The process of soap making as we know it today was developed in Babylonia. Many things about the process have remained the same through all these years, so it will continue to be used for many more generations to come. If you’re not careful, soap can cause a lot of problems, whether you make it or not. Is it possible for soap to grow mold? That’s the question we’re going to address today.
Can soap get moldy?
Yes, soap can grow mold if organic additives are present. Generally, soap will sit with a pH of 8-10 which prevents growth. But when you add in fruit puree and other things during the process the high moisture content which makes it an ideal environment for fungus or bacteria development depending on what’s being processed into soaps.
To learn more about why soap molds, how to prevent mold growth in homemade soap, and everything in-between, let’s take a closer look.
Mold can grow in soap. Even though it’s unlikely, it does happen from time to time. Soap has all of the same requirements as mold, including organic material, water, and heat.
The correct answer should be “no,” if everything is done correctly. The types of soaps available have some subtle differences, and things like fresh fruit, cooked vegetables, and grains can have an impact on them, as can the preparation method. Melt-and-pour soaps are more susceptible to mold growth than cold process soaps are.
The pH balance of cold-process is between 8 and 10. Because it hasn’t gone through saponification yet, it’s far too alkaline to support mold. Mold can, however, develop in a bar if it contains organic material and is poorly cured.
Cold-process soap is distinct from melt-and-pour soap. As a result, it’s more likely to mold when combined with fruit purees, fresh herbs, or other organic substances because it was saponified before being used.
Because there is more water in liquid or foaming soaps, mold growth is more likely. Because tap, spring, and filtered water all contain mold-promoting organisms, it’s best to use distilled water.
Organic Matter is often the culprit.
Because soap contains water and organic material, fresh substances added to it may contain microorganisms. As a result, it’s best if soap contains dried ingredients.
In the “tracing” stage, fresh ingredients can only be added once. Add small amounts if you’re making your own soap. The water in herbs, flowers, fruit, vegetables, and other edibles evaporates during curing at the same rate as the water in the cure itself. Before that, unless you’re an expert, it’s best to avoid adding new materials.
Stick to tried-and-true recipes that are simple and easy if you are new to making soap. Please wait until you’re comfortable with your technique and know how to make it before experimenting with the more expensive additives.
Even if you’ve mastered the art of soapmaking, remember that even small amounts of cooked or fresh plant material will ruin your batch.
Throughout the process, be sure to avoid allowing any moisture or humidity into your workspace. Make use of a dehumidifier or a fan while mixing your batter, tracing, or curing.
Keeping surfaces clean and free of debris means disinfecting them regularly. This will help prevent the growth of mold in your batter during the baking process.
If you’re going to buy soap, you should do some homework first. If it’s from a small business owner, do your research on the ingredients and ask yourself these questions:
- What type of soap method is used: cold press or melt-and-pour?
- Is it made in a personal kitchen, or do they have a reserved area?
- What are their safeguards against mold?
- If fresh organic material is used, when do they add it to the batter?
A moldy bar of soap from a commercial manufacturer is something you should never buy. This isn’t usually an issue because quality checks are performed before distribution. Do not be afraid to seek clarification if necessary.
Identifying Mold on Soap
After not using your soap for a while, you may notice white marks or circles on it. These are simply dried bubbles from your last use. If, on the other hand, there are unusual colors or odors present, mold may very well be the culprit.
Microbial growth will spread throughout the establishment, possibly starting deep within. Cut or break the soap in half to make sure it’s still good. It’s a sure sign of mold if you see the same discoloration and the same rancid smell persists.
Please do not save the soap; instead, discard it immediately and wash your hands after using it. If you’re unsure whether or not your soap is moldy, it’s best to toss it.
Most soaps are completely mold and bacteria-free. Even if your soap is past its sell-by date, you can still use it for a while. Fresh materials were probably added during the wrong phase if mold is found.
How long do handmade soaps last?
How long will your homemade soap last? Prolonging the life of a product is often an issue for people who are looking to save money. However, with proper ingredients selection and storage practices, you can expect similar shelf lives compared to commercial products!
Moldy soap is a common problem. If you want to ensure your soap doesn’t mold, be sure not to use fresh ingredients in the batter and bake it at low temperatures for as little time as possible. When buying soaps from small businesses or making your own, do some research on what type of ingredients are used and how they handle them during the different phases of production. Remember that if there’s an unusual smell or coloration on top of bubbles, it may mean mold has already formed deep within!