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Recycled Soap With Honey Recipe

I love to recycle, upcycle and work with nature—an area well suited for home crafts. It's far more rewarding to make something than buy it.

Soap I made using recycled soap and 20% honey

Soap I made using recycled soap and 20% honey

Homemade Soap From Old Soap

A couple of years ago, I made an experimental batch of homemade soap from recycled soap based on a recipe that used 20% honey. That was a success, so I decided to continue collecting all our soap bits in a pot (as they got too small to be of practical use) with the intention of making a fresh batch of homemade soap once the pot of soap bits was full again.

Last time, I recycled plastic cups as moulds, filling just the bottom third of the cups with the recycled soap mix. This time, I decided to use paper fancy cake moulds, which was a lot easier and gave a better (more attractive) end product.

Below is my recipe for recycling soap to make homemade soap, with added essential oils, herbs and honey.

Ingredients Used in Recipe Below

  • 250 g soap for recycling
  • 250 g water
  • 100 g honey
  • 2 tablespoons essential eucalyptus oil
  • Dozen leaves fresh mint, chopped
  • Dozen leaves fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon food dye

Suggested Ingredients

The essential oils, herbs and food dye in the above ingredients are optional, and you can add your own ingredients for colour and scent to your own preferences.

The main ingredients are the recycled soap and water: about a 50/50 mix and 20% honey. Add the other ingredients for scenting the soap, essential oils and herbs (fresh and or dried), and food dye for colouring according to your own preference.

For this batch of homemade soap, I included a generous portion of homemade essential eucalyptus oil that I’d just finished making, made from fresh leaves harvested from the eucalyptus tree in our front garden.


Before I started to make the homemade soap, I gathered together all the ingredients and equipment I would need for recycling the soap to make new scented soap bars with added honey (see images below).

Step 1: Chop Up the Soap for Recycling

To aid the melting of the recycled soap, it needs to be chopped up into small bits. Some will use a sharp knife, many prefer a cheese grater; my preference is using scissors.

Step 2: Chop Up Fresh Herbs

If you use just dried herbs, you can skip this step, but in this recipe, the fresh herbs I used from our garden were mint and sage, about a dozen leaves of each; and as I’d just finished making eucalyptus essential oil, I also included a dozen of the eucalyptus leaves I’d used for making the oil.

Step 3: Weigh the Soap to Be Recycled and Add the Water

To add the honey at a ratio of about 1:5, you need to know how much the recycled soap and water weigh.

I first weighed the soap, and then added the water to cover the soap; which happened to work out to about a 50/50 mix.

Step 4: Weigh the Honey

As I wanted the honey to soap on a 1:5 ratio, having weighed the recycled soap with water added, I then weighed out the honey. There is no need to be precise, but on this occasion, I weighed out a little bit more than the 20% target.

The honey being weighed to add to the recycled soap

The honey being weighed to add to the recycled soap

Step 5: Melt the Soap You're Recycling

You shouldn’t melt the soap on direct heat; it should be melted in a similar way to melting chocolate. I melted the soap in a vegetable steamer until it was a constituency similar to porridge.

Step 6: Add the Honey and Essential Oils

Once the recycled soap had melted I turned off the heat on the stove, added the honey and two tablespoons of the eucalyptus essential oil to the mix; and quickly mixed it in with a spoon.

Normally when adding essential oils, you’d only add one or two teaspoons at most, because of the expense; but as I had made my own eucalyptus oil and had over 1 litre (1 ½ pints) of it, I could afford to be generous.

Honey and essential oils being added to the melted soap

Honey and essential oils being added to the melted soap

Step 7: Add the Herbs and Colourant

The final step before adding the mix to the moulds is adding the herbs and food dye of your choice. As well as the chopped herbs leaves (Mint and Sage) picked fresh from my garden, and the eucalyptus leaves from when I made the eucalyptus oil, I also added a teaspoonful of dried Rosemary.

Once added I quickly mixed it all in with a spoon. There is a certain amount of urgency because you need to stop heating the soap mix when you start to add the additional ingredients, because the heat can destroy some of the scent. Once you stop heating it, the soap mix soon starts to set quite quickly.

Fresh and dried herbs and food colour dye being added to the melted soap

Fresh and dried herbs and food colour dye being added to the melted soap

Step 8: Fill the Moulds

While still warm, and pliable, quickly pour or scoop the soap mix into the moulds, and leave to set.

You may find that the recycled soap is set firm enough within an hour or two to take out of the moulds, but you may wish to leave overnight to set firmly.

