Category Archives: Rebatch

Banana Soap Rebatch

I said I wanted to explore rebatching further after surprisingly enjoying the beer soap rebatch, but I really did not expect to be doing it again so soon.  The banana soap I made over the weekend seized on me, so I had to rebatch it to give it a second chance.

It was still fresh and soft, so I just sliced it thinly (faster with a bench scraper than a knife).  I did not add water, but added a tablespoon of vanilla fragrance when most of the soap had melted.

Here are the step by step photos:

Sliced up soap, ready to be rebatched using the plastic baggie technique.

Sliced-up soap, ready to be rebatched using the plastic baggie technique.

Soap melting in a pot of boiling water.

Soap melting in a pot of boiling water.

Massaged soap to get it all evenly melted.

Soap after adding fragrance and getting a good massage.

Melted soap is ready.  Note one side of the bag is rolled up for easier pouring.

Melted soap is ready. Note one side of the bag is rolled up for easier pouring. It’s hot!

To get an evenly flat surface, find something hard of the same size to press the soap firmly down.

Soap pressed firmly into the mold with an acrylic panel for an evenly flat surface and to avoid air pockets.

Once the soap is out of the bag and in contact with air, the surface starts to form a skin.  If you try to smoothen the top with a spatula, you will get white streaks; the contact and agitation seems to set the soap. For this batch, I just tapped and shook the mold to get the soap to settle a bit, then placed the acrylic panel on the surface and pressed it down. The surface will still come out wrinkly-looking, but flat. Anyone got ideas how to remove the wrinkles? (Bake it??)

I unmolded the soap after about 4 hours.  I used the poorly self-designed acrylic panel inserts that I know are NOT suitable for cold process.  I just wanted to see if rebatched soap would stick to it too.  It did.  But at 4 hours, it wasn’t super glue yet. I waited for 12 hours before cutting the soap.

banana 1

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Beer Soap Rebatch 2

I am so impressed with the way this rebatch turned out (click here to read about my rebatch adventure.) I unmolded and cut it after 12 hours.  It was still a tad tacky in the middle, but just the perfect consistency for cutting.  However, the leather scent has somehow morphed into something that smells like a swimming pool.  I hope the chlorine smell is just temporary, as I had really high hopes for this manly beer soap.

beer rebatch 2

beer bar 3

beer rebatch 3

Thank you Soap Queen for your excellent Plastic Baggie Technique!  It really changed my opinion on rebatching.  In fact, I would like to explore it further!

Beer Soap Rebatch 1

I have been using my beer and egg soap for both body and hair the past couple of weeks. The beer smell has mellowed and it has rounded out very well with the other e.o.’s. I am actually liking the smell, something i could not have imagined when the soap was new.  It is fabulous as a soap – I love the way it lathers and makes my skin feel soft and nourished.  As a shampoo bar, I’d say it is quite decent.  It produces a very rich and thick lather and I haven’t experienced any concerns with my hair. Some people report developing greasy hair. I feel my hair is a tad oily but I may have applied too much argan oil.  I will give it a few more weeks before deciding whether my hair likes it or not.

Since my husband and I are really loving the first beer soap, I decided to experiment with more. I wanted to try a dark beer this time, so I bought a bottle of San Miguel Cerveza Negra. I used a 33% lye solution and the following oils: olive oil, coconut oil, lard, rice bran oil, castor oil and stearic acid.  For a manly scent, I combined leather and citrus fragrances with eucalyptus.

Except for my very first soap, all other dozen or so soaps I’ve made so far have been successful.  Some of the finished products were less than ideal, but at least no mishaps during the soap making process….until last night.

Two things happened:

1. When I poured the lye solution into the oils (both around 90˚F-95˚F ), the mixture immediately started to get thick.  As i stirred and blended, it kept on getting thicker and thicker until my stick blender could no longer do its job.  The texture was like very thick mashed potatoes.

