Making your own soap is a fun and fulfilling hobby, but many people who are new to the process wonder if their end product is up to par and if they can produce a soap that will last.
Will homemade soap last for a long time? Homemade soap has a shelf life comparable to commercial products if the instructions are strictly followed and little or no superfat percentage is used. The oils used, the curing environment, and storage practices all have an impact on how long a product will stay fresh.
One of the most important factors affecting the shelf life of soap is how well it’s stored. To do this, examine each of the following factors carefully.
Let’s get this show on the road.
How Long Will Homemade Soap Last?
Soaps that are both harder and dryer will last longer.
It’s soap now, and it’ll stay that way for a long time after saponification. When it comes to shower performance, it appears that older soaps are better.
Some characteristics, on the other hand, may begin to deteriorate slightly over time.
Do you think the soap will last forever? It really is dependent on a number of variables.
In order to be clear, I’ll be concentrating on cold process soaping, which is the most popular way to make homemade soap.
What You Might Notice
There are several changes you may notice after your soap has been curing for the recommended six weeks.
It’s possible that the color and scent will fade away over time.
On the surface, a fine powder, either white or light gray, forms.
The outside edges of objects may develop strange orange spots at random.
There may be a few stray moisture specks.
If you plan on selling your soaps at some point, these issues may become a problem even though the changes are only cosmetic.
Your soap, on the other hand, may last for many years without needing to be replaced.
Color, Fragrance, and Soda Ash
The shelf life of the soap is unaffected by color and scent fading.
The soap may become paler over time if you use natural colorings and left it out in the sun.
There are mica colorants that will morph or fade over time, and then there are those that will not.
Only using essential oils as a fragrance usually results in soap that loses its scent quickly due to the volatile nature of EOs, which degrade during saponification or evaporate completely during cure. Learn more about the use of essential oils in soap by visiting this site.
Some fragrance oils retain their scent for years, while others fade away after a short time.
When soap is made with oils and lye that are below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, when soap is poured at a thin trace, or when soap is cured in a cold room, soda ash (a white powder) can form.
When the unsaponified lye reacts with carbon dioxide in the air, it produces a powdery substance. Soda ash, while unwelcome, is safe to handle and can be cleaned up with a damp cloth.
Deeper problems, such as smudges and moisture droplets, can shorten the shelf life of your efforts.
Examine why these changes occur and how they impact the soap’s quality and usability.
Factors That Impact the Shelf Life of Homemade Soap
Numerous factors can affect how long your soap remains spotless and fragrant.
As a result, when making soap, it’s best to avoid taking shortcuts. To get good results, you need to pay attention to every step of the process.
To make soap, soap makers combine a variety of oils with a lye solution.
While it’s common knowledge that different oils have unique properties, you may be surprised to learn that they also have varying shelf lives.
Flaxseed oil, for example, has a shelf life of six months to one year, whereas jojoba oil can last up to two years.
After saponification, oils won’t go rancid or have any negative effects on the soap because lye molecules have been combined with them to form soap.
Many soap makers, on the other hand, include a small amount of extra oil in their formula to help with moisturizing.
Although superfatting results in a luxurious soap, “leftover” oil remains after saponification.
The remaining oil could go rancid, resulting in the dreaded orange spots (also known as DOS) that are the soap maker’s worst nightmare.
This bar of soap is striped in blue and white and has dreadful orange spots all over it.
DOS soaps are generally safe to use, but if the soap has an offensive odor, it should be thrown away immediately.
Coconut oil and palm oil, which are solid at room temperature, contribute to the creation of a hard soap bar with a long shelf life, as opposed to olive oil, which produces a softer soap bar with a shorter shelf life.
Temperature and Humidity
Because soap melts easily at high temperatures, it has a shorter shelf life. At low temperatures, soap becomes brittle and can break easily.
High humidity is a much bigger problem than temperatures when it comes to soda ash formation.
The lye solution’s water slowly evaporates during cure time, resulting in a nice, hard soap bar.
Moisture in the air (humidity) prevents water from evaporating, causing water droplets to form on the soap’s surface and reducing the soap’s hardening time and shelf life.
Humidity is another factor in the development of those hideous orange lesions. Glycerin, a natural humectant found in homemade soap, provides wonderful moisturizing properties.
In fact, glycerin draws moisture from the air, encouraging rancidity in the soap’s remaining oils and making it softer.
Tips For Making A Long-Lasting Homemade Soap
When it comes to your favorite soap recipe, you’ll discover what works best with time and practice.
Until then, you have a few options for making a soap bar that lasts a long time while retaining its color, scent, and aesthetic appeal.
When the lye water has cooled to between 120 and 130 degrees, add sodium lactate, a liquid salt, to create a hard, long-lasting soap.
Unmolding and cutting soap is a breeze with this method, and the soap turns out to be a nice, hard bar. According to the manufacturer’s instructions, use one teaspoon per pound of oil.
There are no preservatives needed in soap because the pH levels naturally prevent mold and bacteria from growing, but soapers often add additives with preservation properties to help the oils last longer.
Add about 10 drops of the following per pound of soap:
- Vitamin E oil.
- Grapefruit seed extract (not the same as grapefruit essential oil).
- Rosemary oil extract (also known as rosemary oleoresin).
After you’ve poured the soap into the mold, you can help prevent the formation of soda ash by misting the soap with isopropyl alcohol.
A simple way to save water when making lye solution is to use less. It’s a good idea to start with a 10% discount.
Water discounting speeds up the soap’s cure time, resulting in a more durable bar sooner. It also reduces the likelihood of soda ash formation.
In addition, only use distilled water in your system’s rinse cycle. DOS can be exacerbated by the minerals found in tap water.
Use a soap calculator to check your lye-to-oil ratios and ensure a hard bar with minimal oil waste.
You’ll want to keep your superfat below 5% to avoid the rapid emergence of DOS.
Cure and Store Properly
For at least six weeks, let each batch cure in a cool, dry place. On the other hand, you may benefit from using a dehumidifier.
You should use a metal baker’s rack to cure and store soap because it allows the most air circulation.
- Allow the bars to touch.
- Store differently scented soaps together.
- Store soaps in an air-tight container.
How Long Will Homemade Soap Last Once You Start Using It?
Naturally, the more soap that is used, the faster it disappears from the dish. After each use, let the soap air dry completely to extend its life.
To help the soap bar dry faster, place it in a dish with plenty of airflow around it.