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How long should a bar of soap last?

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luebella

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I've bought a few off of etsy and made a few batches. The bars seem to go fairly quickly. About how long is the desired lasting length for a 4.5 to 5.5 bar? My husband and I used it once a day 5 time a a week.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Hand-made doesn't have the staying power of triple-milled industrial soap, generally speaking. 4 weeks is a good target, but if a hairy man is lathering up directly on the body, then it will struggle to go the distance. Using a cloth or loofa helps a lot, too.

The recipe and the cure time also play a large factor in it - lots of CO and it will go quickly, for example.
 

snappyllama

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Did you have nice good cure on your bars? I like to wait 6 weeks for my regular recipes. Even with that, I go through them faster than commercial bars - partially due to the nature of CP and partly due to how much more I use them.
 

shunt2011

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I'm with obsidian. Two weeks for hubby a month for me.
 

JayJay

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I'm with Obsidian. I have about 4 tester bars and 2 full sized bars in my soap holder on any given day. They seem to take *forever* to get used up. I am usually eagerly awaiting a trial of a new soap. I too have noticed that my salt bars (which are all coconut) get used up faster than the others.

My husband uses a shower poof and I think it takes him about a month to get through a bar. Maybe longer. And he is really aggressive with his lathering! He has to scrub up an ton of bubbles on each shower.
 

TeresaT

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Hand-made doesn't have the staying power of triple-milled industrial soap, generally speaking. 4 weeks is a good target, but if a hairy man is lathering up directly on the body, then it will struggle to go the distance. Using a cloth or loofa helps a lot, too.

The recipe and the cure time also play a large factor in it - lots of CO and it will go quickly, for example.
Oh that made me laugh. I pictured a gorilla taking a shower.


Interesting fact about the CO. I assumed it would last long since it's a hard oil. It's interesting how soaping is making me re-evaluate everything I know or look at to see how it applies to or can work with soap.
 

luebella

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Thanks! This is interesting. Glad to know two weeks to a month is the norm. Two weeks has been the average.
 

IrishLass

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Much depends on many variables:

-proper, long cure vs. short cure
-washing/bathing in hard water vs. soft water
-big, hairy people vs. children or smaller people with little hair
-direct, on-the-body lathering vs. using a facial cloth or nylon pouf
-leaving the soap in the direct line of shower spray vs. keeping the soap out of the direct line of spray
-storing the wet soap on a surface with no drainage vs. storing it on a well-drained soap dish so it can completely dry out between uses
-formulating the soap recipe to be heavy on the soluble fat side, such as high coconut oil soaps vs. being heavy on the saturated fat side
-small bars v. big bars
-short showers vs. long showers
-showering once a day vs. twice (or more) per day

It usually takes me about 1 month to go through a 5 oz. bar, but I'm petite (5'1") and don't have a lot of body hair or body mass. Plus my bars are cured for at least 4 to 8 weeks before using, I keep them out the line of shower spray, and I store them high and dry on well-draining soap dishes.

My hubby and son, on the other hand. share a bar and usually go through one of my 5oz bars about every 8 to 10 days. They are both much taller and hairier than me, son takes two showers per day (before and after work), hubby takes 2 showers per day on the weekend (after yard-work, etc..) and in spite of my constant encouragement, they like to keep their bar in the built-in soap shelf in the shower wall that gets hit with a lot of shower spray (albeit on top of a well-drained soap dish, but still). They say it's a more convenient place for them. I keep mine high and dry up on the shelf of the shower door frame, which is the perfect width for holding my bars and soap dishes.


IrishLass :)
 

notapantsday

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What oils/fats would be good to make the soap last as long as possible?

This is me in the shower, so I will use a lot of soap. While I absolutely don't mind at home (the more I use, the more I can make), when I'm camping I would like my bar to last for a while.
 

BrewerGeorge

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This is a very useful thread. As I begin to use my first bars of soap and they aren't lasting nearly as long as a commercial premium like Mistral, I was worried that they had not cured long enough (even though the proper time has passed.) Now I've learned that handmade soap isn't meant to last as long, and my mind is at ease.

Thanks, All!
 

kumudini

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My soap definitely lasts longer than that avian soap, typically 3 weeks for a full bar and one friend who uses soap only with a bath puff complains that it lasts forever. Hubby on the other hand uses them up really fast even with showering just once a day, they last more like 10 days to 2 weeks for him. My bars are a little over 4oz in size.
 

DeeAnna

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To last as long as possible, you'll want a soap with a fairly high % of stearic and palmitic acids for hardness like-a-rock and low solubility. A soap high in lard or tallow would be a classic, but palm will also work. Try an 80% lard, 15% coconut oil, 5% castor and see what you think. This type of soap will take a bit of work to build a good lather, especially when the soap is younger, but lather it will if you give it a chance. Other tricks to try along with this type of recipe -- soap with a more concentrated lye solution (say 30% to 33% lye concentration), encourage the soap to gel, and use a superfat that is low to moderate.
 

notapantsday

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Try an 80% lard, 15% coconut oil, 5% castor and see what you think.
Wow, that's the exact recipe I made two days ago. I'll definitely see how it turns out. I didn't let it gel though, maybe I'll do that next time (although plain white soap looks much better ungelled, imo).
 

ngian

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Other tricks to try along with this type of recipe -- soap with a more concentrated lye solution (say 30% to 33% lye concentration), encourage the soap to gel, and use a superfat that is low to moderate.
Thank you for sharing this point of view DeeAnna, and I was wondering if these tricks also applies to soaps with fewer long lasting fatty acids and makes them also a little bit more difficult to dissolve in water?
 

mymy

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Guys, is there any correlation between gelled/ungelled soap with its lifespan?
 

Susie

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Not to my knowledge. I have about the same longevity on either. But I use high lard recipes almost always.

To boost the lather on the high lard soap for camping, add about 1 tsp of sugar PPO. It will help on the bubblage.
 
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