Last questions before my first batch

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wearytraveler

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​I'm just about ready with all the equipment and tools I'll need. The oils I want to use are all purchased and the FOs and mica sample pack are on their way. The last few little things I can readily pick up at any local store and I just need a free weekend to get the first batch going. I'm left with only a couple of questions:

After I mold the hot process and set it aside for hardening prior to unmolding and cutting, do I need to keep it covered or open to the air?

I'm a bit stumped when it comes to where to cure the soap after cutting. Mind you, I plan to make an initial 48 oz batch and I would like it to cure for a 3 week minimum. The only thing I do know is that the drier the location the better. So...

When curing, does it have to be in the dark? Do I have to worry about indenting the soap on whatever wire shelving I might place the bars on (think typical closet-type wire shelving)? Would placing the cut bars on a microfiber cloth help draw out moisture or will it hinder? Would curing in a warmer room be better than a colder room or vice versa?

As always, thanks for any and all replies.
 

dixiedragon

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Covering your soap is not a requirement. That being said, if you have cats, it's a good idea to cover it with a towel or even an upside-down box.

Curing - Direct sunlight can cause oxidation. I think most of us avoid direct sunlight, but we don't worry about indirect sunlight or electric light. Wire shelves - sometimes the soap reacts with metal. Generally we don't recommend curing directly on wire. You could cover the wire with something - I like card board flats. I get them for free and if they get oily I just throw them in the recycle been and get some more. Currently my curing racks are totally free - I get the stacking flats from Costco. Try to get a bunch of the same brand - they will all fit together. Since you have wire shelves, you don't need the stacking flats - unless your shelves are full!

Microfiber clothes won't help. Putting the soap in a room with a dehumidifier is helpful to get the bars firmer faster, but it does not speed cure regarding gentleness of the bar.

A climate controlled room is more important than the temp. Both heat and air remove moisture from the air. Better a cool, air-conditioned room than a warm, stuffy room. Better a warm, heated room than a cool, stuffy room.
 

Navaria

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I don't cover my hp soap ever. Once it goes in the mold it sits open until it gets cut and goes on my drying rack. My rack is in my basement. I don't keep my soap in the dark while drying it. And my rack has metal bars and has never left marks in my soap, hp or cp. You want good airflow around the soap so I wouldn't put it on microfiber, or any cloth for that matter. As a side note, you can surely use your soap after a 3 week cure, but you will be amazed how much nicer it is as time goes on. Each bar will be better than the last :)
 

Seawolfe

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I keep my cut soap in stacked plastic crates lined on the bottom with freezer paper. Once they have cigar labels they go in cardboard boxes. All you want is air circulation, no contact with metals (I know stainless is supposed to be OK, but there is some lousy stainless steel out there, or mixed metal welds), general cleanliness from dust and pet hair, and out of direct sunlight.
 

wearytraveler

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Thanks for the responses. The metal wire shelves I'm talking about are vinyl coated, if that makes any difference. I guess I can find some cardboard and lay some freezer paper over it as a makeshift drying station. I have a utility room that, while warm due to the water heater, is a dry room. Then there's the garage. Temps here are due to go into the high 50s and low to mid 60s for the next week and the garage generally stays about 10 degrees cooler but is susceptible to any humidity that the day holds. Which of those 2 would be best?
Thanks again for the info!
 
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dibbles

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I'd opt for the utility room. The vinyl coated wire should be fine. I keep my soaps in my basement, which is dark. When first cut they are on open shelves and I use plastic embroidery canvas, like this,

http://www.joann.com/plastic-canvas-7-count-12inx18in/1419571.html#q=Plastic+Canvas&start=1

which I lay over some cooling racks I repurposed from the kitchen. I use the canvas since the coating on the cooling racks has rubbed off in a few places and the metal caused a couple of bars to develop DOS. When the soaps are ready to be cleaned up and put into storage, they go into cardboard trading card boxes.
 

wearytraveler

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The plastic embroidery canvas looks like a good idea. I think that after I harden the soap and cut I'll let it start the cure in the garage that's cooler now cause the nights here are still in the 40s. I'll leave them there until I start seeing that there is humidity rolling in then move the bars to the utility room for the remainder of the curing time.
As long as no one here poo-poos that idea then I think it's the way I'll go for this first batch. Come the summer months the curing will take place in the utility room only.
 

shunt2011

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I do the exact same as dibbles. They cure on lined shelves then into boxes after wrapping/labeled.
 
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