Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rebatching Salt Bars - a mostly picture-free tutorial :)

Sometimes when things go wrong, I just don't want to document that I've had a "learning opportunity".  I regret that choice in this case, because I learned a lot through my salt bar mishap.  I will try to paint you pictures with words for this tutorial.

I made a loaf of salt bars one weekend morning.  I knew they'd be ready to cut in 2-5 hours, but I had only 2.5 hours before I had to leave for the weekend.  I was using a Brambleberry 5 lb mold with a sliding bottom and a silicone liner so that I had nice, crisp edges.  I slid the soap and liner out of the mold before I truly realized how soft it was!  I tried to maneuver everything back into the mold, but half of the soap ended up sliding up and out of the mold, creating a really tall mess of soap.

Since we were in a hurry to leave for the weekend, I let the soap blob sit and figured I'd think of something when I got home the following day.  I did a lot of research on rebatching salt bars, but I seemed to only find instructions to crumble up the bars and use them in new soap batches.

I decided to try to rebatch in my crockpot, just to see what would happen.  Since I had tried to rebatch only about 30-35 hours after I made the bars, they were not rock hard yet (my recipe is 80% coconut oil, 15% avocado, 5% castor, and 60% salt to oils - I think this lower percentage of salt kept the bars softer a little longer).  I salvaged the half of the recipe that stayed in the same shape as it was poured.  I painstakingly crumbled up the blob, stuck it in a crockpot on high, and let it sit for a half hour.  I didn't add oil or water, since the bars were so fresh.  Checked after a half hour, and it looked exactly like when I first put it in.  Checked in another half hour.  No change.  Kept checking, and *finally* 3 hours later, the soap had completely melted and was in a perfect consistency to put in a mold.  I made sure to mix up the melted soap again before I stuck it in the mold.  A few hours later, it was ready to be cut.

What's cool is that it's very difficult to tell the rebatched salt bars from the original - the soap melted so well there were no textured pieces remaining to give away the fact that it was rebatched!  I don't plan to rebatch salt bars going forward, but it's nice to know it can be done!  I have only tried with relatively soft, fresh soap - I'm not sure whether this would work for older, more cured bars, though - if anyone has tried, I'd love to hear about it!

The soap on the left is the rebatched salt bar - the one on the right is what I was able to salvage before The Rebatch.
The rebatched bars also seem a little less crumbly than the original bars after they've been curing for a few weeks, but otherwise, I don't notice a difference between the two, which is awesome!



  1. It took a really long time! But you got a even prettier soap. Did the salt melt in the heat?

  2. So sorry to hear about your salt bar mishap, Chrissy, but I'm so glad that you were able to save the batch! The rebatched bars look great. They look very similar to the original. It seems like cutting salt bars can be stressful, so I like to use a slab mold with dividers so I don't have to worry about cutting them.

  3. Wow, I could never tell by the photo that these bars were rebatched! Awesome job!

  4. Thanks for checking this blog post out, everyone! The salt didn't melt in the heat, but the rebatched salt bar did seem to be less crumbly. Probably because of how it was cut.

    Jenny - I agree. I have only one slab mold with dividers that holds only 9 bars. This is the first time I tried the salt bars in a loaf mold, and I don't think I will do it again. The bars just look so much nicer when they don't have to be cut! I've been trying to get in touch with Rich at Soap Hutch to order another mold, but he's been really unresponsive, which is too bad!

    Thanks, Ksenija - I really had no idea what to expect when I tried to rebatch. I'm glad it all worked out and I didn't waste half of my salt bars!!

  5. An awesome post,Chrissy! I do rebatching, but have never rebatched salt soap. It's really good to know it can be done successfully!

  6. I was really surprised it worked, Maja, but it was probably because the salt bars were so fresh? I'm not sure whether this technique would work for cured salt bars - they seem too firm to be able to crumble up nicely.


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