The Beginner’s Guide to Soap Making – The Rebatch Method

The Beginner's Complete Guide to Soap Making using the Rebatch MethodThe rebatch method of soap making is a great beginner’s way to learn about this hobby. This technique is also known as hand-milling. As you can probably guess from the name, you make new soap by rebatching any old, leftover bars. It’s a great way to recycle all those tiny bars that aren’t worth using anymore because they’ve been reduced to some rinky dink sliver of soap.

You can also use this method to recycle any failed batches of soaps made from the other methods. Just make sure that you don’t rebatch any soap that failed due to an imbalance of lye and fats. Complete saponification should have occurred and there should be no residual lye left in the soap you’re going to use for the rebatching method.
Don’t know what I’m talking about? No worries, we’ll explore the other methods later this month and talk more about this in detail.

The best things about this method? It doesn’t use any lye (can be dangerous to handle) and cleanup is super easy. Everything is already covered in soap!

SUPPLIES NEEDED

Soap-Making-Rebatch-Supplies

Soap – Collect all the soap you want to use. As mentioned previously, this a great way to recycle any old soap you don’t want anymore. It’s also a perfect way to reuse any failed soap experiments you have. Just make sure that you don’t rebatch any soap that failed due to an imbalance of lye and fats. Complete saponification should have occurred and there should be no residual lye left in the soap you’re going to use for the rebatching method.

Cutting Tools  – You’ll need a way to break down the soap into smaller pieces so that it’s easier to melt. Options include a grater, knife, or food processor.

Grater – The most common method is using a grater. Although you’ll only be grating soap on it (which makes it easier to clean), it’s recommended that you find a grater that you dedicate to only soap making if you decide to do fully invest in this hobby. If you don’t want to use a grater, you can just use a knife to cut your soap.

Knife – A knife will be used to cut the soap into smaller pieces. The smaller pieces, the better. This will help it melt faster. It’s recommended that you use a grater as it will produce small shreds that make the process go by quicker.

Cutting Board – If you are using a knife to cut your soap, you’ll need a cutting board.

Food Processor – A food processor can be used if you want to shred your soap much faster. Use a food processor that has a blade with larger holes and a strong motor. Push the soap through the tube to grate it. Some soaps might be too hard to run through a food processor.

Tools for Melting – You’ll need a way to melt down your soap pieces so that you can stir in the additional ingredients, coloring and fragrances. We’ll cover 3 methods: microwave, Crock-Pot slow cooker, or doubler boiler.

Mold – You can use either a plastic, paper, silicone or wooden mold for your soap. Each type of soap has its pros and cons. Check out the beginner’s guide to soap making supplies for more info.

Container/Bowls – Containers and bowls will be used to hold the miscellaneous ingredients you want to add to your soap.

Kitchen Utensils – When prepping or adding your additional ingredients, it may require the use of spatulas, spoons, etc. This can vary based on what you are adding in.

Measuring Tools – You may need a food scale, measuring cup or measuring spoons to weight out your additional ingredients. The tool you will need will vary based on what you’re adding in.

For additional information, check out our beginner’s guide to soap making supplies!

HOW TO USE THE REBATCH METHOD FOR SOAP MAKING

The rebatch method is really simple. All you have to do is cut or grate your soap into small pieces, melt it down, and pour it into a mold. There are three ways you can melt down your soap. Pick the one that works best for you!

Soap Making using Rebatch Method

1. Break down your soap into smaller pieces. Most prefer grating the soap when using the rebatch method. Use a grater to grate the soap into a large bowl. Try wearing some heavy-duty gloves while grating to minimize any risk of cutting yourself. When the soap gets too small or thin, roll it into a little ball and continue running it through the grater if possible.

2. Melt down your soap pieces. There are three methods you can use to melt down your soap –a double boiler, slow cooker, or microwave oven. Check below on specific information on how to use these three methods.

