Cut soap after cure

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Ilyce972

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There are a lot of soaps sold these days, that can be cut by the customer. I'm assuming its cold process soap, but how is it possible to cut?
 

DeeAnna

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I've seen whole loaves of soap in a store. The customer or staff cut pieces off. Is this what you mean?

This soap looked more like hot-process soap, although I suppose it could have been young cold-process soap. In any case, the soap was softer than my usual soap is after it's cured, so it could be easily cut with a bench scraper type of tool.

In this particular situation, the store let customers cut the soap loaf without any oversight by the store staffers. That meant the loaf was being handled by customers (and their kids) who could easily damage the loaf (drop it, play with it, make a mis-cut, etc.) There was no control over cleanliness and sanitation (unwashed hands, lint from clothing, etc.). When I saw this approach, it didn't impress me due to the risk of damage and contamination. The idea is even less appealing now with the covid virus.

Before I made my own soap, I bought soap from an online seller who would sell me a whole loaf for me to cut at home. I used a knife or bench cutter. The soap was freshly-made hot process soap, and still quite soft. Knowing what I know now, I'm sure it was only days old.

It didn't come with instructions to cure the soap for best performance. I knew enough at the time to cure it for at least a month before use, but I'm sure many customers used the soap right away and wondered why the soap didn't last very long.
 

Catscankim

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I've seen whole loaves of soap in a store. The customer or staff cut pieces off. Is this what you mean?

This soap looked more like hot-process soap, although I suppose it could have been young cold-process soap. In any case, the soap was softer than my usual soap is after it's cured, so it could be easily cut with a bench scraper type of tool.

In this particular situation, the store let customers cut the soap loaf without any oversight by the store staffers. That meant the loaf was being handled by customers (and their kids) who could easily damage the loaf (drop it, play with it, make a mis-cut, etc.) There was no control over cleanliness and sanitation (unwashed hands, lint from clothing, etc.). When I saw this approach, it didn't impress me due to the risk of damage and contamination. The idea is even less appealing now with the covid virus.

Before I made my own soap, I bought soap from an online seller who would sell me a whole loaf for me to cut at home. I used a knife or bench cutter. The soap was freshly-made hot process soap, and still quite soft. Knowing what I know now, I'm sure it was only days old.

It didn't come with instructions to cure the soap for best performance. I knew enough at the time to cure it for at least a month before use, but I'm sure many customers used the soap right away and wondered why the soap didn't last very long.
I dont understand the reason behind this whole loaf thing lol. Why let customers mangle your soap?
 

DeeAnna

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The display I saw had a cutting board and a fairly safe "bench scraper" type of cutter with a cable attached to keep the cutter from walking off. Small shelves behind the cutting board contained the loaves of soap. The display was high enough that really little kids couldn't get to it, but older kids and teens certainly could.

I can appreciate it's kind of a cool idea from a customer's point of view in that they can handle the soap and get that tactile experience. The soap was brightly colored smelled good, so it was appealing to pull out each loaf to see and smell it. Even I indulged. ;)

From a soap maker's and seller's point of view, it wasn't as good an idea. Someone could cut off a piece and just leave it without buying -- there was already one piece that had been cut off and abandoned. The loaves were starting to show signs of being handled too -- dings, scratches, a little bit of lint.

At some places, the staff cuts the soap. That seems like the ideal solution, but it isn't quite the same experience from the customer's point of view -- they have to ask to smell a loaf (or a sample) and then ask someone else cut the soap . And from the staff's POV, it's going to be more of a pain -- lots of one-on-one service for a relatively inexpensive product.
 

Elizevt

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I've cut my 3-week old soap with my wire cutter and I'm sure you can use a knife too. But I feel that cutting soap with a wire or a cheese cutter is neater and smoother.

the store let customers cut the soap loaf without any oversight by the store staffers
That sounds dodgy to me. I can't help but cringe a little.
In the current 'age of the corona', You don't really want loads of people touching things and cutting their own bars in a shop setting. Its is way safer and more hygenic to provide a precut and packaged individual bars. '

However here in South Africa, we make a 100%tallow bar we call 'boerseep' it is used a lot for laundry, washing clothes.
Some folks would request buying a whole loaf for themselves because it is more cost-effective. and for use in the laundry, the soap is quite often grated fine and then melted in hot water before washing the clothes in the soapy water.
So, in that case, it is not necessary to cut it into neat 100 bars, you would just chop a piece off with a knife and grate it.

(I don't sell soap yet) If I were to sell soap to the public. I would aim to sell and market individually wrapped bars. But if a client were to request a full loaf, I would be happy to sell them one.

But having customers randomly pawing at open loaves of soap and cutting their own bars, or cutting skew and massacring the loaf. Eish, that would be a no from me. I wouldn't buy a soap that was pawed at by countless members of the public. That would put me off.
 

TheGecko

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There are a lot of soaps sold these days, that can be cut by the customer. I'm assuming its cold process soap, but how is it possible to cut?
The same way you would cut it...a cheese slicer, wire cutter, soap wire cutter, a knife, one of those blades things.

With that said, no way would I allow customers to cut their own soaps for any number of reasons: 1) Liability. All it would take is for one customer to cut themselves and I would be sued. 2) Sanitation. Even though I know where my hands have been, I either wash my hands when I cut my soap or I wear gloves when cutting multiple loaves. It will cost money to supply customers with soap, water, paper towels or gloves. 3) Waste. I cut my bars 1" thick and I get 10 bars per loaf, so what happens when a customer cuts a bar that is 1 1/4" or 1 1/2" or they cut crookedly. Sure I will weigh their bar(s) and charge accordingly, but what do I do with less than a 1" bar or the scraps when I have to straighten the loaf? I don't rebatch, I don't do confetti soaps, I use my slivers/end pieces for testing not for 'samples' (I have a cavity mold that I use for samples...much prettier).

My oldest daughter visited a soap shop that sells whole loaves. The shop will cut it for the customer or the customer can take it home and cut it themselves.
 

Ilyce972

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I guess I need to clarify. I didn't literally mean how do they cut it (cutter vs wire), but after a week my soap is completely solid. I'm assuming their soap is older than a week. What is necessary to add to a CP soap batter to make it easy to cut still after several weeks?
 

DeeAnna

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I don't know that there's an additive that you can add, if that's what you're wondering. Instead, I'd just choose a recipe that stays malleable for some time. A a bench scraper type of cutter will help compensate for the soap getting firmer as time goes on.

I know a soap high in lard can still be cut with a bench scraper after it's well cured. I have sometimes split a full size bar into thinner sample bars several months after the soap is made.

A soap high in coconut or tallow would probably not be suitable, since they can get so hard and brittle. Some of the 100% olive oil soap is awfully hard too.
 
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