Tag Archives: soap

How to use a Soap Cozy

soap bags

How to use a soap cozy

What is a soap cozy? Simply, it is a little bag to put your bar of soap in. It can be used for:

  • soap storage

  • as a washcloth, without even having to remove the soap

  • put your soap ends in it and tie it shut, to use them up

  • use the tied up soap to scrub your sink or shower. What removes soap scum the best? Soap. Just make sure you rinse it off well.

soap cozy

Soap cozies can vary in size. At 4″x6″, 4″x5″, 5″x6″, they make great gift bags for small items. Also a nice pouch for carrying your cell phone or spare change and lip balm. Mrs. D’s soap cozies are made with cotton or cotton blend fabric and have long 10-12″ ribbon ties.

You can sew up a dozen of these in about an hour if you’re so inclined. Any scraps of the appropriate size (you are welcome to make them larger or smaller) will work. Trim them to a large rectangle or two smaller rectangles. I make mine about 4″x6″ give or take, or fold an 8″x6″ piece in half.

First, sew the top hems. Fold the fabric down about 1/4″ at the top and iron. Fold and iron again. This is the top of your bag. Now stitch away to hold the hem in place. I use a built-in decorative stitch for this. I do not cut the thread on each piece, I just pull it out a bit and start the next one. Then I cut all the threads when I’m done.

Next, make your bags. With right sides together and top hems together, stitch one side and bottom seam (or just one seam if you are folding). Trim threads if you are sewing several bags at once like I do.

Now for the ribbon ties. You can use the bags without them, but I like to add them because I use them to close the tops. Cut 2 12″ pieces of ribbon for each bag. Hold or pin them about 1″ down from the top of the bag, with the long ends inside the bag and coming out the top. You are leaving a tiny bit on what will be the inside of the bag to hold it there. Stitch the last side of the bag. Trim all threads.

Finally, clip corners and trim seams if necessary. Turn bags right side out and poke corners with a ruler, chopstick, pen, or another corner turner. Iron if desired.

Use and enjoy your soap cozy. Give as gifts. Or sell them at your next craft fair!

 

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How to use Bar Soap

The humble bar of soap.

Sometimes it seems like everyone has forgotten how to use bar soap. Since most people I know use liquid soap in tidy pump dispensers now. Yet bar soap is gentler, more economical, and does a better job of cleaning. Bar soap is truly a multi-purpose cleaner.

In order to make myself clear, when I speak of bar soap, I  am speaking of handmade soap. Rather like the kind I make, with all natural ingredients you can actually recognize. Like coconut, palm, and olive oils, milk, water, and essential oils, herbs, etc.

Sodium hydroxide (lye) causes a chemical change in the liquids and oils that soap is made with. This saponification neutralizes the lye and, as a result produces the familiar, sudsy soap that washes away grease and grime. Grease that washes away grease.

 

First of all, let me debunk the antibacterial myth:

Friction kills bacteria.

That’s right. Not soap, not hot water. Friction. Rubbing your hands together when you wash them creates the friction that kills the bacteria. Soap loosens foreign particles and oils from your skin, and water washes them away. But friction kills bacteria.

 

Now let’s move on to the truth about bar soap:

  • lasts a long time as long as you keep it dry in between uses. (use a handy soap saver)

  • does not harbor bacteria and grunge as long as you keep it dry between uses. (don’t let it sit in a puddle of water)

  • can be made with ingredients you recognize and with none you don’t.

 

Finally, what are the advantages of bar soap?

  • lasts a long time as long as you keep it dry in between uses.

  • can also be used to wash your hair.

  • makes a great pet shampoo.

  • is an all purpose cleaner. What removes soap scum best? Soap.

  • makes a great laundry soap. In this case, it needs to be grated very fine and mixed with some other ingredients, but that is a whole nuther post.

  • is a gentle soap for hand washables.

 

How do you use bar soap?

Same as liquid soap, use bar soap for washing your hands. Keep a bar of soap next to your sink in a soap dish or saucer. It is best to elevate it a little to keep it dry. Many soap savers are available for this purpose.

