How do you store your CP during the curing process

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akseattle

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New Question: 1) How do you store your CP soap during the curing process, and
2) then how do you store your CP soap after its 6 week or so of curing?

I've seen very mixed information. Usually, when I see photos of soapmaker's storage areas, I see soaps laid out on baker's racks. Sometimes on wooden shelving, with lots of space between the racks.
I understood CP was supposed to get really good ventilation, especially during curing, so I initially left my soap exposed to the air. On my fourth batch of CP soap (which I did using single cavity molds instead of a loaf), I got pretty serious soda ash. I then read (or I asked and was told) that CP soap should not be exposed to air during the initial curing stage as that can result in soda ash. So, since then, I cover the loaf (or single cavity molds) with a big microwave splatter cover – which has little vent/ holes- then I cover it with towels and a blanket. After I cut it, I’ve been putting it in a wooden wine box- the lid is slightly open because the wood is warped. And I put the towels and blankets over the box.

My wine box is out of space. My January/ February batches are cured. But, I’ve seen all sorts of mixed information about whether CP soap SHOULD have or SHOULD NOT have exposure to air. I know it should be stored in a cool, dry place. But ventilated or not ventilated?

A few places say “a storage cabinet” would be perfect. Some places say “not shoe boxes, but airtight plastic boxes.” Other sites (or books) say “not airtight, there should be some ventilation.” I read one post where a bunch of soapmakers had exchanged soaps as an experiment. A year later, one soaper reported the results. Although I think the experiment had to do with what did or did not make sudsy soap, she also noted that one year later, a few soaps had DOS and a few had no scent. She noted none of the soaps that were well packaged had DOS and that they had more scent. She didn't say HOW they were packaged or wrapped. But, I took her comment to mean that one should protect their CP soap from air.

So, is all this soap I see on soapmaker’s bakers racks with air circulating all around only their during curing? Only after curing?
As I was writing this post, it occurred to me that my sister-in-law (in Calif. East bay area) has had this gigantic bar of unwrapped Savon de Marseille sitting in her bathroom for at least a dozen years. It looks fine.

I downsized my office space and brought home some really heavy duty metal storage cabinets. I would LOVE to store my soap (during and after cure) in my dry, cool basement in shoe boxes in these heavy duty storage cabinets. They wouldn't be "airtight" but there also wouldn’t be much airflow.

I'd be super bummed if my CP soap got DOS due to improper storage.
But, I’m confused! Does CP soap need to be cured and stored with ventilation & airflow or without exposure to air?

How do you all store your CP soap?
 
Hi, waiting longer to unmold. Helps with cavity molds. No cutting, what's the rush. Cut bars, something open, with air flow is best. Non metallic or something between placed between bars and shelf. Some use a fan. To increase air flow. Keeping a thin covering of some type helps also.
 
My curing soaps and cured soaps are all kept in the same place. I have umpteen box lids from photocopy-paper reams that I line with a sheet of baking paper. Each batch yields about 22 bars and they fit into one box lid with enough space in between to cure. Once cured, I condense them down (stack 'em real close) so that they now fit into about half a box-lid. All the box-lids go into a large wooden bookshelf in my craft room with about four inches between the top of the soap to the next shelf above. Because the shelves are so close, I don't bother with covering the soap.

I have a small dehumidifier in the room which I turn on when the humidity goes over 70%
 
@MelissaG and @ Ford, its not the soda ash that concerns me, it's DOS. Although I like the idea of waiting a week or so to un-mold bars. As you said, what's the hurry. I have found that single cavity bars don't firm up as fast as loaf molds.
So, @KiwiMoose, it sounds like you are not particularly concerned about airflow. If your bars are in photocopy paper boxes (I have tons of those!) and stacked pretty close, they aren't getting a ton of airflow (other than cardboard is pourous). I understand soda ash stops forming at least after a week or so. And then the concern is just DOS? I think my garage is a little dusty. I'd been trying to figure out how I could keep my bars well ventilated on shelves without them getting dust on them over time.
So, if I put mine in my heavy duty metal file cabinets (so no dust problem), assuming no significant humidity, does that seem okay? There would not be alot of ventilation in those cabinets.
 
I don't think airflow has much to do with DOS. Airflow helps them to cure by allowing the water to evaporate from the bars. Storing them directly on metal can cause DOS, as can some oils, some EOs, some ingredients.
Once your soap is fully cured ( about 8 weeks - 3 months) you don't need airflow anymore, so feel free to pack them close and cover them lightly so that they don't sweat. If you live in a humid climate you may want to think about a dehumidifier. Having lived in the US, I know that many homes have a 'controlled climate' with air-conditioning throughout, so if you're storing your soap inside the house it should be fine. If it's in the garage - that may be a different story.
 
Here’s pics to better explain:
 

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@KiwiMoose , Wow, that is beautiful soap! And dang girl, you are organized! I live in the U.S. but my house was built in 1919. Although it's had some upgrades, it definitely doesn't have a "controlled climate" with air conditioning! Looks like there are inexpensive hygrometers available to see whether my basement is humid or not.

@Zing , you said your shoeboxes have "some" air holes in them. Is it that you want a teeny bit of airflow, even after curing? Or, are you thinking that "airtight" is not necessary?

@justsomeguy , are your baseball card holder boxes plastic or cardboard?

I'm still trying to figure out if I could put soap in cardboard boxes in my metal file cabinets.
 
I stopped worrying about soda ash a long time ago. Nothing I do seems to change it so I just accepted it.
I have embraced steaming any loaf that develops soda ash. I used to cut first but find it easier/faster to just steam before cutting. Works great.

I poked holes in the shoe boxes for some airflow.
To cure, I use baker racks with plastic trays for “shelving.” For storage, I shrinkwrap in breathable shrink wrap.
 
I used to cure in plastic bins that had lots of ventilation holes. Someone gave me some wire racks, and that is what I use now with paper. After cure they go into cardboard boxes that are not airtight.
I live in a semi arid climate though so humidity is rarely an issue.
 
@KiwiMoose , does it matter what kind of wire? I just made a hanger tool (for the hanger tool challenge) out of a wire coat hanger- on recommendation from this forum. I googled to see if different wire coat hangers are made from different products. I could only find answers that said they are made out of steel. I chose a coat hanger that is painted white, since I assume not all hangers are made from steel. I really don't want DOS on my soap. I guess now I'm wondering if a wire coat hanger is okay. What do you think?
 
@KiwiMoose , does it matter what kind of wire? I just made a hanger tool (for the hanger tool challenge) out of a wire coat hanger- on recommendation from this forum. I googled to see if different wire coat hangers are made from different products. I could only find answers that said they are made out of steel. I chose a coat hanger that is painted white, since I assume not all hangers are made from steel. I really don't want DOS on my soap. I guess now I'm wondering if a wire coat hanger is okay. What do you think?
I used a plastic coated wire hanger for my swirls with no issues.
 
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