Waste Not . . .

By , June 4, 2019

As you can imagine, we live our lives by the old saying, “Waste not, want not.” We put that into practice every day in many ways, Little, if any, resources go to waste on our homestead.

Milling soap

Aly stirs soap scraps in a double boiler (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

In fact, I was raised with this saying, although I could never seem to get it quite right. I never knew if the saying went “waste not, want not,” meaning, if one wastes nothing, one never wants for anything, or if it was the other way around: “want not, waste not.” In other words (and it’s hard to argue against the child logic of such a configuration): “If you don’t want it, don’t waste it.” Far more direct, don’t you think? And, each configuration remains true to the spirit of the original.

In any case, Aly and I took some time yesterday to mill our soap trimmings.

Because we finish the homemade soap bars we sell by beveling the sharp edges of each cake, we end up with a fair amount of trimmings.We don’t trim much from each commercial cake, but after a while, those trimmings do add up.

We’ve used these in various ways over the years. Michelle sometimes mixes them with a fair amount of water, to make liquid soap for our soap jug at the sink. Sometimes, if they’re soft enough, we simply mash them into balls of hand soap.

This time around, we milled it.

We’ve milled soap before, particularly to change a bad batch (see Milling Homemade Soap). Luckily, we only had to do that once. The project proved easy, but rather tedious.

This time around, we had some soap molds. We had a little extra raw soap from our last batch, so we poured it into one of the molds, getting a nice novelty cake for our troubles. We decided to mill the trimmings and mold a few bars for home use the same way.

We made a double boiler and heated the trimmings in a Pyrex measuring bowl with about 1/2 cup of water. We stirred constantly until it had all melted down, removed it from heat, and added some essential oil. The trimmings came from all of our soap varieties, and we’ve learned that milling reduces the original fragrance. We chose something that would blend with, but cover most or all of the other fragrances, and added about 20 drops of that, stirred it up, and packed it into molds.

We let them sit overnight, then tried to pop one out. It was a disaster! That’s no problem. We need soap, we don’t need it to be shaped a certain way. And, we don’t need soap so soon that we can’t set the other molds aside to harden longer before trying to remove those pieces. It’s all good.

milled soap

Okay, admittedly, this isn’t what we had in mind. But, it’ll still keep us clean! (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger.)

Obviously, at this point at least, they’re not the prettiest soaps we’ve made, but they’ll do, and at least those trimmings won’t go to waste.

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