How can soap makers upcycle? 6


You can read about upcycling in every magazine and on every blog. Upcycling is a way of making a new use from a product that may be discarded. Recycling is a way of turning an existing product into another usable item. Using a spaghetti sauce jar as a button jar is an upcycle, sending the spaghetti jar to the glass house for the purpose of being ground up and made into something else that is glass is a recycle.

My finished wash cloths with a wash basin my grandmother used and an old box of Scotch Cleanser.

My finished wash cloths with a wash basin my grandmother used and an old box of Scotch Cleanser.

Technicalities out of the way – let’s party! I have been working on dish cloths this year. I know you are going to tell me that MAKING a dish cloth seems silly and they can be purchased for really cheap. I know, and I agree. However, when we were discarding the chicken feed bags I kept noticing the strings that were being pulled off and put into the trash. I could hear my grandma (who lived during the Great Depression) saying that we should use the strings to make something useful. She didn’t keep everything but she was great at re-purposing many jars, containers and other “good stuff.”

The strings made me thing of dish cloths so I queried my family – What if I use these strings and make a dish cloth. Every. Single. One. Scoffed! Well, that did it. I knew I had to crochet at least one dish cloth. So far I have nearly 1 cloth for each and every month of 2018. I use strings from chicken feed bags, dog food bags, sugar, and there are even a few items that come in here to Majestic Mountain Sage that have string closures. Here is my reused cotton string from the bags turned into a dish cloth.

Trivia for the day: large bags have about 1 gram of cotton string to chain stitch them closed. Each dish cloth is about 35 grams when finished. I crochet these cloths when I am going to work (no, I am not the driver) so I get about 40 minutes of uninterrupted time each workday to crochet. Just for kicks and grins, I made a knitted wash cloth from a cotton yarn. The yarn is naturally colored (no dyes) and the color deepens when washed in hot water. Did you know that cotton can be grown in colors other than white? I am getting about 4 cloths from 3 skeins of yarn.

What do you do to repurpose, upcycle or reuse that relates to making soaps, lotions, lip balm and similar items? Share your ideas for a chance to win a goodie box from us!

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About Tina

I started thesage.com in 1996 with the help of my husband. Now I get to help people make all kinds of soaps and bath and body products. I think my favorite things to make are lip balms and lotions/creams. Of course I get most of the soap technical support questions because that is my strong knowledge area. Glad this blog is here!


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6 thoughts on “How can soap makers upcycle?

  • Denise Wilhelm

    What a great idea to make wash cloths with string! We have loads of string from feed bags! I use it to tie off naval cords on newborn goat kids before I snip the cords about one inch from the body, but that doesn’t come close to using all the string we have.

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  • Angela Holbrook

    I like to use all the bottles from my fragrance and flavor oils to put in clippings off of my herb garden. I then give away the cuttings to friends and family once they’ve rooted. This way I both recycle the bottles and I help my loved ones not need time buy as many packaged herbs further reducing their plastic consumption.

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  • Mary Tatem

    I use old wool scraps from felted wool sweaters (used for other projects that I buy from thrift stores or garage sales) as the base then wind wool yarn (2.5 very ugly puce green skeins wool yarn from a thrift store started this) around the scraps to make natural dryer balls. I “felt” them (wash and dry on high temperature) and use them as a laundry gift package with my 100% coconut oil “stain sticks” and a jar of “creamy laundry butter” (also made with 100% coconut oil soap).

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    • Tina Post author

      Mary,

      Good idea! I hadn’t thought of that. I do like dryer balls. I think this is a great idea to use up wool that is just odd in color or in texture.

      oh, laundry woes! This is the one chore that never ends. 😉

      Tina

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