Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Soap A Day Project: Day 15

Soap From Friday! This actually took the weekend to make. The reason: I was making it in between other production so I only had time to pour one color each hour. Making just one soap like this is actually more difficult than making a whole loaf. In a loaf mold this would be a cross section, but because this was the flat top of one soap, I had to pour the color, then cut a strip and pour color next to it, then cut, then pour, then cut, and so on.
So, the whole time I was making this I was thinking about how inefficient it was to create. Efficiency is not the point of this project so I wasn't worried about that, but all weekend I thought about ways to make my processes more efficient so I can produce more with the same or fewer resources, including less man power, simpler but equally as gorgeous design, less time, and less packaging. I especially focused on packaging and resources as they are my little hang up with making soap.

Water: I think I can save 75% - 80%!
Water is a HUGE concern for me. We are so wasteful with potable water! I live in a dessert and people here want to make it look like the UK with all the grass and other water sucking plants that we maintain. My husband and I rent a house and it has a lawn which makes me a little sick. REALLY! There isn't much I can do about it except let it go brown and dormant during the summer, which I do, and which annoys my neighbors. Oh, well, I am not wasting 100 gallons of drinking water a week to maintain a lawn that I don't use and that shouldn't be planted here anyway. When I see hug complexes with rolling emerald patches of lawn it hurts me inside. REALLY!

I currently use too much water to wash soap making dishes. How can I run the water less?
1) Soak, melt and pour melting containers immediately when the soap is still liquid. Run the sponge over them to clean with the soaking water and then rinse quickly! Or, let the soap set up a little then peel it out of the container so there is less to wash.
2) For Cold Process, soak the utensils in soapy water and again, clean off with the soaking water then rinse quickly.
This is all to prevent me running the water as I am scrubbing with the sponge.
3) For the Cold Process pots, let them sit overnight until the soap sets up and then scrape most of it off. They can then be soaked and cleaned with the method above, but I can do it outside over the lawn and ornamental plants. I have done this before when soaping in 5 gallon buckets and the soap doesn't seem to harm the plants so I am just going to to this with ALL of my CP batches. I am going to say this will keep the tap off 75% - 80% more than it currently is!

This will take more time, and I will need more pots and containers as some will have soap setting up in them when I need a pot for a new batch of soap. Saving potable water is worth a little extra time, but I can still be productive while pots and containers are soaking. As with everything it will be more efficient in an assembly line fashion so I will just make washing an assembly line task!

Packaging is the next task to overhaul! I am moving towards all biodegradable and less less less! Stay Tuned!


  1. This is a pretty bar of soap. I am enjoying your series, not only because you make super cool soap, but I am also enjoy the introspection that's going on. I can relate to all of it, and I'm excited to see how all of it is impacting your personal and business growth. Congratulations on all of your success!

  2. TwobloomsdesignstudioJune 26, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Great design and post. We too are rethinking our packaging and looking at a more enviro friendly option.

  3. Thank you for the compliment and thank you for following! It is exciting to me that this bar of soap inspired some real change! Looking at it you wouldn't think - I have to be more efficient and let's start with water! This project is a success as long as it helps my forward momentum!

  4. Thank you and fantastic news on the packaging! If everyone does just one little thing it can make such a huge difference! be sure to let us know when we can see the new packaging!

  5.  Lawns really are mind-blowing - a waste of water & space, if they're not used. A lot of homes around here are actually replacing their lawns with vegetable gardens! Extreme, but also fun :)

  6.  Totally! If I lived in a place where it rained and had that Boston Terrier I have been wanting to adopt then I would have a lawn (and or a baby). I am also a fan of Bocce Ball. I LOVE the veggie garden idea. Our landlord would not let me dig up part of the lawn for a veg garden (expected but I had to ask) so I am using the planter beds in the front of my house instead! Last year I got about 50 lbs of tomatoes, NO JOKE, and friends and neighbors came over to pick regularly too. Winter was chard, leeks, arugula, and beets and now it is tomato and basil with a few bush beans!

  7. That came out wrong, I don't want to have a baby based on whether I can have a dog and can have a lawn! LOL!

  8. Hi there. I know this is an ancient post :) but I wanted to warn that soap contains a lot of nitrogen (for bar soap; liquids use potassium) and that this can cause problems for your plants & soil ecology over time. So if you don't have a greywater system, rather use the rinsing water for your garden? I wash up everything in tubs in my sink - the soapy water is discarded, the rinsing water goes to the plants that like it :)
    I mention this because this is an awesome goal and don't want folks to get discouraged from long-term mistakes that can be hard to fix when all that's needed is a little planning & seeing what plants are where.
    Thank you for your site (came here via soapqueen's column swirl tutorial link)
    grrlcookery on tumblr

    1. Hi, thank you for your comment but what sources told you that soap contains nitrogen? You are mistaken as soap is made with sodium hydroxide not nitrogen. The primary elements in soap are hydrogen, sodium, carbon and oxygen. Natural soap should be safe for grey water systems and if anything the sodium is going to be the issue.



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