First, wet hands and soap with water. Then rub soap between hands and replace on soap saver. Finally, rub hands together, spreading soap as desired. Continue rubbing hands together as you rinse the soap off with water.

That’s it! Now go out and support your local soap maker or make your own!

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How To Cure Soap


That’s easy, don’t let it get sick! Aaarrgh! Bad soapmaker joke. Seriously, though, it’s one thing to pull out the folding table and make a batch of soap, but once the soap sets up and gets cut, it needs to sit around for about 5 weeks to completely neutralize the action of the lye and oils and evaporate some of the water so that the bars get nice and hard. 


So maybe I’m giving away trade secrets, here. But really, anybody can look this up in about 5 seconds, anyway. My aim is to figure out how I’m going to store several batches of soap (I’m on a soapmaking spree), with adequate air flow, to properly cure into nice, hard, suds-making, creamy, soothing, gentle, cleansing cakes of goodness.


Keeping in mind that I am now living in a 14-foot trailer with an 11-year-old boy and our dog, matters get even more complicated. Last winter, we stayed in the RV and let the soap cure on the kitchen counters in the trailer. Now it needs to be out of the way, yet protected from dirt and damage, with plenty of air circulation. Hmm. We have a nice, big space on top of the fridge, which works for the first week or so until I get the next batch made. Then I have to get creative.


Under the beds, we have plenty of storage room. We keep working at getting rid of stuff we’re not using, so the area is becoming fairly organized and clutter free. At least on my end. On top of my tool box is just enough room for some flattish shoe box size containers of soap. Bars go in boxes, lids off, sit in storage as long as necessary to cure. Protected from elements, dirt, damage and in a climate controlled environment. 

I love using my gentle, handmade, whole milk soaps. I would love to have you give them a try, too, and tell me what you think. 

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Using Bar Soap

In my other life, when I thought of bar soap, it was an icky, slimy mess in the shower.  Then I embarked upon the homesteading life.  When I acquired my first goat, Jenny, I began to wonder – what ELSE can I do with all this milk?  The idea first came to me while I was browsing through my old Reader’s Digest “Back to Basics” book – SOAP!  I threw the idea out at a 4H meeting and was met with instant enthusiasm.  So began my journey into producing homemade soaps and skin care products.

Though I occasionally make a liquid soap, by far my favorite is still the goats milk bar – with lavender and tea tree, or rose oil, or chocolate fragrance.  To get the most enjoyment, use and longest life out of your bar soap, here are some tips to consider.
There are alot of pretty soap dishes available, but you don’t want your bar to be sitting in a puddle of water.  It will melt into goo.  Make sure you dump the water out every time you use it (and train the kids to as well).  It also helps to elevate the soap slightly.

  • Keep it dry.

  • Expose it to air.

    Soap takes five weeks to cure. It continues to cure until it’s used up.  Curing ensures that saponification is complete and the soap is gentle (meaning it won’t wash the paint off the barn!).  It also allows excess water to evaporate out of the soap, making for a harder, longer lasting bar.  Exposing soap to air will not only help keep it dry, but allow it to continue curing, making it clean and lather better.

  • Use it all up.

    What do you do with those skinny little soap chips at the end of the bar?  Let me count the ways:

  • Put soap ends in a cotton, organza or other fabric “soap” bag and continue using until they’re all gone.

    • Save soap chips in a quart jar. Empty the chips in a saucepan, cover with water and boil until dissolved.  Pour into a square cake pan and let harden, then cut into new bars (never use soap pans for food preparation after making soap).  You can use this soap right away – it is called “remilled” or “french milled” soap.

    •  Add a little extra water while soap chips are boiling to make a gel and pour into an empty gallon jug and use for laundry soap.

    •  My favorite:  put soap chips in and old (clean) sock, then get it soaking wet and clean the soap scum off the sink and tub – works much better than any cleanser I’ve tried.

If you’ve been using a liquid pump soap, complete with unrecognizable and synthetic chemical ingredients, try old-fashioned bar soap!  And if you’re already a convert, try some of these tips to get more mileage out of Mrs. D’s great soap!

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