Adventures in Soap Making: Letting Go of Perfection

A couple weeks back, I made four small batches of soap to test out different percentages of olive oil and coconut oil. I’m trying to figure out which oils I like, in what quantities, to get a consistent soap that I like that has good bubbles, is moisturizing, lasts long in the shower, etc. The first lesson I learned that day:

Don’t try and make four different batches in one day when you’ve only ever made one batch of soap.

Sounds like a no-brainer, I know; but when I get excited about something, I jump right in! I was exhausted after cleaning up that many different containers, though; which made it less fun.

Then…I waited a couple days and tried to get them out of the mold. They were soft. They were stuck to the molds. And they just wouldn’t come out! I waited another week…still sticky and stuck in the molds. I waited ANOTHER week, and was able to get one out of the four out of the mold, but hated this feeling of failure that the rest wouldn’t come out!

I’ve been reading a lot and watching a lot of videos, and I know now every batch is perfect. But hey, my first batch came out just great, so why wouldn’t all my attempts be without flaw? HA! I think it’s actually good that I was knocked down a couple notches right out of the gate. It’s not going to be perfect all the time, and I need to learn from these mishaps. This was a fair amount of oil and I didn’t want to waste it. So I needed to figure out if they could be salvaged in any way.

Lo and behold, as if they knew I needed this, Bramble Berry (the vendor I buy my supplies from and am taking a class with) published the Soapy Mess-Up Quick Guide blog post. Yep, common things that go wrong and how to fix them!

I had heard about re-batching (melting down cold process soap to make new soap) but wasn’t sure if my situation applied. Was it too late? Could I combine all three batches (with the same oils but in different quantities) into one big batch? Or would I have to rebatch them separately?

So I reached out to Bramble Berry on Facebook to ask for help and got some great advice and support! I scooped out the sticky soap from the three molds, glopped it into the slow cooker for an hour, and re-molded it. The soap didn’t all completely melt, but that ended up being a bonus because look at the cool marbling it gave the finished soaps!

Salvaged Soap

I cut these travel size, so once cured I’ll have plenty of soap to take with me on business trips for a while! So glad I was able to salvage these soaps!

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