Curing question

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I have some questions regarding curing. I know to monitor weight loss to determine when a bar may be ready, however, I have monitored a couple bars for 18 months and they seem to never stop losing weight. It, of course slows down dramatically, but it seems to never come to a complete halt. I have packaged soaps with cigar bands and they will end up falling off months down the road even though I waited 12 weeks before wrapping. I know that soap continues to cure and gets better with time, but I also see where people will wrap at 4-6 weeks even if it is to cure longer. If you're using shrink wrap, doesn't that prevent the further cure?

Am I thinking too hard? LOL
 

jcandleattic

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Am I thinking too hard? LOL
short answer, yes you are thinking too hard.
Soap bars will continue to lose weight (evaporate liquid) almost pretty much for the lifetime of their existence. However, as you noted after a while it will be dramatically less so after a long period of time.
If you're using shrink wrap, doesn't that prevent the further cure?
No, not necessarily, and if wrapped too soon (less than at least 4 weeks) it could even promote DOS because that evaporated liquid will have nowhere to go - especially in high humidity areas. I never wrap my soaps until right before I give bars or take them to a craft show to sell.

If they don't sell, I leave them wrapped, however, sometimes I have to re-wrap them because between shows (a year apart) the bars have shrunk and become sloppy in the wrapping.
 

DeeAnna

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I use shrink wrap for things other than soap and have learned the wrap relaxes a little bit over time even if the item in the wrap doesn't change size. But I do think soap shrinks a tiny bit ... like forever. ;)

Regardless of the reason, if the shrink wrap loosens with time, I just shrink it again to tighten it up if the wrap is in good shape. That works well for me.

I don't think shrink wrap prevents the soap from curing further. If it did, then why would the soap continue to reduce in size and lose weight even when shrink wrapped? Most plastic films are still permeable to water vapor and air, so they allow a slow exchange of gases. I also wrap my bars so there's a "sniffy hole" in the plastic, and I'm sure this opening helps too.
 
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"I don't think shrink wrap prevents the soap from curing further. If it did, then why would the soap continue to reduce in size and lose weight even when shrink wrapped?"

I didn't think of that. Why would I? I makes perfect sense. 🤦‍♀️ LOL I suppose I was assuming air was not getting to them.
I made a comment on a Facebook group one day that I didn't think soap ever stopped losing weight, and I was kind of made to feel like an idiot. I didn't respond (my tongue is too slick), but I knew for certain that they continued to shrink. Happy to know I'm not crazy.
 

DeeAnna

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Nope, you're not an idiot and not crazy. Just more observant and thoughtful than many of the soapers who belong to those Facebook soaping groups. I lurk on one FB soaper group because it seems a little more sensible than most, but even so I have to bite my tongue fairly regularly.
 
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When I sent 3-4 month old soaps to dry Arizona from humid Virginia all of the cigar band labels fell off. When I went to visit a couple of months later and matched labels back up with the correct soaps, I was really surprised by just how much the remaining soaps had shrunk. I would guess that older soaps could lose weight/shrink or gain weight/expand a bit depending on relative humidity and temperature.
 

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