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How to prevent soap from going soggy?

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Nanditasr

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So, now that it's the monsoon season, I have peculiar problem. All my bar soaps (the ones on the drying racks), were wonderfully dry all these days -- from last November to this April. Now that the rains have begun (and will persist until October!), the soaps have turned soft and moist. For these, I will probably use a few layers of cloth to absorb the moisture.

More problematic, though, is the soap I have kept in the basement bathroom. It is about 3 degrees C cooler than the rest of the house. The air circulation is not terrific here, and the humidity is not helping matters. I have placed the soap in a tall tray to permit air circulation below it, but it has still turned into a squelchy mess. (This does not happen with the commercial soap. Also, it is fine in the bathroom upstairs, since it is placed close to a window.)

It's not even a soluble CO soap; it has plenty of palm oil and was super-hard once upon a time. Is there anything I can add to prevent this problem?

[Edited to emphasize the main problem to which I'm seeking an answer.]
 
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jcandleattic

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the only thing I can think of is to invest in a dehumidifier to dry up your curing area, and once cured shrink wrap and package.
 

OldHippie

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Use a soap dish that keeps the soap raised out of any standing water, where air can flow underneath. Leave any shower curtain open. Keep cured soap you're not using sealed in jars so they will not absorb extra ambient humidity.

My bathroom hand soap does gets soft as I use it. I trade it off from time to time with another bar that I keep in a dryer location.
 

jcandleattic

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Use a soap dish that keeps the soap raised out of any standing water, where air can flow underneath. Leave any shower curtain open. Keep cured soap you're not using sealed in jars so they will not absorb extra ambient humidity.

My bathroom hand soap does gets soft as I use it. I trade it off from time to time with another bar that I keep in a dryer location.
This will help with the bathroom bar for sure.
I thought she was only talking about when she was curing.
 

isha

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More them to a dryer location or if they r on the drying rack. Keep them in the wardrobe... Mine seems to be fine... Ive made some new batches recently, all r drying well... Even without a fan in the room..
Or u cud invest in dehumidifier... If u feel the humidity is too high.
Keep the soaps on a paper towel before placing them on racks.
1 cm diff btw the bars.. just enuf for some air to flow...

works like a charm for me..
 

Nanditasr

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This will help with the bathroom bar for sure.
I thought she was only talking about when she was curing.
Thanks. Yes. I'm more worried about the one in the bathroom. The rest, I can move to some other location. In fact, I am already using a rather tall soap dish, but it isn't helping. :-(
 

DeeAnna

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Another thing to consider is if you've added any hygroscopic ingredients (chemicals that can absorb water from the air) to your soap. You can't do much about the glycerin created by saponification, but salts are hygroscopic. If you're adding sodium lactate or table salt or other salt in an effort to make a hard bar, you might want to think about eliminating that and see if that helps.

That said, there may be some limits to what can be done in a very humid climate. I have visited friends in Belize -- they live on a small island east of the mainland. Their climate is very warm and humid with lots of salt in the air. I also have an outdoor shower at my home that I use a lot when my Iowa weather is hot and humid (but no salt -- Iowa is in the center of the US). In either case, my soap does not dry as thoroughly as it does when the humidity is lower.
 

lsg

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I have a dehumidifier in every room in our basement. You would be amazed at how much water is pulled out of the atmosphere. As DeAnna stated, taking a look at your ingredients and changing would help. I also vote for buying one or more dehumidifiers.
 

happyshopper

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We don't have extreme weather conditions here but even with some of my soap I gave away the recipient said they liked it but it didn't last long as the bottom keep going soggy.

They were using a soap dish but a solid one. Soap dishes need to be like mini racks so the air can get to the bottom of the soap. They are harder to find as most soap dishes sold are flat solid bottoms, which are unsuitable.

Next bar I gave them I gave a suitable soap dish as well, they were really happy.

I think the main problem is people want the nicer/better for you handmade soap but expect it to perform like the commercial brands, hence treat it as such.

A question to those selling soap, do you give out a leaflet explaining how to store and store in use your soap or do you stick to recipes you have formulated to prevent this issue. As this is just a hobby for me the issue of soggy bottoms isn't really a big problem.
 

amd

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I think the main problem is people want the nicer/better for you handmade soap but expect it to perform like the commercial brands, hence treat it as such.

