Monday, April 5, 2010

Soap End Bits Body Wash: DIY!

Ever since my adventure making soap last year (see here for the post!), we have made the switch to bar soap. Growing up, I assumed that most men required pump soap to bother washing their hands (sigh, obviously that was only in my family). Although Andrew did confess that he preferred the fun of foamy pump soap, he conceded to showcasing my ugly, handmade soap bars. And we just never went back. Now we buy local handmade soap- no plastic, no chemicals and no waste.

Well sort of. Ever wonder what you should do with all those bitty soap ends? For a while now I've been saving them. Weird, after a post about 'letting go', but I've had this strange collection of soap bits slowly amassing over the past six months. (rejected shampoo bars and soap ends) Initially they were dumped into a bright orange teacup next to the kitchen sink- supposed to be my 'kitchen soap'. Except no one wanted to use them. So they sort of sat there and looked a bit like beige grossness.

Recently I noticed that my BISH shampoo had gone rancid (trust me, it's pertinent). You may remember how excited I was to find a locally made, chemical-free shampoo in GLASS bottles. Well, a good two weeks of trial, and I gave up; high maintenance hair had won again. Over the past six months I've been using it periodically as body wash... and thank goodness I noticed the consistency change or I would have dumped rancid shampoo all over me! Guess it really didn't have preservatives (which is kinda cool).

As I was cleaning out the bottle, I wondered what it could replace. I really wanted it to replace something that I had a difficult time finding sans plastic, which handsoap really wasn't an issue. Also, body lotion, although a fun project, was a bit daunting in this busy time.

I know- BODY WASH! I have never been a bar soap body wash kinda gal. Having it chemical-free in a glass renewable container would be perfect. Even better- if I could make it from stuff I have at home!

After a quick (not very thorough) search, I realized that there was only one place I had read you could melt grated soap bits into water for instant, lazy liquid soap. On my friend Sarah's blog- Followingmearound. All other recipes called for liquid soap from scratch. I also really wanted this body wash to be moisturizing and to smell yummy. So, true to my haphazard style of cooking and baking (which drives Andrew crazy!) I just figured I'd dump a bunch of stuff in and see what happens.

Here's mostly her guidelines with a few of my comments:

1. Grate approximately 3oz of soap bits into a bowl. Don't know how much that is? Well, thankfully for myself, Andrew is a type A cook-er guy who loves gadgets. Including a digital scale! I'd guess it was about 1.5 to 2 cups. Also, grating soap is a lot easier than you'd expect, except for trying to avoid grating your fingers...

2. Boil 3 to 4 cups of water. I boiled four... not sure if I should have.

3. Dump grated soap bits into the water and stir. Here's where it started to fall apart, as Sarah didn't specify how long I should stir, and if it would thicken with stirring at a boil or all by itself. 

4. The next step was supposed to be 'when it thickens, give it one last stir and let set over night'. Except, after 45 minutes of boiling, it had reduced sure, but was still pretty watery. I gave up and let it set overnight hoping it would thicken.

5. Nope, didn't really thicken. However, it was fairly soap-y, so I thought I could continue on.

6. I added a few drops of peppermint essential oil and a big squirt of jojoba oil (um, three tbsp maybe?). A few stirs and I poured into the bottle.

The result? Well, even though it was a bit watery, really it was fantastic body wash, lathered well and was relatively easy to make!

So there you have it, instant use for soap end bits! By the time I run out of body wash I should have a nice collection of new soap ends to boil down again- perhaps I should email Sarah and actually ASK her what I did wrong lol.

Happy Monday! Now it's time to go out, purchase some dirt, worm poo and lettuce seeds.....

article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. This is a fantastic idea! I am going to do the same when I have enough soap bits accumulated.

  2. I'm not really sure where to post this, but I just came across your blog and wanted to say hi! I've been practicing yoga for about a year, living at a yoga and meditation center in Thailand.

    Thanks for your posts, they're inspirational and encouraging!! It's always nice to meet people on the journey!

    Also, I've always wanted to try to make my own soap!! So cool. :-)

    Thanks again and good luck with practice!


  3. I'm impressed! Anything involving homemade bar soap is awesome to me, watery or not! I make body wash and hand soap out of castile soap, so ours is always really watery, but we don't mind, and it's super cheap.

    Can't wait to hear about your garden endeavors! I'm excited to say that I'll be posting on worm poo today! Lots to share!

  4. cool, i should probably do this with my old soap bar that is looking pretty gross.

  5. How wonderful! Thanks for the detailed descriptions...we end up with countless little bits left around (which usually turn into "play" soap for the kiddos or hopelessly stuck to the sink or counter) - this sounds like a fairly easy and fun use for those!

  6. What a fun adventure. I may have to try this. I am STILL experimenting with my hair but feel very good about the mixed results and less waste/plastic. I plan to blog about it at some point in time. Happy Monday ;-)

  7. Hmmm...I tend to keep using soap ends, sometimes trying to graft them onto a new bar of soap...which doesn't usually work so well...until they get small enough that they accidentally go down the drain...which I guess is kinda similar to what you're talking, like, a lazy guy kinda way...

  8. Clever! You go, eco yo!

  9. Thanks for sharing this. I never know what to do with the tiny bits of soap that are left behind. I'm going to try this for sure and I even have a nice glass bottle to put it in.

    Anytime you're at the university in Church Point have the receptionist buzz me and I'll come down to visit with you... I wasn't here last Thursday but next time :-)

  10. "Weird, after a post about 'letting go', but I've had this strange collection of soap bits slowly amassing over the past six months."

    Heh heh, isn't it funny how we contradict ourselves? :) I am totally the person who uses those little tiny bits of soap until they disintegrate in my hands. So Yoga Cynic - guess it's not just a lazy guy thing... maybe just a lazy thing. :)

  11. I'm currently using some homemade body wash that I made using homemade soap and water. I used hot water and a blender, as per an internet recipe. Yeah, the blender makes it really sudsy! I think I'd just use hot water or put it on the stove next time, no blender! I think I'll try adding some jojoba oil to it to see if I like it better. It suds nice at first, but then it gets unsudsy. We seem to be going through it really fast too because it's so watery. Maybe I'll just stick to a bar of soap next time and make body wash out of the ends of it like you did! I have a few bars of Kiss My Face pure olive oil soap that I need to use up.

  12. This is a great idea! I will have to try this.


  13. Haha I love this---and it sounds like it turned out pretty well. I had to chuckle in the beginning as my Granny always kept her soap bits too and they were some of the ugliest looking cumulations. But she always used them and we did too. :) Great suggestion though! We usually use our bar soap down to the last bit and then I stick the new bar on top of the last bit so it all melds together. Tends to work for the most part---but it could be due to the extra humidity from the shower. (We use bar soap in the shower only).

  14. great idea. much better than saving the bits and sqishing them together into a soap ball where the pieces just fall off when you use it (that's what I sometimes do).

  15. If you add a 1/2 Tbsp -1 Tbsp of Glycerin (from the drug store) it will help tighten that up for you and it will be less watery.


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