Mold growing from poppy seeds (and other seeds) - how to sterilize before making

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RogueRose

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I just came across some castile bars that had poppy seeds which got moldy after 6 months. I poured seeds over the top of the mould after pouring the soap so there is a thick layer along the top of the bar. This is where the mold grew thickest as there is relatively little anywhere else in the soap. I'm not sure if the soap (lye) made an inhospitable environment for the mold as it doesn't seem to grow when there is only one seed - but grows well where the seeds are thick.

I'm wondering if there is a way to kill mold spores before adding to the soap. I've read that cooking grains in a pressure cooker for 15 mins will kill bacteria and molds. I guess this is an option but I'm not sure if the seeds will be effected by cooking. After cooking I would dry them out in the oven on low - dehydrate them. After they are dry I think they should be pretty sterile. The only thing is to make sure not to contaminate them while drying them.

IDK if there are any other methods, if you know of one I would appreciate hearing them.
 

DeeAnna

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Mold spores are everywhere. Even if you could make the poppy seeds sterile, they will be contaminated with microbes almost immediately after you put them on the soap. Nothing stays sterile for long in an open environment. Sterile solutions like eye drops are kept in closed dropper containers to reduce the chance of outside contaminants from getting in for this very reason.

The solution is to not put the seeds on the soap in a thick layer. Take the lesson you have already learned from examining the moldy soap and apply it in the future.
 

cmzaha

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This is one reason, among the fact I just do not like stuff on my soap, that I do not use any seeds, flowers etc on the outside of my soap.
 

Susie

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Same here. No frou-frou on my soap tops. It only took me two batches with mold to learn this lesson.
 

DeeAnna

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I'm pretty much the same. I don't like decorative things on my soap either. Rosebuds, lavender buds, seeds, etc. might look pretty on a freshly made soap still in the mold, but the idea of using a soap like that in the shower or at the sink is distasteful to me. Add the fact that this stuff can mold, and I just can't go there.

If an ingredient is included IN the soap for a functional purpose, such as finely ground coffee or poppy seeds for scrubbiness or colloidal oatmeal for skin soothing, I'm okay with that. I make a gardener's soap with ground coffee in it and like it a lot, but I would never sprinkle coffee or whatever on top for decoration.
 

Saponista

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I also tried and failed with the poppy seeds. I now try very hard not to put anything botanical on top that could have the possibility of moulding.
 

RogueRose

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Ok, so some people don't like things one top of soap, but I've seen hundreds of posts about people adding things like oatmeal and other seeds.

Sterilization will GREATLY increase any shelf life of a product even if exposed to elements afterwards. It's about colonization rates in the starting material, not so much about contamination after manufacture.

The question remains, and if members don't know how to do this properly, I understand but was asking if they did know and would share. I know the method I posted will work but I've heard of other ways to sterilize with dry or super heated steam (among other methods) and wondered if anyone used something like this.
 

squeakycleanuk

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I'm not sure how effective it would be, as I've never tried it myself but how about spraying the seeds with a strong alcohol solution or something that would act as a preservative?
 

MrsSpaceship

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but I've heard of other ways to sterilize with dry or super heated steam (among other methods)
My concern with steam would be that it would add moisture and thereby making it an even more favorable environment for mold. You said it on areas where the seeds are thick, perhaps the easiest solution is to use a very light hand. Other than that, squeakycleanuk's suggestion of alcohol might work if combined with a good dose of heat.

Another thing to consider is a de-humidifyer (is that the correct term?) because you obviously have conditions in your cure area that are favorable to mold. Since you already have mold which has probably already spread spores, as a preventative measure in conjunction with your organics sterilization, you should also go over your cure area and disinfect that as well.

I wish that the people that do all the organic materials would show pictures of their soap months down the road and detail their cure/storage techniques. Yes we see the pretty petals and the dried this or that on the top, but all we see is the best face of it soon after cut, not the true timeline of cure/storage.
 

Saponista

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I feel like that about natural colourants too. There are some beautiful designs straight out of the mould posted on lots of forums, but in my personal experience most of them end up looking drastically different after they have had a proper cure.
 

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