How to Recycle Bar Soap and Make New Bars

The process of recycling soap bars and making them into new soap is called rebatching. This process involves shredding up the old bars, reforming and reshaping them into new bars. The optimal soap to use for this process is plain white soap that is neither perfumed or dyed. However, if you have leftover soap from a soap-making project that went awry, you can use that as well.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 lb. of bar soap
  • Cheese grater
  • Microwave-safe glass bowl
  • 4 oz. of water
  • Three to six drops of food coloring
  • Wooden spoon
  • Plastic wrap
  • Microwave
  • Oven mitts
  • 1 tsp. of dried herb of choice
  • 1 tsp. fragrance or essential oil
  • Heat-resistant plastic molds
  • Decorative paper and ribbons
Bars of soap
Bars of soap (Image: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)

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Step 1

Shred the bars of soap with an old cheese grater. Place the shreds in a microwave-safe glass bowl. Add the water and food coloring. Stir gently with a wooden spoon.

Cheese getting grated
Cheese getting grated (Image: Christopher Craig/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 2

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the microwave. Melt the mixture in the microwave. Use a medium setting and melt for three minutes.

Microwave oven
Microwave oven (Image: Brian Jenkin/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 3

Use oven mitts and remove the bowl from the microwave. Check the soap and see if it has melted. Stir with the wooden spoon, if necessary. Melt in the microwave in three-minute increments until the mixture is translucent and easily stirred. The water should be well incorporated into the mixture.

Oven mitt on table
Oven mitt on table (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Step 4

Remove the glass bowl from the microwave. Sprinkle the dried herbs on top of the mixture and stir in using the wooden spoon. Make sure the herbs are thoroughly incorporated.

Dried herbs on table
Dried herbs on table (Image: Shawn Hempel/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 5

Add the fragrance or essential oil and stir in gently with the wooden spoon.

Lavender oil
Lavender oil (Image: Julien Grondin/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 6

Scrape the soap mixture into heat-resistant molds. Pack the soap down well and smooth the tops with the wooden spoon. Cover the molds with plastic wrap and let the soap set until cool. You can speed up this process by placing the molds in the refrigerator.

Bread mold
Bread mold (Image: MSPhotographic/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 7

Remove the soap from the mold. If you haven't used a bar mold, cut the soap loaf into bars and allow to air-dry for a week. After a week, package the soap in decorative papers and add a ribbon tie if desired.

Soap with paper and ribbon
Soap with paper and ribbon (Image: yatigra/iStock/Getty Images)

Tips & Warnings

  • Always use hot mitts or potholders when handling the glass bowl. Be careful when handling the hot soap mixture; it can easily burn your skin.


  • "The Everything Soapmaking Book;" Alicia Grosso; F&W Publications; 2007
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