3. Add your special ingredients. During the melting process, you’ll have the opportunity to add ingredients to your soap. Ingredients that need to be evenly distributed (like coloring) within the mixture should be added early on. Ingredients that might melt (like glitter) should be added towards the end. Check out this guide to soap making ingredients for a full list of what you can add in your soap.

4. Pour mixture into a mold. You can pour mixture into a plastic, silicone, wooden, or paper mold. If using a wooden mold, you’ll need something to cut the soap into small bars. Silicone molds have been my favorite to use so far. They pop out so easily when they harden!

Double Boiler Soap Making using Rebatch Methodmelting with a Double boiler

Make a double boiler with a pot and a stainless steel or glass bowl. The bowl must be able to be placed on top of the pot without it touching the bottom. Fill up the pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat and place the bowl on top of the pot. Voila! A double boiler.

  • Place the shreds of the soap in the bowl on top of the boiler.
  • For every pound of soap shreds you are melting down, add 4 ounces of distilled water.
  • If you want to add coloring, add it now.
  • Boil the water to melt your shreds while stirring gently.
  • Cover the mixture for about 10 minutes while continuously checking to make sure your soap hasn’t dried out. Add a little water if you feel that the mixture is getting too dry.
  • Once your soap has become a little translucent and a bit soft, you can add any additional ingredients you have. Stir them evenly into the mixture.
  • Add the fragrance at the very end and give it a few stirs so that it is evenly distributed.
  • Once the mixture has been thoroughly stirred, pour them into your molds.
  • Let the soap sit until it has fully hardened.

 

MELTING WITH A crock-pot Slow cooker Crock Pot Soap Making using Rebatch Method

You can use a crockpot to melt your shreds of soap. Just make sure that it can hold enough of your soap mixture. You won’t really need to designate a Crock-Pot to soapmaking but if you are doing this frequently, you should. This method can take anywhere from 1 to 24 hours. Since every slow cooker is different, use the instructions below regarding time as only a guide. You should always be continuously checking on your mixture.

  • In the Crock-Pot, add your soap shreds, distilled water and any coloring you might have. For every 1 lbs of soap you have, put in 4 ounces of water.
  • Turn on the Crock-Pot to the lowest setting and  wait 15 minutes for the low heat to melt everything together.
  • Stir the mixture gently. If you stir too hard, you’ll create some unwanted foam.
  • Allow the mixture to cook for 30 minutes.
  • Watch over the crockpot carefully. If it gets too hot, the soap mixture might burn. If you find this happening to your batch of soap, try adding a bit of distilled water and turn the heat down.
  • When the mixture is translucent, you can add in any special ingredients. Try adding a few dried herbs to the mix!
  • Add your fragrance and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour into the mold once everything is evenly distributed.
  • Let the soap sit until it has fully hardened.

 

MELTING WITH A microwave

Microwave Soap Making using Rebatch MethodIn my opinion, this method is the easiest and quickest of the three. It can take anymore from 15 – 30 minutes. Just be careful using this method as your soap mixture might overheat. You know your microwave better than anyone so be cautious when first using this method to melt the soap shreds.

  • Put your soap shreds in a microwave-safe glass container.
  • Cover the container with a plastic wrap.
  • Heat the soap shreds for 15-30 seconds. If this has melted your soap even a bit, you should be using the microwave in shorter increments. If this has not melted your soap at all, you may want to consider leaving it in the microwave for longer.
  • Check your soap mixture after each microwave use. Stir gently. If the soap mixture does not look translucent, place it in the microwave again.
  • Once the soap is translucent, use oven mitts to remove the container out of the microwave.
  • Stir the mixture gently.
  • Sprinkle any additions you have into your mixture. Put any coloring in first.
  • Once the mixture is evenly distributed, pour it into your soap mold.
  • Let the soap sit until it has fully hardened.

Want to learn how to use other methods to make soap – such as the cold process, hot process and melt-and-pour method? Check out our beginner’s complete guide to soap making for those guides!

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