E pluribus -- wait, how do you say 'soap' in Latin again?
May 13, 2012 10:22 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to combine small shards of soap, the pale remnants of larger bars, into one usable bar?

The process should not:

*stink up my apartment

*be ridiculously expensive

*ruin a piece of cookware

*involve significant fire risks

*imbue the finished product with a girly odor. The soap in question is the Irish Spring brand; that's what I prefer and the finished product should reflect its basic qualities.

Happy Mothers' Day! Thanks for your help.
posted by jason's_planet to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Does it have to be a bar? If not, I'd get a squeeze bottle and put all the shards in there with a bit of water to make a sort of Irish Spring Body Wash. (Actually, I'd probably throw away the shards and spend a dollar on a new bar of soap, but I get that some people care about money and/or the environment more than I do.) So yeah, squeeze bottle and water. Shake and use.
posted by decathecting at 10:24 AM on May 13, 2012


You could just stick them together while wet and let them dry. They'll merge and become one.

Long time ago I learned to just stick the thin sliver of the previous soap onto the back of the new one, let dry and use. So much easier than saving up scraps and using whatever voodoo they use to make them into a bar.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:25 AM on May 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


Put them inside a mesh bag/nylon stocking/soap mitt/felted wool cover?
posted by peagood at 10:28 AM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Take your microwave outside. Run an extension cord to it. Make a dish out of crumpled aluminum foil. Make a soap souffle.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:39 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm with Serene Empress Dork--in our house, the slender shard of the last bar of soap gets grafted on to the next bar of soap. It's quick, foolproof and permanent.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:40 AM on May 13, 2012


Here's another way to turn a bar into liquid.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:42 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Though if you really want to melt them to make one bar, this recipe only calls for the addition of some oil, so here is a blog post from the ever-frugal Hillbilly Housewife. I haven't tried this, though I have taken a soap making course.

Here is her method:
* Gather together at least 1 cup of soap slivers.
* Place the soap slivers in a small saucepan, cover with water, and let sit for about 8 hours.
* Stir the soap and water together (don’t use your wooden spoons).
* Place on burner turned to medium high and bring to a boil, watching closely and stirring constantly.
* Immediately turn down to simmer and stir constantly until soap pieces are melted, then remove from heat.
* Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil.

* Optional: You can stir in some raw whole oatmeal, orange zest, or other flavor or aroma, plus food coloring.

* Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.

* Pour melted soap into muffin tins, about half way up. Set aside to let firm, at least 24 hours. Then flip muffin tin over to remove. You can trim the soap bars if you like into other shapes and sizes.
posted by peagood at 10:42 AM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


The simplest solution when a bar runs out, is to simply bring a new one into the shower with you, use it, and while it's still wet add the old chunks onto it. This has the added benefit of giving you an uneven soap surface to use as the side you lay your soap down on so that the soap is able to dry and last longer.

Also,

E pluribus saponem
posted by Blasdelb at 10:42 AM on May 13, 2012


Not an immediate answer, but there's a successful Kickstarter campaign for a thing called STACK soap, which will be a soap designed to do this.
posted by mullacc at 10:46 AM on May 13, 2012


According to this book (from over a decade ago), this device — a "soap recycler" — may actually exist.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:49 AM on May 13, 2012


Look on Amazon - they are variously called soap bags, soap sacks, soap savers, and soap pouches. Some of them are scrubby textures, others are softer. Most run $5ish. You just chuck your bits in there, and they'll meld together pretty quickly. Bonus: most have hanging loops, so you can hang them from your shower caddy and they won't sit in a wet puddle.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:51 AM on May 13, 2012


If you already have a pile of soap chips just take any two containers that stack together like two plastic cups, put the chips in the bottom of one of them with a little water and give them time to soften, then put the other container in on top and squeeze and pound on it to press the chips into a cake shape. You could similarly do this with the sort of mold used to shape hamburger patties. No heat needed in my experience if you just let them soften in water first.
posted by XMLicious at 12:48 PM on May 13, 2012


An alternative to buying them is find someone who knits/crochets who will make you a soap sack. Because us yarncrafty people LOVE making that little stuff.

(Hell, if you have an address you're comfortable giving, I can whip one up and have it in an envelope for you in about an hour. What color would you like? :D )
posted by Heretical at 1:04 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I threw a bunch of soap scraps into one of those tiny little disposable bowls (Glad or Ziploc or whatever) with enough water to cover them, shook, waited a few days, then took the lid off to let the new soap blob dry enough to become firm instead of mushy.

Piggybacking the scraps onto the new bar works pretty well, too, especially if you buy a soap that has a depression on one side, like Dial, or (say) Irish Spring. You just lay the scrap in the concavity.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:20 PM on May 13, 2012


If you are going to do the soap sack, cut-off panty-hose works really well for that.
posted by CathyG at 3:35 PM on May 13, 2012


Serene Empress Dork has it.
posted by Decani at 5:12 PM on May 13, 2012


I have soap cast offs in a mesh bag some produce came in. It's great for serious scrubbing of bike grease and the like.
posted by advicepig at 5:39 PM on May 13, 2012


Putting fatty soap into aluminum and microwaving it is a horrible idea, for the record
posted by MangyCarface at 7:00 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and to give a real answer, you use a double-boil situation; boil some water in a huge pot, float a smaller container on top of it, put chunks of soap in the smaller container
posted by MangyCarface at 7:01 AM on May 14, 2012


I think I'm going to give the soap sack/soap mitt option a try.

Thanks to everyone who responded! I appreciate it!
posted by jason's_planet at 6:47 PM on May 14, 2012


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