Learn How to Handmill Soap
What is rebatching soap? Rebatching or hand milling is the act of reprocessing a previously made batch of soap.
Why would anyone want to do this? Here are a few reasons.
- To use up leftover soap bits.
- To repair a batch of soap that is short on ingredients or just plain ugly.
- To economize on expensive essential oils. ie. rose absolute.
I hadn't had much success in the past with rebatching soap. My last attempt was a stove top method that I wouldn't recommend to anyone. It was a dismal failure to say the least.
When I came across the crockpot method, I thought, "Hey, this might just work!" and I decided to gave it a try.
What I really wanted to know was if I could do it or not. If needed, could I repair a batch of soap?
Yes, I can and so can you!
I must admit that half way through the process, I thought I had failed.
It looked like an ugly mess and I was ready to call it quits but I followed through and put the mix into the mold anyway and let it cool.
The resulting cut soaps were surprisingly smooth and the color wasn't too bad either.
Next time I will pay more attention to the colors of soap I'm using and how they will blend together. Adding a little yellow or blue colorant would have brightened up the green nicely I think.
Crockpot Method of Rebatching
I found this method much easier than the standard stove top method and the oven method.
- Grate up the soap to be rebatched and place into your crockpot.
- I added about 3 tablespoons of water because some of my soaps were a little dry and to help prevent scorching.
- Turn on the crockpot to high (or lower if it will burn) and put the lid on the pot.
- Keep an eye on the soap to make sure it is melting and isn't burning.
- Once the grated soap bits are transparent, you can add your color, oil or scent.
- Just gently mix the additives in and when it is blended, spoon it into your mold.
- Some people add a small amount of goats milk, whole milk or coconut milk to make the soaps creamier.
- Notice how mine looks incredibly ugly? Don't panic like I did.
- I found it to be like thick porridge and a little difficult to work with.
- You'll want to work quickly so the mix doesn't cool before you get it all in the mold.
- Once it has cooled completely, it can be cut and cured as usual.
Rebatching soap is definately not my preferred method of soapmaking but it's nice to know that I can repair a batch of soap, if necessary, rather than throw it away.
Now that I think about it, I may have to try this again.....I just love the smell of roses but can't afford to buy rose absolute in quantity. I wouldn't need much would I? Maybe a little bit of coconut milk as well. Hmmmm.....
Boil-n-Bag Rebatching Soap
This next idea for rebatching soap was suggested to me by Lane, a talented soapmaker who owns Luxury Lane Soap.
This method of rebatching soap is great because you don't have to worry about scorching and there is very little clean-up.
I would suggest using this method for hand milling small amounts of soap scraps. You can only fit so much into a ziplock bag.
- Grate up your soap scraps and mix up to blend different colors. Be aware of the possible color combination results. ie. Pink and green will make brown. Yellow and blue will make green.
- Place grated soap into a large freezer ziplock bag along with any extra oils, color, etc.
If the soap is really dry, you may want to add a small amount of water. One or two tablespoons should be enough.
Squeeze bag of air and seal. Place that bag into a second ziplock, squeeze and seal.
- Once the bag is sealed, place it into a pot of simmering water and put on the lid. Periodically check the bag to see if the soap is melting. Turn up the heat a little if nothing happens after 1/2 hour.
- When the soap begins melting, remove the bag and smoosh or squeeze the mixture to blend it. You may want to wear oven mitts or gloves to do this. It's HOT!
Return to pot until the mixture is completely melted.
- When the soap has melted completely, quickly remove the bag from the pot and squeeze the soap to one corner.
- Clip the corner of the bag at the bottom of the soap and pipe it into a lined soap mold to cool.
- Remove and cut the rebatched bars when the soap is completely cool and has hardened.
That's it.....you're done! Pretty cool, don't you think?