Q - How to preserve soap so it lasts "forever"?

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MySoapyHeart

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I decided to start a new thread with my question, because the one I found from June didn`t exactly cover what I was wondering about.
That thread can be found here.

What I wondered about today was what you long term soapers experience is on this topic I posted. I have of course read a lot about this topic of storing soap etc, but my question is regarding something I heard from the Soapguy.

The reason I started to wonder is that today I was on youtube and watched some vids from Jeffrey Dorian. He seems like a great guy, willingly sharing tips and tricks. I love that. I also found a video where he talked about "How to preserve soap so it lasts forever" - hence the title of my post. The video is below (talks about the wraping at 1.33)

https://youtu.be/k6Tw1vt4jb0

In the video he talks about how humidity is the only enemy of soap, and as long as the soap is kept dry inside the plastic it will - and I quote

"it will last absolutely for ever"

Well, I haven`t been soaping "forever", lol, so my soaps are no more than a little over a year and a half old (roughly around 19 months)

In the video he is talking about wrapping plastic around his loaves, and they have no airflow and are completely covered in plastic and sealed. He does not say anything about using perforated plastic, he says they are airtight.

Have any of you guys completely sealed your soaps with no openings, like he speaks of and stored them "forever"? ?

I know several of you have talked about the perforated shrinkwrap, which will let air escape. But have any of you - either whole loaves or soaps - completely sealed them airtight and let them sit on a shelf for years on end, like he talks about??

And btw, wishing you all have a lovely weekend : )


 

Susie

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You don't want to store loaves of soap that long uncut. They get hard to cut. I would also not buy anything from that guy. The humidity is not the only enemy of soap. Oils can go rancid. Just him saying that tells me how little he knows.
 

Soapmaker145

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I store my soaps unwrapped in my basement. For about 7 months out of the year, the humidity with the dehumidifier running is between 50 and 65%. I've never wrapped them and so far they haven't needed to be wrapped to preserve them. They don't go rancid willingly even when they contain a higher percentage of linoleic acid. I've been trying to make soaps go rancid and develop DOS and failing miserably. I still don't know what makes them go rancid or develop DOS. My suspicion is impurities, possibly metal ions, in the oils/lye and/or chemicals in the EO/FOs.

Early on I made a large batch of soap scented with cherry blossom FO that I disliked intensely. I stored it in a cabinet in my basement hoping the scent will fade and I'll be able to use the soaps. At 5 years, there was no hint of rancidity, DOS or fading of the unpleasant FO. I tossed the soaps after 10 years with the scent still there. They developed what looked like glycerin on the surface and attracted some dust. They started to develop a little rancid smell but it took 10 years to get to that point. Keep in mind I've always used a higher quality lye for my soaps, the kind that comes with a certificate of analysis that lists the amount in ppm of all the impurities (usually other metals) present in the batch I received. After trying the ED lye last year for the FO testing, I've gone back to my old source. Few of my FO testers with the ED lye have started to develop some spots and I've dumped some already.

This is my long way of saying that the quality of the ingredients is probably the most important aspect of longevity of handmade soap but that is the hardest to control.
 

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There was a popular experiment someone had done leaving three bars of soap in three different wraps and storing them together. The soap stored in muslin did the best with little to no DOS. Sunlight, moisture, the oils used, contact with metal can all affect soap so I agree with Susie that the guy doesn't know as much as he thinks.
 

MySoapyHeart

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You don't want to store loaves of soap that long uncut. They get hard to cut. I would also not buy anything from that guy. The humidity is not the only enemy of soap. Oils can go rancid. Just him saying that tells me how little he knows.
I agree with you, cutting must be a pain. If I leave my loaf a bit to long it is more difficult to cut it and get crisp edges. Not impossible, just a bit more tricky.
Can`t imagining leaving a loaf uncut for a long period of time, although I have read someone on this forum say they do this often and sell them as long logs of soap (can`t remember who, they haven`t not posted in a while) I guess the recipients must have some sort of James Bond lazercutter handy, to be able to get a clean cut. Or a hacksaw or some sort... zzz...

I store my soaps unwrapped in my basement. For about 7 months out of the year, the humidity with the dehumidifier running is between 50 and 65%. I've never wrapped them and so far they haven't needed to be wrapped to preserve them. They don't go rancid willingly even when they contain a higher percentage of linoleic acid. I've been trying to make soaps go rancid and develop DOS and failing miserably. I still don't know what makes them go rancid or develop DOS. My suspicion is impurities, possibly metal ions, in the oils/lye and/or chemicals in the EO/FOs.

