How To: Zero Waste Soap

The Zero Waste initiative is making its way across UT Austin. From the campus wide initiative to personal projects, students and faculty alike are trying to reduce waste in all aspects of life.

The Campus Environmental Center hosted a Zero Waste Soap workshop and the recipe is here to share! A simple way to eliminate excess packaging by making your own soap at home. This might seem intimidating but with this “melt and pour” method, it has never been easier.



Fragrance of your choice

Food coloring (optional)

Reusable silicone mold

Glass bowl and spoon

STEP 1: Cut & Melt Glycerin

One of the most popular ingredients to use to make your own soap is glycerin. It is available for purchase on Amazon and in most health food stores. Start by cutting your solid glycerin into small chunks (approximately 1/2 inch) . Next, melt down your solid glycerin to a liquid in a glass bowl. Pop your bowl in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir the liquid around if there are any small chunks, or pop it back in the microwave if you think it needs more time. Make sure not to overheat your glycerin, so watch over your bowl in the microwave.


STEP 2: Add Color & Scent

With your liquid glycerin in the glass bowl, you can customize your soap with fragrance and food coloring. Add your desired color and scent to the mixture, making sure to constantly stir. Some popular soap scents include peppermint, vanilla, or lavender. Or for a fall twist, try pumpkin spice fragrance!

STEP 3: Add to Mold

Virtually any type of vessel can be used for your soap to set and cool in. Our mold of choice was a silicon baking mold that is typically used for candy or chocolate decorations. These molds can be found at craft stores like Michael’s and Hobby Lobby or can be purchased on Amazon. If you don’t have one of these molds on hand, try using cupcake pans.

STEP 4: The Big Reveal!

After waiting for your soap to set up for about 30-40 minutes, you can push your final product out of the mold. If you used an alternative to silicon molds, run a butter knife or offset spatula around the edges of the soap to remove it from the vessel easily. Viola! You now have your very own bar of soap ready to use.


Here are some photos from our event. Thank you to all who came out and make soap with us!

Information courtesy of the Education & Outreach team

Photos from Litterless, Thethingswellmake, and Glorybee



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