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Using up ALL the bar soap

By Karina | March 25, 2009

barofsoap.jpgOne of the Tiny Choices I’ve been making for a while is to only use bar soap when I can – there’s far less waste, and it’s easy to find lots of lovely local handmade soaps out there to try. Of course, I do end up with lots of soap slivers as the bar wears down, and it’s hard to use them up entirely before they get think and slippery and you lose them down the drain. Plus, I’ve got a few tail ends of shampoo bars lying around, and a couple of bars that just didn’t work out for me – and as I clean out my bathroom cabinets I’ve been finding lots of travel sized soaps that were liberated from hotel rooms.

Right now I’m at the end of yet another bar of soap, and I’d like to figure out how to use up these slivers in some way. Plus, I noticed this “bar soap to liquid soap” converter in the Vermont Country Store catalog recently (I LOVE this catalog, it’s my absolute favorite). The catalog says:

Here’s a thrifty idea: recycling your collection of soap slivers into liquid soap, for all kinds of uses. Just add soap slivers to the container and the reusable beads help liquefy them… Add soap slivers to container, add warm water as needed, add pack of beads, shake to blend.

Unfortunately, the container is polypropelyne and those reusable beads (weird!) are polystyrene. Plus there’s a couple of currently unused liquid soap dispensers running around my house, so I really don’t need to acquire any more. I took a look to see what the internet said, and found a few ways to make bar soap slivers into dish soap – either by soaking the soap in water and then blending, or by boiling in water until it was softened and liquid. (Both of these methods remind me a little of the dish soap recipe I found, actually, and I wonder if it would be a better way to go about making dish soap.)

There’s also instructions for making new bars of soap from old, and Treehugger posted a prototype for a soap sliver holder that will lather up – I’m not sure if it’s been made yet, but you couldjust stick your soap slivers into an old nylon and hang it near your sink as well.

I’m leaning towards saving the slivers and melting them the low-tech (i.e., soaking and then blending) way into some liquid soap. Hopefully it will be wildly successful!

Have you found a way to use up your soap slivers? Tell us your experiance!

[[Photo by flickr user B.G. - Oodwin via creative commons license.]]

Topics: Health, Home | 19 Comments »

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Comment by Jenn S.
2009-03-25 07:17:50

I just use the soap slivers to aid my tub and tile scrubbing in the bathroom – it’s simple enough to moosh a small sliver into the scrub brush and go to town on the tile, rinse, and then I spray with vinegar water for anti-mold protection.

Comment by Adrienne
2009-03-25 07:25:56

Just stick the bit of leftover bar onto the new bar while they’re both wet. By the time they’re dry they’re pretty securely stuck together.

Comment by Brandy
2009-03-25 08:28:38

Yup, I do the same!

Comment by Ashley Sue
2009-03-29 13:04:29

I do this too! To make it stick a little better to the new bar, I use the washcloth thing to scrub one side of the new bar, hence sudsing up my cloth while creating a texture on the soap for the sliver to grab hold of. Sure enough, I think stick the sliver to it and press slightly, and by my next shower, It’s just one bar. :)

Comment by greta
2009-03-25 11:16:14

i usually do the wet-and-stick method mentioned above, but i’ve also seen recommendations for soap savers – little cloth sacks, like a washcloth with a pocket, to put your soap in. i’m sure there are a ton on Etsy, but they would also be easy to make (sew an old washcloth, or knit/crochet one). you then scrub with the sack, the soap lathers through the fabric… this would keep your slivers going until they’re gone!

Comment by Bronwen
2009-03-25 11:36:05

When I was little my grandma saved the slivers, melted them down, and made new bars of soap. They were the ugliest bars of soap ever, because my grandma was not loyal to any particular brand of soap and just bought what was on sale, so there were usually at least three different colors of soap melted together.

If you cut a slit into a fat sponge with an x-acto knife you can stick a sliver of soap into it and it will lather up nicely.

Comment by martha in mobile
2009-03-25 17:01:18

FWIW, my daddy used to keep a glass of water with a finetooth comb and the soap sliver in it. He would slick his hair back with the soapy water; when it dried, it would hold his hair back. I remember the consistency was like dish soap.

Comment by Roxanne
2009-03-25 22:57:43

Growing up, we always used up all the slivers. My mom would fold a wash cloth in half and sew along the long edge and one short edge, making an open bag. Slivers were added to the bag and we lathered up with those in the tub.

My sister and I did this from the time we were tiny, and when I was little I didn’t realize this was something my mom came up with. I thought it was normal, and thought everyone had washcloth bags full of slivers.

Comment by Handmade Librarian
2009-03-27 11:50:31

About a year ago we decided to stop buying harsh detergents One result of this decision was the creation of a “soap jar” at the kitchen sink. The soap jar is a repurposed jam jar, about half full of water, into which go all the smallest slivers and bits of soap. The slivers soften and eventually dissolve in the water with no further effort, and this soapy liquid make a great dish soap. This is easier than any other way I’ve tried to turn solid soap into soft soap, it’s also a dead easy way to use up soap slivers, and (duh!) it’s way gentler on my hands than the old caustic dish detergents were!

Comment by Yolanda
2009-06-21 21:53:46

I save up my soap slivers until I think I have about 1 bar total. Then, using my food processor I grate the soap and then add 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup borax and blend it all in the processor. I use 2 Tablespoons of this per load of laundry and it works wonderfully and is very inexpensive! If I don’t have enough soap slivers I either use ivory or my homemade soap or Ivory soap.

2009-11-16 06:00:48

[...] I haven’t started in the kitchen, like many people have, but in the bathroom. For starters I use bar soap, because I can find soaps that aren’t packed in plastic or in paper. I made do with a [...]

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2009-12-01 15:24:25

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Comment by Herb Master
2011-04-11 21:21:31

We do this often… weekly during Saturdays the whole house is getting a general cleaning to dispose of unnecessary things and look for recyclable materials, one of those are “left-over-soaps” as mom would call…Naturally these body soaps doesn’t smell the way they are days ago but they are still good disinfectants. Grate them and mix with chlorine or lysol for better smell, great for scrubbing kitchen, bathroom, and patio floors…. And Voila!!! Clean, health and pocket friendly home…. :)

Comment by Eddie Ward
2011-04-13 09:44:53

I gather up all the soap silvers in a spray bottle. I then dilute it with water. Now,here’s a golfing tip I share to my clients. I tell them to spray the soap solution to their clubs when they clean it.

Comment by Joey
2011-04-15 17:56:36

What I do is get a new bar, get both of them wet and squish the sliver on top of the new bar. If you do it right, they will meld together when they dry and you can use the new bar with the old soap attached.

Comment by nosounique
2011-11-15 13:15:46

I bought the polystyrene beads years and years ago. The container has long since “bit the dust,” but the beads keep on softening my husband’s huge “slivers” of bar soap that are used in the recycled soft soap containers from years and years ago. No grating, no heating, just a funnel and small piece of tulle to recover the beads when transferring to the pump container.

Comment by Maestra Madre
2012-01-14 22:15:25

I just tried using a fine plastic mesh garlic bag that I filled with soap slivers and sewed off at the end. I think tying it with a string or pretty ribbon would hold better for next time. It makes great lather, lasts a long time, and is using up all my soap slivers! I go this basic idea from a friend who mentioned that his grandmother used to make little soap sliver bags.

2012-06-04 06:03:49

With all the environmental issues today and the green house effect people should learn how to use organic prods and recycle. Imagine how much people can help save the environment while trying to save up on household costs? makes sense right?

Comment by Jane
2012-06-17 16:48:58

How often would he change the water


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