You can then start using the soap and, as before, start collecting the remnants in a pot along with other soap that you subsequently use, so that you can make a fresh batch of recycled soap once the pot is full again.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Arthur Russ

Your Comments

Arthur Russ (author) from England on April 28, 2020:

Thanks Afzal.

Raja Adnan Afzal from Rawalpindi, Pakistan on April 28, 2020:

Yes, Arthur exactly.

Well, your article on one side shows your productive activity and at the same time, it teaches number of lessons.

Highly Appreciable.

Arthur Russ (author) from England on April 28, 2020:

Thanks Raja. Yes, that's a good point; with people being confined to their homes in the UK (the lockdown in the fight against Covid-19), DIY (which has always been popular in the UK), and Home Crafts, have certainly had a boost as people find ways to occupy their time.

Raja Adnan Afzal from Rawalpindi, Pakistan on April 28, 2020:

Truly said, Arthur.

One man's trash is another man's treasure.

These days without any doubt the societies consider trash to be garbage, ignoring its usage and its value. This psyche is a driving force in making differences between rich and poor.

'Make Do and Mend' policy turned out a great policy especially in these days where the pandemic novel CoronaVirus has created a fear among nations.

I agree with your view, Arthur.

Arthur Russ (author) from England on April 27, 2020:

Thanks Raja. Yep, there’s a saying “One man's trash is another man's treasure”; and it’s something the Victorians were far better at than we are these days. In the Victorian era, when things were more costly, very little went to waste. In the Victorian Middle Class kitchens potato and vegetable peelings were boiled to make vegetable stock, and any scraps then fed to the pigs.

And the ‘Rag & Bone’ man, as featured in the classic BBC Comedy Series ‘Steptoe & Sons’, in the Victorian era (as well as scrap metal, and other junk, to sell on) would collect cotton rags for making ‘paper’, and bones for making ‘glue’. One of the main attractions at Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset, England, is an original Victorian paper mill that still hand makes paper from cotton rags.

During the 2nd world war, the British Government issued a pamphlet to all households called “Make Do and Mend”, packed with useful tips to housewives on how to be both frugal and stylish in times of harsh rationing. Although I was born in the generation after the war, and we predominantly live in a throwaway society these days; the ‘make do and mend’ (recycle) mentality from the war years has become deeply enrooted into the psyche of many like myself in generations born since the war (even though we can afford to buy new); just as the ‘wartime spirit’ is now deeply enrooted into the British psyche, which proves invaluable during times like the current covid-19 crisis.

Raja Adnan Afzal from Rawalpindi, Pakistan on April 27, 2020:

This writing is quite helpful and it taught me one important lesson that never to believe that waste materials don't have their worth, rather everything has its own value.

Arthur Russ (author) from England on April 26, 2020:

Thanks for the update. We haven't used any hotels since I took early retirement; as when we holiday in the UK we always go self-catering.

Liz Westwood from UK on April 26, 2020:

Recently there have been cut backs, understandably to reduce plastic usage with toiletries, but also to cut costs.

Arthur Russ (author) from England on April 25, 2020:

Cool, thumbs up for the British Hotels and their Complementary Packs.

Liz Westwood from UK on April 25, 2020:

One of us prefers bar soap, so we collect a fair bit. But we are also hotel hoarders. I'll be breaking into the hotel soaps soon.

Arthur Russ (author) from England on April 25, 2020:

Hopefully your next attempt will be more successful; I’d be interested in the problems you encountered.

We haven’t bought soap in over 20 years. My wife well stocked up on it when we were first married e.g. buying it in bulk when it was on offer. Then I started to travel a lot with my work e.g. to attend meetings and training courses around England; always being put up in hotels overnight or for the week. And of course it’s tradition in the UK for the hotel to leave you with you complementary pack of tea, coffee and milk, emergency sewing kit and soap. So every evening I’d put the complementary packs in my suitcase, so when I returned home I’d have another five bars of soap to add to the growing collection.

By the time I took early retirement we had a shelf crammed full of soap in the bathroom cupboard, which we’ve been working through in the last ten years since I’ve retired. So it’s only in the last few years, as our stock begins to get smaller, that I’ve started to recycle it, but we’ve still got enough soap to last a few years yet.

When I decided to have a go at recycling I found a recipe, similar to the one I’ve used here, which used 20% honey; and the idea of using honey in the soap recipe appealed to me, so I gave it a go, and have been well pleased with the results.

Liz Westwood from UK on April 25, 2020:

I wish I had read this guide a few months ago when I had an unsuccessful recycling attempt. Making use of bar soap now, as we can't get hold of antibacterial liquid soap.