Recycling Soap Scraps

by Dave and Lillian Brummet

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We gardeners are stubborn. Even in early spring, you will see us pounding trenches in the barely thawed earth for our legumes! All joking aside, gardening is dirty work and the clean up of soil-stained hands can be a difficult chore.

Lillian's mother came up with a great way to reuse bar soap scraps for this purpose. In a recycled container, save all the tiny pieces of bar soap that are too small for use. When you have several cups worth of the soap pieces, chop them up in a blender on low speed. Add a bit of water until it attains a pudding-like texture. Place in a recycled plastic container and use it to wash hands. Be sure to keep the lid on the container or the soap pudding will dry out. On the other hand, if it is a little wet, leave the lid off and air-dry for a few days.

We have successfully diluted one tablespoon of the soap pudding in a bucket of very hot water for washing our truck. This same solution has been regularly employed to clean the garage and workshop floors at our home. It makes for an easy cleaning job, effectively removes most dirt, and leaves a nice lingering scent behind. Similarly, this cleaning solution should work well on most other heavy cleaning activities.

Alternatively, place the soap chips in an old nylon sock. Press them down into the toe and tie it off. Hang this soap sock under the garden or house exterior taps where hand washing will occur. Simply scrub your hands with the sock.


  • Extend the value of bar soap.

  • Decrease need to buy hand soaps, building or car washing detergents by reusing.

  • Reduced amount of packaging means less waste headed for the landfill.

  • Fewer items to shop for results in fewer trips and less time spent shopping.

Excerpt from the book Trash Talk, written by Dave and Lillian Brummet (ISBN#141372518X). The book offers useful tips to reduce waste by taking action as consumers for better use of our material resources. A guide for anyone concerned about his or her impact on the environment.

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