Milling soap or re-batching soap is taking already made soap and re-batching it into a completely new product by grating it, melting it, and then adding any additional colors, fragrances or additives.
We played with Ivory Soap some months ago, by puffing it up into a cloud in the microwave oven; we used a melt and pour base to make gift soaps with Lego bricks and sea shells inside but today we’ll cover re-batching home made soap.
My first batch of home made soap was a simple white Bastile soap only slightly scented with lemon essential oil.
I made plenty of it and, after curing it for a couple months, I thought I could spare a few chunks for this fun activity with my kids.
The kids wanted to make cupcake soaps and choose their own fragrances and colors. I wanted to add some delicate ingredients that don’t stay at their prime when in contact with the lye solution in CP Soap making (rose petals, lavender buds, citrus essential oils, colors that are extremely ph sensitive (like blue).
Well there’s no lye in rebatching soap so I thought we should be able to add, whatever we fancy.
So here’s how to re-batch previously made soap.
Children (over 4) can help with most of the steps, but must be aware that handling hot things is required.
Things necessary for re-batching soap with kids:
- Chunks of soap (white is best),
- Cheese grater,
- Heat resistant, oven or boiling plastic bags;
- Big pan for boiling water;
- Soap molds;
- Towels, oven mitts, winter gloves … whatever hand protection one can think of
- Optional: essential oils, soap coloring or food coloring; dry leaves, flower petals, toys, sea shells, etc…
- Finely grate the soap;
- Divide it into heat proof plastic bags. Use as many bags as required. We wanted to make four colors so we used 4 plastic bags.
- Bring to boil a large pan with plenty of water and reduce the heat to get a gentle simmer.
- Back to the bags of grated soap… add some water (or milk) … just enough liquid to thoroughly wet the grated soap.
- Close the bag tightly with the twist-tie and put it the large pot of simmering g water
- Check on the bags of soap in 30 minutes or so. Pick the bags up and (using towel to protect the hands) squish the soap around in the bag.
- When the soap feels squishy and homogenous, put the bags onto the counter and open them up. Add the additives, fragrances or desired colors .
- Close the bag back up and give it to the kids to squish it some more to get the colors really well mixed inside. The paste inside the bags will be hot so handling the bags will require oven gloves, winter mitts, or simply towels.
- When the soap paste looks and feels like soft play dough, leaving the bag tightly closed, snip off the corner of the bag with a pair of scissors. Using the bag like a pastry bag, squish the soap into the molds.
- You may need to mash the soap down with a spoon, and make sure to tap the molds on the counter to help the soap settle.
- Let the soap harden for 24 hours or so. If it’s still soft after 24 hours, put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. It ill pop out of the mold easily after some time in the fridge. Let it cure until it’s hardened completely.
- How much extra cure time you’ll need to add will depend on how much extra liquid you added.
Here’s a few more fun activities for children:
- Making melt and pour soap
- Helping mom bake cakes
- Learning to manage their finances
- Learning a new language