Early on I made a large batch of soap scented with cherry blossom FO that I disliked intensely. I stored it in a cabinet in my basement hoping the scent will fade and I'll be able to use the soaps. At 5 years, there was no hint of rancidity, DOS or fading of the unpleasant FO. I tossed the soaps after 10 years with the scent still there. They developed what looked like glycerin on the surface and attracted some dust. They started to develop a little rancid smell but it took 10 years to get to that point. Keep in mind I've always used a higher quality lye for my soaps, the kind that comes with a certificate of analysis that lists the amount in ppm of all the impurities (usually other metals) present in the batch I received. After trying the ED lye last year for the FO testing, I've gone back to my old source. Few of my FO testers with the ED lye have started to develop some spots and I've dumped some already.

This is my long way of saying that the quality of the ingredients is probably the most important aspect of longevity of handmade soap but that is the hardest to control.
Wowsah, 10 years and not go rancid in the basement...

Thank you for writing your point of view, it was very interesting to get details and your take on this based on your long experience with soap.

May I ask how pure your lye is? In Norway, we (regular people) can only get a hold of two brands of lye, with a purity of 98/99% NaOH. It is foodgrade and can be used to make Lutefisk. We can download a datasheet (or whatever it is called in english) to see everything about purity etc.

I have never experienced any rancidity or DOS in any of my soaps I have made from the start, and up til now. I have them all under observation, one can never be sure when something suddenly turns, after what I read and hear. I always use the freshest oils, store them cold, freeze my lard until I am using it, and do whatever I can to prevent things to go rancid. But I am just waiting for that day when it happens to me too. Not walking in to a trap of taking anything for granted o_O

There was a popular experiment someone had done leaving three bars of soap in three different wraps and storing them together. The soap stored in muslin did the best with little to no DOS. Sunlight, moisture, the oils used, contact with metal can all affect soap so I agree with Susie that the guy doesn't know as much as he thinks.
Yes, I remember that experiment! I had it bookmarked on my old computer, but when it broke down last year I lost all my precious bookmarks regarding information like that, and couldn`t find it again after the fact.

Thanks for the link DeeAnna, there it is! I had it before but lost it when my computer brok down, now I bookmarked it again, thank you: )
 

DeeAnna

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I shrink wrap my soap and this has been working well for me. Usually I wrap my soap 4 to 6 weeks after the bars are cut. I use a shrink film that is solid, not perforated, but I do make a small "sniffy" hole so people can get a whiff of the scent. I have not always used shrink wrap, and many of the sample bars in my "bone pile" are not wrapped -- some of the bars in the bone pile are several years old.

I would say the wrap preserves the scent better than no wrap, but I can't say shrink wrap preserves the soap itself any better than storing the soap in a clean, dark, dry environment. Maybe shrink wrap might make a bigger difference if I lived in a very dry climate -- I can't say.

I find myself wondering why one would need to preserve soap "forever." It's supposed to be something one ~uses~, not a relic to last for ages. I suppose it's a good thing for soap to be stable enough to last 2-3 years or so, but beyond that ... why? :think:
 

Soapmaker145

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May I ask how pure your lye is? In Norway, we (regular people) can only get a hold of two brands of lye, with a purity of 98/99% NaOH. It is foodgrade and can be used to make Lutefisk. We can download a datasheet (or whatever it is called in english) to see everything about purity etc.
The lye I use is an analytical grade >98% pure that we use in the lab. it isn't something you can buy off the shelves. The MSDS sheet is not the same as a certificate of analysis. The MSDS sheet just gives you general information about the chemical. The COA is specific to the lot of lye they send you.

Oils go rancid readily under normal storage. I doesn't make sense for them to survive so long as soaps. Some of the soaps I'm using are 2 to 4 years old and they are fine. They wouldn't have survived as oils exposed to oxygen (more so than humidity). It takes a lot to turn oils rancid in soaps.
 

penelopejane

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I agree with you, cutting must be a pain. If I leave my loaf a bit to long it is more difficult to cut it and get crisp edges. Not impossible, just a bit more tricky.
Can`t imagining leaving a loaf uncut for a long period of time, although I have read someone on this forum say they do this often and sell them as long logs of soap (can`t remember who, they haven`t not posted in a while) I guess the recipients must have some sort of James Bond lazercutter handy, to be able to get a clean cut. Or a hacksaw or some sort... zzz...
Loads of Australian soap sellers offer this. I thought maybe they cut the loaf for the recipient but no! Seems a little insane to me!

