This is a 1000 gram block of olive oil soap I bought from Body Time (a shop in my neighborhood) a while back. It was completely unpackaged. I thought I would use it to make liquid soap — to replace the Dr. Bronner’s we have been using for dishwashing once it’s gone. I figured all I’d need to do is dissolve the bar in a pot of water and voila! Liquid soap. Did I check any recipes or instructions? No way, man. It just seemed way too obvious.
So, I put the entire block of soap in a stock pot on the stove, filled it up with water, and started stirring. And stirring. And stirring. Thinking I’d save time, I didn’t bother grating the soap beforehand. So yes, this process took hours. Hours of gas stove energy. Hours of occasional stirring.
After the whole thing was dissolved, I let the pot cool. When I checked it the next day, I found a huge stock pot of solid soap!
Okay, I guess an entire kilogram of soap (2.2 pounds) requires more water. So I dug out half of it, added water to the pot, and started the process again. And ended up with… more solid soap.
I actually spent several days dissolving smaller and smaller portions of soap in larger quantities of water and I finally had a solution that seemed liquid enough. Check out this picture:
The soap in the pot is pourable. The soap in the bowl, totally solid.
The problem with the soap in the pot is that it’s all full of little white crystalized bits that don’t seem to dissolve. Why is this? I have no idea. So I first try pouring it through a metal strainer. That gets out the bigger bits. But there are still some left.
So next I pour it through cheese cloth. Yes, this is taking way, way longer than it should and is a ridiculous mess. But hey, it’s a learning experience, right? And kind of fun in a surreal, “I am a total idiot” sort of way. So okay, most of the white bits have been removed. This is what I ended up with:
From a 1 kilogram block of soap I have a full Dr. Bronner’s bottle of soap, plus some extra in a ceramic container, and the rest — nearly solid — in a metal bowl. And here is the question that keeps me up at night: is all this soap just going to go rancid (from the olive oil) before I have time to use it all???
Okay, laugh. It’s funny, right? And then tell me what I should have done.