#108 Make Soap (yes, really!)

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

With the Omicron peak waning, most of us happily vaccinated and lockdowns and restrictions a thing of the past, adventures far from home beckoned. So this month’s blog should have been about fresh fields, exotic travel, excitement, restaurants and glamour.

And yet here I am, explaining how to

#108 Make Soap (yes, really!)

Constructing new cakes of soap out of neglected, leftover shards of old soaps is reminiscent of the sad, lonely, lockdown-type activities of 2020 or 2021, but due to a recent spontaneous fracture in my leg (insultingly called an ‘insufficiency fracture’ as though I neglected to care for my bones sufficiently) I’m on ‘minimal-weight-bearing-until-it-heals’ orders from the orthopaedic surgeon.

And so it’s back to finding new activities that can be done without venturing from home. Or walking really.


So I scoured the internet to find instructions on how to convert all the bits and pieces of old soaps I’d found in the bathroom cabinet into brand new hearty bars of soap.

Gather together about a cup of old leftovers. It speeds up the process to shave or grate them into smallish pieces, as I discovered too late.

Place them in a saucepan, cover with cold water and leave overnight till the mixture becomes a slushy mess.

Add a tablespoon of olive or vegetable oil and a few drops of a fragrant essence or lemon zest and stir over medium heat until all the soap has melted. It can take a while โ€”up to 30 minutes.

It helps to have a jazzy stirrer like this, but a wooden spoon works too

It ends up looking like the smooth custard you’d prepare for a Portuguese tart, but sadly cannot taste.

So appealing as it bubbles away!

Add a few drops of food colouring and pour into silicon moulds to set:

(I overdid the pink a bit)

Leave for 24 hours, then remove from the moulds and dry on a wire rack for a few more days before using.

The websites I found speak of packaging these small soaps in pretty shapes adorned with ribbons and giving them away as gifts,

but although they’ve been sterilised by boiling for ages, I’m a bit uncomfortable about forcing them onto unsuspecting friends. And they’d not win any beauty contests.

However, to my surprise, the fully dried cakes of soap work extremely well and I’m excited to see if I can collect all the shards from this lot to create even more batches in the future.

It will, of course, follow the laws of diminishing returns, but I’m hopeful it may be some time before I ever have to buy soap again.

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