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"Cleaning" soap

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LilianNoir

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Man, what a title.

Anyway, as I transferred my soaps into their new all plastic containers(woven plastic baskets so it still breathes) I'm seeing just how many of them have marks from the cut, or slightly squished sides because many of my soaps were soft when I cut them because I 1. am impatient and/or 2. think some of them had higher SF than I realized.

<engage petulant mode> Basically, they look ugly and I hate them.
I was hoping to give these to friends, but even though the soaps perform well, I'm not apt to give them away looking like this.

What are your methods for cleaning up your soap?
I know that planing is a thing but I don't have a planer and I'm not about to buy one any time soon. (I have spent enough money on soap stuff).
I have heard of "rinsing" and "washing" soap.
I don't know if rinsing/dipping the soap will help, but maybe a light rub with a nylon will help?

I wanted to see what you folks do to make your soaps look nice, especially on their cut edges.
I DO have two different bevelers, and my early beveling attempts were awful, but the soaps I was trying it on were only a few days old, so I'm hoping to get better results now that they're cured.

Going to steam as well to help remove some ash.

What do you folks do and recommend?

One day I'll make a soap that looks the way I want it to from start to finish.
(Actually, I DID make that soap, I think. My most recent batches. Hopefully that trend will continue)
 

earlene

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I polish them/shine them up using a micro-fiber cloth after de-ashing them or after an alcohol spray. Or after planing & beveling. I have done the de-ashing using a hot water dip and using a steamer & using alcohol and using running water. It doesn't really matter which method, IMO, but I always polish them up with a micro-fiber cloth because I like to get that nice sheen.

If you're still not happy with their look after that, you can always wrap them up in pretty paper or cloth & add a nice matching or contrasting ribbon (like hair ribbon) or lace or even jute and that makes them look great for gifting.

PS if you have a mandoline slicer it might be suitable for planing, but when I tried it with the one I had, I did not like the result. But it might be worth a try if you are so inclined.
 

Catscankim

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Funny you should ask. I was just wondering the same thing. I made these 100% coconut gardeners hands bars and the ashed up terrible over time. they look so ugly. But then i used one...which i love the soap itself. And it looks so pretty now. I thought about “washing” all of these and wondered if thats ok?
Thanks for asking
 

LilianNoir

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PS if you have a mandoline slicer it might be suitable for planing, but when I tried it with the one I had, I did not like the result. But it might be worth a try if you are so inclined.
Oh I tried that a while back! Like you, I was not impressed with the result.

Thanks for asking
Anytime ;)

That old adage about if you have a question, someone else does too, so you may as well ask it, really is true.
 

Catscankim

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I tried looking up washing your soap and got no good results.

thought about washing wit a nylon on stubborn soaps. Do we have nylons in florida?
 

GemstonePony

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I'll cut my loaves at soft/medium cheddar, but I really recommend waiting to clean them until they're a very sharp cheddar consistency. Or until you could put a bar in a cardboard box and shake it without damaging the bar.
If I don't bevel, I use a popsicle stick to remove the soap from the edges that the cut moved there. Any dull straightedge would probably do, but popsicle sticks are my weapon of choice.
I intend to get some microfiber clothes, but I keep forgetting, so in the meantime I use paper towels to smooth the edges and rub out any bumps or smudges. I rub the edges even if I bevel because I like the feel and I think it helps to hide the unevenness.
 

DeeAnna

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...I thought about “washing” all of these and wondered if thats ok?...
Sure! I've done that. Only thing I'd suggest is to start with clean hands or use gloves and wash or rinse the soap in a container of distilled water rather than in running water from the tap.

Tap water can contain minerals that can trigger DOS, which is why it's not good to use tap water to make soap. What many people don't realize is DOS can happen on bar soap just from using the bar in tap water.

Normally a bar of soap is being used enough to prevent or remove any traces of DOS, so this "tap-water DOS" doesn't normally become obvious But if you're rinsing a bar in tap water to make it pretty, and then storing it unused for a longish time, DOS may form. Not saying it will, just saying it can.

I keep a bar of soap at a seldom-used sink in my shop, and I see this sometimes when the soap hasn't been used regularly.

In 2013, Kenna at Modern Soapmaking retested bars saved from the 2012 Lather Lovers soap swap. The original testing in 2012 was done in tap water, then the soap was dried and stored. A number of the used bars showed evidence of DOS in 2013. Kenna observed --

"...One of the things that this round of testing reinforced is the importance of using distilled water in soapmaking, keeping soap in its packaging until use, and not exposing it to metal. Shannon had many unused samples stored in their original packaging, and none of them developed DOS. However, many of our samples, which had been used in tap water, developed DOS, and those that were exposed to metal also oxidized. If we had used our soaps in distilled water rather than tap water, I bet there would have been less DOS. ..."​

 

xavalyss

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Until recently I washed all my soaps. Used gloves in slow running lukewarm tap water then lined them up to dry. Turned them every few hours and kept a fan on them. But since switching to my new molds from WSP I have stopped.
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linne1gi

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I plane and bevel most of my soaps. I recently bought a beveler for very cheap and it's my favorite now. Got it on etsy.com for about $12.
 
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