ll be making more soap even faster, for no money out of pocket!
You can also do this same process with pre-shredded goat milk soap, in case you over-estimated what you thought you’d need (like me!).
The best part about this is that your finished milled soap will work just as well as the original bars!
What do you do with your soap scraps? Do you re-use them, or toss them?
Disclaimer: I received this same gift basket for review and was compensated for my time, but this in no way effected my opinion of this product. I only endorse companies and products we use ourselves and would recommend to a friend or family member. This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase through those links, you support the ministry of Crumbs without any additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Crumbs in this way! Read my full disclosure statement here.
I am also interested in switching to goat’s milk soap, especially for my daughter’s acne prone skin. Checked out the Bend Soap website but wanted to check with you first about which scent/type of soap bar you used to help your acne. I thought maybe the oatmeal or tea tree oil? Thank you.
Hi Barbara! Each person will react differently, but I’ve found best results with mint soaps or tea tree soaps. 🙂
Thanks so much for this! I recently went into a soap shop to get my mom some of her favorite soaps for Mother’s Day. As I have struggled with acne for six years the lady who owned the shop noticed this and gave me some goat’s milk soap for free! They were just little pieces cut off the ends of the bars they had recently made and were very difficult to use. So using this website I melted those scraps and made a bigger bar of soap to use. This has definitely helped to clear up my acne too. Thanks so much for your help!
You’re most welcome!
J says that one pint equals 2 8 oz cups, but my understanding of liquid measurement is that one pint is equal to 20 liquid ounces. I have been using these ratios for the past 60 years – and always found when we purchased milk (for example) by the pint, and wanted two cups, there was alway some left over. I’m using Australian measurements, which I believe are the same as British – not sure about US or Canadian – perhaps that is where the difference lies.
Our location could be the difference, Gail. Both pint and cups are volume measurement, and here in the US, 2 cups = 1 pint. It’s a fact here, like 2×2=4 would be. Interesting that measurements vary like this!
Love this soap post!
And you’ve got it – a pint is defined as 1/8 of a gallon, but a UK gallon is about 20% more than US.
This also means that if you “ordered a pint,” you’d get more beer in the UK and Canada 🙂
FYI quote from ANSI Blog: Why a Pint is Bigger in the UK than in the US https://blog.ansi.org/?p=158111
– The British Imperial fluid ounce is equal to 28.413 ml, while the US Customary fluid ounce is 29.573 ml.
– The British Imperial pint is 568.261 ml (20 fluid ounces), while the US Customary pint is 473.176 ml (16 fl oz).
– The British Imperial quart is 1.13 liters (40 fl oz), while the US Customary quart is 0.94 L (32 fl oz).
– The British Imperial gallon is 4.54 L (160 fl oz), while the US Customary gallon is 3.78 L (128 fl oz).
(You might even get a bit extra as a bonus in Australia, where they round the definition of a(n imperial) “pint” up to a (more evenly metric?) 570ml. But it might not be a bonus to get into how, depending on location, the definition of a “cup” can differ by 40%, ranging from 200ml (Japan) to 284 ml (UK).)
I came across this site while searching for a way to reuse all the little scraps of soap as well as all the assorted hotel soaps that I have accumulated that my husband hates using due to their miniature size. Up until now I have taken the scraps and put them inside those little mesh gossamer drawstring bags that you get free with some types of purchases. That works pretty well and gives you something to hold onto in the shower, as well as having the drawstrings to hang up the soap for drying between uses. This is all well and good for me, but I don’t think my husband is overjoyed. While he says we can afford a decent-sized bar of soap, I hate waste and would like to MAKE him some decent sized bars from scraps using your melting method. I have a mini tube pan that I’d like to use as a mold and put a rope through it to make a big, “manly” sized soap on a rope. Once I use these up, I might look at some of the more natural soap options out there on this website. Thanks for the instructions with the photos!
