How to Make Hand Milled Soap

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How to make Hand Milled Soap

Not long ago, I finally took the plunge into making my own soap. I was so nervous about using caustic materials like lye: what if I spilled it and burned my skin?! Eventually I got comfortable enough with the process that it’s really not a big deal any more.

I even shared my soap making secrets with you a few weeks ago! Hot-Process soap is my go-to for ease and quick use. The recipes are simple and there is a lot of room for creativity!

One of the reasons for getting into soap making was to start selling quality herbal soaps. The other was to limit the chemicals we use on our bodies and to save some money in the process.

There is a little bit of investment on the front end, but handcrafted soap can be a huge money saver. And I’ve got another idea for you to stretch your dollar a little farther.

Have you ever heard of Hand-milling? Hand-milling is the process of melting down soap scraps and creating an entire new loaf of soap!

You know those little scrappy pieces of soap that no one really wants to use up and get stuck to the corners of the bath tub? Save them and make new soap!

The hand-milling process is very simple and very frugal. Keep reading and I will walk you through it.

The Hand-Milling Process

If you want to make a full loaf, you need about 1 lb of scraps. When your soap reaches scrap level, remove it from the shower and let it dry completely. Store it in a container with your other scraps. It doesn’t need to be air-tight, the air will just continue to dry it out a little more.

Also, if you make your own hot-process soap, save the scraps from your crock-pot. Those are perfect for making hand-milled soap! I use a dish scraper to get the bits out of my crock-pot after it’s cooled down. The scraps go into recycled jars until I have enough to make a new loaf.

hot process soap scraps

Once you have enough soap scraps, chop them up or grate them into small pieces. The smaller the better so they will melt quickly. (I did not quite get mine small enough the first time and it took quite a while.)

chopped soap scraps

Set up your double boiler (or two pots stacked together) with water in the bottom and add your soap to the top. Add about 8 ounces of water per 1 lb of soap. If you are using less soap reduce the amount of water.

Soap and water

Get the bottom boiler water at an easy roll, not raging; you don’t need the soap to get too hot. Stir occasionally as the soap melds together and the water is absorbed.

While the soap is melting, line a loaf pan or soap mold with parchment paper. You don’t want to put soap in a mold without a liner. Its crazy hard to remove! (Trust me I know!)

soap melting

Once the soap is melted, you can add in some essential oils if you would like a new scent. My old bars consisted of Peppermint and Rosemary scent so I added in some Cedarwood which paired nicely with those two.

Scoop the melted, scented soap into your mold and press down with the back of a spoon so the top is somewhat smooth. Place your mold into a cardboard box and cover with a towel. This ensures that it doesn’t cool too quickly causing cracking on the top.

hand milled soap in mold

Leave your soap in the mold for 24-48 hours. (Sometimes it needs more time if you live in a humid climate.) Once you remove the soap from the mold slice into bars. If the bars seem soft, store in the cardboard box with the bars standing up with some space in between. This gives them air flow to dry them out a little bit.

Since this soap was already cured the first time it was made, it is ready to go! You now have fresh bars of soap made completely from old bars! You didn’t waste your handcrafted soap, and you were super frugal by utilizing resources you already had on hand.

handmilled soap in dish

Even if you don’t make your own soap or shampoo bars, this method works great for any type of soap. Handcrafted soaps are often the best for you since they won’t contain any harmful chemicals, but they can be pricy. Being frugal in your use and reuse makes an impact on your budget!

I love using my handcrafted soap and am very excited to make it last even longer.

Have you ever Hand-Milled your soap?


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Frugal Friday! – Cloth Diapers


Now that I have some experience, my top recommendation for someone having a baby is to use cloth diapers. I LOVE THEM!

The world of cloth diapers can be overwhelming and complicated with all the styles and options available. But if you can get through a little research and narrow it down to what will fit your lifestyle, you can save a lot of money. The average cost of using disposable diapers is about $1500 a year. And a decent stash of cloth diapers will cost you about $300. That will last you from birth to potty training.

Just a partial glimpse of my stash.
You can go all out and buy the fancy collector types that cost upwards of $60 for a single diaper. Or you can go with the simple flour sack towels from Wal-mart that cost $5 for five and a $10 cover found used on ebay. I’ve used some of the flour sack towels and almost prefer those to the fancy types. There are lots of options on how much you spend, but it truly can be a savings. To me, it makes the most sense, cost-wise.

What about the time? And the poo?! Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m spending that much more time using cloth. I have an extra load of laundry every couple of days. But with a baby, who’s counting loads? There is always laundry to wash. (Spit-up is my new scent for the season.) As long as I have a good rotation going, I don’t run out.

For now, the poo issue is not an issue. There isn’t much you can do with breastfed baby poop other than rinse before you wash. Which I do in my washer. Once little man gets a older and is eating solids, I will have to do some experimenting. But basically I will dump the poo in the toilet, which is what you are supposed to do with disposables as well. No one wants poop in the landfill.

Now, there is a lot I could say about brands and styles and what I recommend, but I’m not going into that right now. (Maybe another time!) I will say that I am very happy with our decision to use cloth diapers and I feel like it is saving us a lot of money right now. I find that it is definitely a part of frugal living.

And don’t worry. I won’t always talk about baby stuff. :)