Rebatching Soap

 Note! You are advised to double-check the formulation of all recipes before making any of them. Recipes using sodium or potassium hydroxide should be run through a lye calculator before use.

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                         Rebatching is a way of making hand milled soaps at home.
                         The advantages of doing so are to retain the benefits of the
                          additives and to use less fragrance or essential oils.
                          For best results you should use an unscented base right for
                          rebatching. Here are some tips to get you started.

                Nicolle Field
                Grate the your soap finely.
                Place grated soap in a baking dish (I use Pyrex ones).. Cover with a little water.. just enough to get all of the grated soap wet.. you don't want
                too much water.. think of the water as salad dressing.. and the grated soap as lettuce..cover the baking pan w/ an air tight cover (I use the Pyrex pan because it has a cover that fits perfectly).
                Place the covered pan in your oven at around 125-145.
                Okay, this takes a long time... this is something to start in the morning while you have other stuff to do around the house..
                It usually takes a couple of hours to do, but it works great!!
                When the soap reaches a thick liquid state it is ready. Take it out of the oven and add your fragrances and or herbs.
                Poor directly into molds.
                Do NOT STIR the soap mixture too much while it is baking.... (IT may get really bubbly if you do!!!)
                You can take it out and sort of nudge it around a little...

                Camille's Crockpot Method

                Put enough milk or water (depending on the composition of the soap you will be melting) into
                the crockpot to cover the bottom of the insert, them dump in all the soap you want to melt, (as
                long as it fits into the crockpot, of course!) Turn the crockpot to LOW (the lowest setting it
                has, of course), cover the pot with its lid and let it sit for an hour.  After that hour, lift the lid and check the soap's consistency.  Don't stir too much, since that introduces air bubbles into the mixture...just poke and mash it around a bit to even out the liquid parts.  Replace lid and check again in an hour.  You can continue this all day,
                but don't let it set heating up overnight, since this will lead to not so great experiences in cleaning soap off the floor.  As soon as the soap achieves a suitable consistency, add your nutrients and pour into a  mold. Allow to remain in the mold for about a week, unfold and cure for 2-3 weeks.
                Let me add that I checked it every 20 minutes, and it was ready to go in an hour.  But I only
                have two settings on my crockpot; LOW and HIGH.  I also popped the molds into the freezer foe an hour and a half, then popped the soap out of the molds and they are now drying.  I didn't
                know what a nutrient was, so for all the folks who will be lost like me, that is your EOs, FOs,
                pigments and any other GLOP you wish to add to you snotlike mess!

I have used the crock pot and you want to be sure you  have a crock pot  that has a REALLY low setting.  Mine only has high and low and even the low was too high to do this.  AND, you want to be sure the crock pot is full to the brim cause if you have space where there is no soap, that heats up even more and really causes a problem.

Judy Scher
                I finally figured a way to get all my old soap scraps to rebatch successfully!  What I did was to chop them up in a food processor and add the recommended amount of liquid (according to Lisa Lisa). But instead of proceeding right away I let it sit out overnight so the soap could totally incorporate the water.
                In the morning, when the soap scraps were soft, I heated them with lid on pan (using my fake double boiler system) and after around 10 minutes
                - voila - gel!  I added a yummy Sweetcakes FO, stirred, and into the mold. No bubbles, no hard scraps, only gel!!

                The first thing my soap does is start to melt (from the inside out) and then it gets that gel look. Once it is all looking gelled, I pour it. I find if I leave it longer, it starts to foam and that brings air bubbles. I make a hard soap, and usually unmold as soon as it reaches room temperature. I guess if your soap is softer or you use more liquid, itmight take a little longer. In that case, I would consider freezing it.The quicker you get it out of the mold, the quicker it can start to dry up.   

                Debbie X. Smith

                Noticed some posts on re-batching and thought I'd at my ideas. Some
                things I've noticed when rebatching that help:

                1. Avoid the temptation to use too much liquid.  It doesn't really help the process and can cause excess shrinkage/softness.  Also,  milk seems
                to be better than water for vegetable based soaps. Also, the finer I can get my shavings the better.  And, if a base soap is too dry, I let it soak in the warmed liquid to help soften before I heat.  I now havebeautiful, hard, not shrunken rebatched bars that are presentable.

                2. Be very patient while melting.  If you heat too hot/fast, you can burn the soap without fully melting it. Also, you'll have unmelted
                shreds in your final bars (unless you like them.  They can look nice) Melting soap is the consistency of pudding.  The final complete melt down looks like a gel but is still pourable to a

                3. The moister/softer the base soap, the easier the rebatch is.

                4. Try to not to stir too much/vigorously.  This can make too many bubbles and cause pockets (unless of course you want floating soap).