2. I was debating whether to put in the fragrances or not.  With the way it was going, I thought the mixture would turn rock hard once I added the fragrances.  As I glanced at the pre-measured fragrances, I noticed that there was a pool of liquid under the plastic measuring cup.  Aaack!  The cup was leaking!  Good thing I placed the cup on top of a flexible chopping mat.  I picked up the mat with the cup and poured all the liquid into the soap. It didn’t become any harder, but boy was it super stiff to stir!

As panic kicked in, I thought if I could just make it softer by melting it a bit…. The mixture was in a large pyrex measuring bowl, so off it went to the microwave. 20 seconds.  Nothing.  My brain somehow started to work again and realized the microwave was not going to be of help, so I just scooped out the lumpy soap into the mold. I knew I had to do a rebatch but I was tired and was not going to think about it until the next day.  My consolation was that the fragrance combination smelled sexy and manly!

First thing I did upon waking up was to google “soap rebatch tips”.  After my first rebatch attempt using a crockpot, I hoped I would never have to do it again, but I simply could not let last night’s manly beer soap go to waste.  Of the many rebatch techniques available, I was drawn to Soap Queen’s Plastic Baggie Technique.

Because the soap was still soft, I just sliced it up into thin pieces using a bench scraper.  I used 1,250 grams of oils for this batch, so I divided the soap into 2 freezer bags.  I added around 40 ml of water to each bag (I think I could have used less since the soap was soft).  I dropped the bags into the pot of boiling water and every few minutes, I would lift out a bag to massage it so that the soap melted evenly.  I was really thrilled to see that the soap became a homogeneous mass of jelly-like consistency.

Melting soap using the baggie technique. (I don"t know why it looks like ground meat in this photo)

Melting soap in a pot of boiling water.

Completely melted soap.

Completely melted soap.

I had to work quickly with pouring the melted soap into the mold because the surface started to set and become opaque, especially as I tried to spread it out.

First Soap

April 3, 2013. After about 3 months of on-off researching and thinking about making soap, I finally did it.  The only thing I lacked that day was safety goggles. Before going home from work, I stopped by the nearest department store. All I could find was motorcycle goggles.  Oh well.  I was determined to make my first soap that night, so I got myself a red pair.

For my first soap, I decided to use Gregory Lee White’s Easy Olive Bar from his book Making Soap From Scratch.  It is basically a castile soap with a little castor oil to lessen the slimy feel of pure olive oil.  I had read the book a few times and had spent the last few days scouring the internet for tips…. I was ready!

What surprised me the most was how fast it took to reach trace.  The moment the soap mixture looked emulsified, I stopped blending and immediately poured it into my paper-lined shoebox.  From what I had read, I was scared that the whole thing would turn solid and would be impossible to pour out.  But no such thing.  It was a breeze to make.  What was difficult was the wait!  The book said to “leave the box alone until the next day.”  Did I follow?  Of course not!  I was too excited and took a peek several times throughout the next 24 hours.

When the long wait was finally over, I was disappointed to see oily sweat on the surface.  It was not a pool of oil, but there was enough oily beads to know that something was not right.  After going through articles on soap troubleshooting, I decided to wait it out for a day, hoping that the oil would get reabsorbed.  No such luck. I read some more until I came to the conclusion that rebatching was the solution.  It sounded fairly easy.  So I chopped up the soap, dumped  everything in my slow cooker, and added a little water.  I don’t know what I was thinking because I did this just before dinner with my husband and a couple of friends.

The soap bits had half melted after I had finished eating, but it stuck to the sides of the pot and was so difficult to stir!  I added more water hoping it would melt down evenly. Let’s just say that I acted too hastily with the rebatch.  I put too much water and never got to melt all the soap bits.  Nonetheless, I scraped off the soap mess into my shoebox mold.  After 3 days, I was able to unmold and cut it.  The middle part was soft and translucent. I think I will have to wait for a year for this one to harden up.

First Soap & Rebatch

First Soap & Rebatch

Soap at 5 weeks old. The sides have hardened but the middle part is still soft.