Have you thought of learning to make your own soap? I started this as a hobby a few years ago, and I can create a lovely batch of bars with luxury oils and essential oils for around $0.60 to $0.80 Canadian a bar, even down to $0.40/bar if I just go with a basic formulation of olive oil, coconut oil, and a hard oil like tallow, lard or palm. Soapmaking is no more complicated than baking, and it just requires some basic safety measure when working with lye as a catalyst. If you’re someone who really appreciates natural soap, making your own is the next step down the rabbit hole!
I like your blog. I stumbled across it when google about why Benzoly Peroxide is in the flour I just bought (you’re post on bleached vs unbleached flour was on the first page of search hits). Cheers,
Hi Tara! I haven’t thought about it, honestly. Between two littles and moving multiple times, it hasn’t been high on my radar. I wouldn’t put it past me to learn, but I do enjoy supporting others in their entrepreneurial efforts!
I am sorry I have a correction to my recipe above with the amount of caustic soda, it should read 250 g NOT 500g to the amounts of milk and fats and oil. My mistake was that I buy my caustic soda in 500g packs.
When handling caustic soda please be careful as it can burn even the fumes can cause discomfort. Always wear glasses if possible, and preferably gloves, or stand back and be near an open window or on a veranda with plenty of fresh air. If you do feel micro tinglings on your skin or even get some splashes, the antidote is immediately wash with soap and water or dab with vinegar to prevent painful burns.
Sorry about that. I still love making soap though, I find it as interesting as cooking.
I am with you on every word you say to save money in the household budget. Everything is worthwhile. I think it also enhances children’s knowledge and confidence to face the world, that they don’t have to rely on commercialism for daily living necessities.
With the milling soap method, did you notice you didn’t actually say what the secret ingredient was? But I worked it out, it is the water. I thought, that should have had more fanfare, for me.
I make my own goat’s milk soap from recycled oil and fats from local restaurants. I will give my recipe here, but first of all one should be familiar with making soap with the ‘cold process’ method.
I use 1 litre (1200mL or a little under 2 pints [ie 20oz to a pint) of goats milk bought in a carton from the grocery store, 1 llitre (=1kg) of melted clean fat, and 500ml vegetable oil with 500g of caustic soda crystals/powder. The trick with using any animal milk in soap making is to freeze it to a slush first and gently mix a little shush with the caustic soda until they are stirred together and then cooled before adding the melted fat and oil. The reason is to stop the milk from ‘burning’ brown with the heat of chemical-boiling caustic soda. If it does burn, it looks awful but works the same with beautiful results for the skin. Just don’t put it on show.
I do not use any colourants or fragrances, that is a personal choice, but if you do, use them, they have to be fat soluble. For example colourings from the kitchen for cakes are water based and will not hold together in the soap making process. Eucalyptus is a plant based oil, hence is an excellent fragrance to use -sparingly, if you like that. Pure orange or lemon oils should also be good.
I believe learning to make your own soap is economically worthwhile, it sure has been for me. The moulds are as you have already described, and certain plastics are good too. Never use aluminium muffin tins, they sizzle and melt away. Just be aware also that some plastics are not good because they too melt under the influence of caustic soda. Some margarine or butter containers are OK. I hope someone will have fun with making their own (goat) milk soap.
With all due respect, Ma’am, 1 pint=2 cups=16 ounces.
when my soap scraps are dry a week or so I put them into my old coffee grinder and grind them into powder/ Theni mix in enough water so I can make it into a ball and press it into a soap dish I bought at the dollar store after it dries enough a few days I take it out of the soap dish and continue drying it.now I have a brand new bar of soap.
I love Bends Goats milk soap but when I tried to make my own bars with their shredded soap, I was very disappointed. It did not really melt, just got soft so I could mash it into molds. Not what I expected. Currently I do not see the shredded soap nor do I see the bar “ends” you mention.
Hi Debra! Making bars with shredded soap won’t turn out like the original bars; the structure is completely different and will be “mold-able” as you mention. It’s great when you have lots of smaller scraps, but not really for re-constituting new bars. Keep an eye our for their ends and shreds – they come and go out of stock frequently. If you’re on my email list, I let everyone know when they have their big bulk sales!