                5. Avoid the temptation to add too many goodies.  This can affect the hardness and texture of the final bar.

                6. BE PATIENT.  Trust me.  I've screwed up too many times and have finally gotten the hang of it.

                      Rebatching Method by Judy Scher
                I'm now discovering that you can add much less liquid and get a good rebatch AND less drying time.  I recently rebatched 2 week old soap with
                HALF of Lisa Lisa's recommended amount of liquid.  Letting the shavings soak up the liquid (I used water) overnight got them soft enough. This rebatching method is for soap that has aged over 2 weeks. (Any soap "younger" than that can be rebatched easily with no added liquid since it hasn't dried a whole lot.) Either grate the soap or put it in a food processor. Then put the shavings in a pan. To that add enough water to coat the shavings: This is still in experimental stages! So far, 1.5 oz (3 Tblsp) water per 1 lb. of soap (even all veggie) has been successful for me. Other people find that 3 oz per 1 1b works, others find that adding milk in place of water for all veggie soaps works better than water. Now, here's the trick: At this point cover the pan and let it sit out at room temp overnight, or for 8 hours. After that time you will see that the shavings have absorbed the liquid and are soft. There should be no extra water in the pan. With the pan covered, put this pan in another pan of slowly boiling water. This is my fake double boiler system. Stir the chips about every 5 minutes, for around 15 - 30 minutes, until you have a nice translucent gel. Voila! This is IT! The gel is thick, not watery. Now you can add fragrance and coloring. I add around 2 teaspoons of scent per pound of rebatching soap. Stir, cover for around another 5 minutes or so and spoon/pour into your mold. The top of the rebatched soap will be "bumpy". This is normal. After the soap has hardened, you can cut it off or leave it if you like. I cut it off and use it to wash my dishes.

I'm pretty new to the field of soap-making.  But, after living like a hermit since I was disabled in an automobile accident in May, 2003, I realized that I had to find something to keep me busy since I can no longer perform the responsibilities of a regular job.  I can't handle lifting more than 3-5 pounds with my left arm, both my left hand and my right hand are weak, and I tire very easily and tend to doze on and off throughout the day as a result of the pain medication that I take for the Complex Regional Pain Syndrome that I acquired as a result of my accident injuries.  Needless to say, those restrictions limit my choice of hobbies or activities.
So, I needed to find something that I could physically handle over a relatively short period of time.  I discovered that re-batching shredded soap that I purchase from real C.P. soap-makers fits the bill perfectly.
My Re-batching by Jessica Leonhard
 (Editor's note-While we do not condone the use of a microwave for making soap with active lye solution, many find it comes in handy for rebatching and melt and pour soapmaking, please use caution since contents will be hot!)

I place between two and three pounds of shredded C.P. soap into a large bowl, and stir in one 13.5 fl oz can of *Chaokoh Coconut Milk (which I've pre-stirred before adding), and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight.  Chaokoh is a thick high quality snow white Coconut Milk that I purchase at the local oriental grocery for 79 cents per can, which is a great savings over what is charged in the ethnic food section of many of the standard grocery stores.  I think that it does a much better job than water, fresh milk, or canned evaporated milk for hydrating the soap shreds.
The next day, I stir the shredded soap, and place approximately 1 pound of the shredded soap into a 2 Quart Pyrex Measuring Cup, and place it in the microwave at 60% power, and set the timer for 10 minutes.
After three minutes, I take the cup out of the microwave and stir it completely and then place it back into the microwave, and continue to watch it.
When it starts to puff up toward the top of the cup, I again take it out of the microwave and stir it completely and then place it back into the microwave and continue to watch it.
By the time it starts to puff up toward the top of the cup again, I take it out and stir it, and usually find that the soap is melted enough within that full ten minutes that I can add my selection of any of the following:  Essential Oils, Fragrance Oils, Dyes, Honey, Grated Almond, Herbs, or whatever other items I choose to add.
I then pour my soap mixture into my prepared molds, and set them aside overnight to cool and harden enough to remove from the molds the next day.  If I have any difficulty getting the soap out of a mold, I pop it in the freezer for ten minutes first.  Then I place my soap on my soap dryer, turning them regularly, and wait for approximately a month for them to be dry enough to use or package and give away.
Since I started re-batching, I've used quite a number of different types of molds with varying degrees of satisfaction.  I've had some molds crack and I've had other molds melt from the heat of the soap mixture in my effort to pour the soap into the molds before it becomes too thick.
A number of weeks ago, an experienced soap-maker gave me a designer mold that is made by, and I've since had absolutely excellent results with the heavy duty ABS plastic, and high impact polysyrene plastic molds that I've been getting from 3Dmolds.  My re-batched soap comes out beautifully with the designs perfectly embedded in each bar.  The molds come in 3D designs, which can also be used for making soap-on-a-rope, as well as single cavity molds, and four cavity molds, with both guest-size molds and the larger/more generous molds.  The best part is that the molds are made to be used time and time again without damage.
I'm totally sold on rebatching, and can't understand why anyone complains about it.  I'm in and out of the kitchen in well under thirty minutes, I'm not dealing with caustic substances, and I'm able to physically handle everything without going over my lifting restrictions.  I've also met some marvelous Cold Process soap-makers who've shared their talents with me by letting me re-batch their soap.
One trick to always remember while rebatching soaps is to always exercise patients as to avoid flaws in your finished product. While it may be unnecessary to go to the extremes of setting up security cameras to monitor your soap while it is warming in a crock pot or to isolate your molds from your counters to avoid slight vibrations, so take reasonable precautions such as checking on your heating soap occasionally to make sure to avoid boiling or not shaking the soap and inducing air into the mixture.