This blog entry is about my handy-dandy repurposing of one of my favorite little things. Really luxe soap. I come from a long line of thrifty Scots and I know I’m thrifty as opposed to cheap, because I’ll spend around 8 bucks on a bar of amazing French soap. That’s not much of an outlay to feel like you are taking really good care of yourself in my book, and good soap really lasts too, there’s that thrifty chick again.
In pursuit of saving money in the current economy and still giving into my soap love, I have discovered Marshalls and TJ Maxx carry fabulous soaps at clearance prices. Nobody paid me to say that, it was my own happy find. And when the fantastic smelling soap becomes a scrap I take it out of the shower and lay it on the shelf to dry out completely, freeing me to open a new bar of sensational smelling soap.
I have a jar where I save soap bits. I travel a lot so I always have a ton of guest soaps gleaned from hotel rooms. They are the perfect size for my funky antique porcelain English soap dish, but I hate the way they look when they have been used for a while so those get replaced too. Trust me, I can put out new guest soap for years and still have leftovers from my stash. Rinsed off, dried thoroughly, and into the jar they go.
I am a liquid hand soap devotee so around here guest soaps can linger in pristine shape a long time while we pump gallons of soap to wash our own grubby paws. Dogs, gardens, motorcyles and artists. Need I say more about the amount of soap we go through?
Cleaning Tip Alert: I drive my husband crazy with my insistence on his not using dish cloths to mop the floor and then putting them back in the dish water, same with sponges. EWWW. He says he washes all the germs out which is complete B.S., in capital letters. My secret weapon is the microwave. I trust him with my life but not my sponges.
In the study from 2007, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, discovered they could effectively clean sponges and dishcloths using the power of the microwave.
The test sponges and scrubbing pads were soaked in wastewater containing a dangerous mix of fecal bacteria, E. coli, and bacterial spores. Bacterial spores are more difficult to kill. Eww again.Test results showed that two minutes in the microwave at full power killed or inactivated more than 99% of all the living germs and the bacterial spores in the sponges, scrubbers and cloths including E. coli.
Two minutes of overkill– a total of four — none of the bacterial spores survived. Two minutes that gets 99% works for me. Before you zap your sponges, pads and dishcloths in the microwave, researchers offer the following common sense advice:
- Microwave only sponges or plastic scrubbers that do not contain steel or other metals.
- Make sure the sponge or scrubber is wet, not dry.
- Two minutes should be enough to kill most disease-causing germs.
- Be careful in removing the sponge from the microwave because it will be hot and should not be handled immediately after zapping.
The article recommends that you microwave your cleaning thingies according to how often you cook, with every other day being a good rule of thumb.If you stick them in wet they’ll even steam up the microwave interior– fish them out with tongs, hot remember? Cool them so you can wring them out and not burn your fingers, then wipe out the steamy microwave too, killing two dirty birds with one sponge.
Back to Soap: I save all my scraps in a jar until I need handsoap. Take out about 3/4 of a cup of scraps and chop them as finely as possible. Scrub off the chopping surface to avoid soap flavoring whatever you work on next.
After it is cooled off pour your batch into the food processor.Whirl until its creamy and looks good enough to eat. Scrape it into a bowl to blend scent and add water, the last steps. At this point its so pretty and fluffy, I’m tempted to leave it on the counter and tell the kids, “don’t touch it.” Thinking its whipped cream they will wait until my back is turned and learn a valuable lesson after popping a laden finger into their mouths, while providing me with several moments of hilarity.
I save squeeze bottles. Artists use them for all kinds of interesting art stuff, but they make excellent soap containers too. Take your cooled soap and add really hot water to it, stirring it in with a whisk until its the right consistency, you want it to pour but you don’t want it runny and thin.
Before you bottle it stir in several drops of your favorite essential oil. Just enough, not too much. Remember, I’m using really expensive soap so it already smells great and does nice things for skin, but I still loving adding that pop of scent. This time I used peppermint oil. You want to put it in at this point because if you heat it you will vaporize the lovely oil and lose the smell you are pursuing.
In this economy thrift doesn’t hurt and when I can create something that repurposes something as lovely as imported soaps, I’m a happy green rabbit! I also feel pretty good when I go into the shop in the mall that sells expensive liquid hand soap because I made my own for basically free. I’d much rather use the money I saved on a wonderful lotion for my really clean hands.