Paul’s method is a good one. But to answer Jan who wondered what happened to her ‘bunch of assorted soap ends’ – it has to be remembered that most ‘soaps’ people buy these days are not natural soap, they are actually detergent bars. They behave a little differently to real soap which has been made from natural products as water, fat and oils (edible). If a detergent bar gets mixed with a real soap they are not going to be compatible. The point is, even a ‘batch of assorted ends’ though can still be useful for cleaning. If the end product is too hard, you can change direction -they can be broken down again and mixed with water and a little kerosene or turpentine, re-milled as before with a gentle heat, include a mix with some sort of abrasive like bicarb or Tartaric acid if you want, remold, -and use the semi jel for cleaning the bathroom and the like.
Much easier is to place your small scraps of soap in the sink with some very hot water on for 5 mins, then place them into a face cloth and pull edges together and twist and squeeze it all melts into 1 bar then use straightway
I haven’t tried this method Paul. Interesting!
i love saving things I save my lots of candles as well it is easy to by new wicks for them and the mixture of colours looks fantastic
I did this, using an old milk carton for a mold. After the soap had cooled and dried for a while, I removed the carton and cut the big block into smaller, soap-sized bars, and let them continue drying. Note these were not goat milk soaps, but a bunch of assorted soap ends.
Several weeks later, the soap had dried into hard, shriveled up deformed looking bars.
What did I do wrong? And/or, how can I correct this? Thanks!
Hi Jan – I’m not sure what you did wrong, but most milling soap tutorials (re-using scraps to make new bars) don’t call for adding water. That method didn’t work for goat milk soap, hence this tutorial includes using water. That would be my best guess – adding water for goat milk soap, not adding water for others.
Mrs A Stolz
As to soap scraps and what to do with them. Well first of all I make my own soap with the cold water process. The fats I get from local restaurants when it is too old to use for them anymore, they usually take it to the garbage tip – that’s when I get it for free. The soap scraps I use to wash up my dishes in the sink. I wish I had a ‘soap saver’ those handy little wire baskets with a handle for shaking, but every time I tried to get one from Lehmans non-electrical store, they had none in stock. I have punched holes in the bottom of a steel can and put a wire through the top to act as a handle and put the soap scraps into that – when I had a husband and tools to do that for me – he died. So now I simply squeeze the scraps together when they have been in the hot water for a while, easy, and throw it in the water, and fish it out when I think I have enough suds to do a good cleanup job. I always rinse my dishes and pans in hot water and then to drain and air dry. Best wishes Mrs A.
For years I have been adding little scrap bits of soap to a new bar of soap. It takes a shower or two to solidify the bond between the two, but I get to use every last bit of soap. My husband thinks that I am a little nutty. But he generally only uses about 3/4 of a bar of soap before he gives it to me to add to my soap bits. And if I didn’t do this, we would be wasting a whole lot of money.
I’m with you on this! That’s what I’ve always done, but my husband has so many little scraps that there are too many to press into the new bar of soap. I’m going to try to melt down the scraps into a new bar, I think this is a really good idea.
Thank you so much, I have all these weird little scraps and now I know what to do with them! I am anew soaper and every little bit of info helps.
How long does one bar of soap last with you using it for everything?? I just thinks it’s so cool!!
Hi Breck! One bar of soap lasts me about 3-4 weeks. I think it’s cool too! No more bottles hitting my feet in the shower! 🙂
Thanks, I been saving my soap scrapes for years now and can’t wait to give it a try.
Kyare - Team Crumbs
Edward, hope it works for you!
Perfect timing, as I have quite a collection of soap scraps that I’ve been saving. I’m going to use a muffin tin to mold mine. I love Bend Soap and wish they would bring back their lotion, they have been out for months.
Thanks for sharing this recipe 🙂
I haven’t seen bulk soap on the Bend Soap website in months! I wish they’d sell it again 🙁
Hi, I just made a double batch of “crumbs” laundry detergent – which I LOVE! Anyway, I was able to buy the shreds a few weeks ago. Maybe you could email the company?
Can I use a metal bowl?
SJ - Team Crumbs
Hi Lisa, Yes you can use a metal bowl! 🙂