A question to those selling soap, do you give out a leaflet explaining how to store and store in use your soap or do you stick to recipes you have formulated to prevent this issue. As this is just a hobby for me the issue of soggy bottoms isn't really a big problem.
I give out a postcard sized handout with each sale that gives tips for the "proper care and feeding of soap". I referenced this soapmaker's instructions (minus the "...It's natural soap people...it won't last forever!" because I avoid using the term "natural" for my products, and because I do believe that a well made soap will last a very long time if stored well. Instead I modified mine to state that fragrances may fade with time.)

Back to OP's situation, I agree a dehumidifier is probably needed. I have one that is on all year round, it rarely runs through the winter, but during the summer I empty that sucker every day.
 

Susie

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When I lived in Louisiana, and in a more southern location in Texas, humidity and frequent rain was just a fact of life. I found that having the stored bars rest on something that provides airflow underneath the bars and having a fan on them makes all the difference. Even when the humidity was over 95%.

Do not, whatever you do, put them in a closet or drawer somewhere. You will get introduced to all the mold and mildew that can grow on soggy soap. Ask me how I know...
 

Nanditasr

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If you're adding sodium lactate or table salt or other salt in an effort to make a hard bar, you might want to think about eliminating that and see if that helps.
Thanks. Yes, I did add about 1/2 tsp of salt (for about 300 grams of oil) -- is that substantial enough to increase the sogginess?
Not surprisingly, my brine bars are bleeding away on the rack right now.
 

Nanditasr

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Next bar I gave them I gave a suitable soap dish as well, they were really happy.
That was a really smart thing to do!
I think the main problem is people want the nicer/better for you handmade soap but expect it to perform like the commercial brands, hence treat it as such.
Absolutely. They want it to look pretty too -- my cousin's wife keeps asking me to make the clear ones with rose petals!
A question to those selling soap, do you give out a leaflet explaining how to store and store in use your soap or do you stick to recipes you have formulated to prevent this issue. As this is just a hobby for me the issue of soggy bottoms isn't really a big problem.
That's a good idea. It's a hobby for me too.
 

Nanditasr

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I give out a postcard sized handout with each sale that gives tips for the "proper care and feeding of soap".
Good idea!
Back to OP's situation, I agree a dehumidifier is probably needed. I have one that is on all year round, it rarely runs through the winter, but during the summer I empty that sucker every day.
I guess I'll have to get one. Being an environmentalist, though, I'll first try a few layers of cloth!
 

Susie

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Making any soap with added salt in a high humidity environment is just asking for issues. Save the salt for the table. Sorry.
 

Nanditasr

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Making any soap with added salt in a high humidity environment is just asking for issues. Save the salt for the table. Sorry.
I so love the brine bar! I may have to make "seasonal" recipes -- the place is dry from November to May.
 

Nanditasr

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... tips for the "proper care and feeding of soap"...
It looks like a recipient of mine took the "feeding" bit seriously -- it looked like a honeycomb; she thought it was candy and sank her teeth into it! :oops::eek:
 

earlene

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I just emptied the bucket of our dehumidifier for the second time in 3 days. I can't even imagine how often I'd have to do that if I lived in an area with a Monsoon Season! I'd want a dehumidifier that emptied itself automatically! If that's a thing, I would certainly entertain the idea of purchasing one for your curing room.

While in Kaua'i last month, my salt bar (1:1 ratio for oil and salt) collected moisture from the air, the one day I left it out to 'dry' after my shower. I carry with me a well-draining soap saver and my soap bars never sit in water, so it was ALL from the air, beading on top in a little pool. Anyway, I solved the problem by drying it with a towel and keeping it in a plastic baggie between uses. It worked fine for the duration of that trip. I don't like wrapping soap in a paper towel because the paper sticks to the soap when un-wrapping. It may work fine in a non-humid environment, but not so well in high humidity in my experience. Sometimes while traveling, I do wrap soaps in paper (news paper weight without the print - no ink) then stack them inside a brown paper bag. That helps keep them dry as well, but then I have never driven in a Monsoon, either, so I cannot be sure it would be useful in your situation.
 

Nanditasr

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...so it was ALL from the air, beading on top in a little pool... I don't like wrapping soap in a paper towel because the paper sticks to the soap when un-wrapping...Sometimes while traveling, I do wrap soaps in paper (news paper weight without the print - no ink) then stack them inside a brown paper bag.
Oh yes, the paper towel is generally a disaster.

I'm currently at a humidity level of 88 to 94; I shudder to think how the soap will behave in a coastal place like Goa, but I'll deliberately carry some and test it out there -- placing it in the bathroom rather than in the air-conditioned room. The brown paper bag is a good idea; I'll carry it that way.

Overall, though, I must say it's fascinating to observe how a soap behaves over different seasons!
 
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