I can just imagine the response I'd get if DH caught me using the circular saw to cut soap judging by the response I get when i use the kitchen scissors to cut soapy stuff! :eek:
 
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shunt2011

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I too can't imagine being able to cut my soap if it was stored as a whole loaf for quite some time. Heck, if I leave it over 24 hours it gives my Bud Cutter a workout and is hard to get the wires to cut through without a bit of muscle.

I have soap over 5 years old that is still fine. Some scent fading but otherwise fine. I've only had one batch ever get DOS.
 

MySoapyHeart

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Loads of Australian soap sellers offer this. I thought maybe they cut the loaf for the recipient but no! Seems a little insane to me!

I can just imagine the response I'd get if DH caught me using the circular saw to cut soap judging by the response I get when i use the kitchen scissors to cut soapy stuff! :eek:
Lol, now I am imagining you with goggles, huge gloves, a big saw and pair of scissors trying to work on a stubborn loaf of soap... : D

I shrink wrap my soap and this has been working well for me. Usually I wrap my soap 4 to 6 weeks after the bars are cut. I use a shrink film that is solid, not perforated, but I do make a small "sniffy" hole so people can get a whiff of the scent. I have not always used shrink wrap, and many of the sample bars in my "bone pile" are not wrapped -- some of the bars in the bone pile are several years old.

I would say the wrap preserves the scent better than no wrap, but I can't say shrink wrap preserves the soap itself any better than storing the soap in a clean, dark, dry environment. Maybe shrink wrap might make a bigger difference if I lived in a very dry climate -- I can't say.

I find myself wondering why one would need to preserve soap "forever." It's supposed to be something one ~uses~, not a relic to last for ages. I suppose it's a good thing for soap to be stable enough to last 2-3 years or so, but beyond that ... why? :think:
Thank you DeeAnna : )

Btw, I chose not to say much about how I personally felt about what he claimed re. "forever" part, because although I love the fact that he shares so many general tips so freely, I didn`t want to come here and immediatly diss his claims, when I `don`t actually know everything about this topic, if you know what I mean?

After all, perhaps there was something I had missed during all of my research, and that you guys with long experience perhaps had a much different view of this topic and could put me on the straight and narrow and let me know that I really should take his word as truth and start "vakkuumseal" all teh soaps... : P

But after reading the recieved input so far, I feel my own thinking based on everything I have read and researched about soap - it all line up with what you guys have shared. I just didn`t want to come off as a know-it-all and claim I knew something I didn`t..

I shrinkwrapped 4 soaps last summer, but just as a test in case something wasn`t going right. I check them every now and then. The shrinkwrap is very loose and limpy now because the soaps have shrunk, but there is no sign of dos, rancidity or bad smell. I did leave the sides open though, as I wasn`t to shure if it was wise to seal them off completely, as shrinkwrapping isn`t something I do a lot except with my fizzies. Now I have some soaps I want to shrinkwrap, easier to keep them dust free untill they are given away : )

Btw - ditto on the point of having to keep soaps forever. What.is.the.point. Soap is for using. And I actually like the fact that I can get rid of them so I can make more soap, get more experience, testing fragrances that work the best, etc. Hoarding does not work for me. At all.

PS:
Sorry to ask yet a question! But what is a bone pile? I do get an image in my head, but I assume it has nothing to do with a pile of bones? *grin* : P

The lye I use is an analytical grade >98% pure that we use in the lab. it isn't something you can buy off the shelves. The MSDS sheet is not the same as a certificate of analysis. The MSDS sheet just gives you general information about the chemical. The COA is specific to the lot of lye they send you.

Oils go rancid readily under normal storage. I doesn't make sense for them to survive so long as soaps. Some of the soaps I'm using are 2 to 4 years old and they are fine. They wouldn't have survived as oils exposed to oxygen (more so than humidity). It takes a lot to turn oils rancid in soaps.
Ah, then I understand about the certificate, thanks for clearing that up!
Since the lye I use is foodgrade, and the Norwegian government is known for extremely strict rules regarding everything that is going out to consumers, I feel safe, and haven`t had any problems so far, with oils or the lye. Thanks again for taking time to answer me! : )

I too can't imagine being able to cut my soap if it was stored as a whole loaf for quite some time. Heck, if I leave it over 24 hours it gives my Bud Cutter a workout and is hard to get the wires to cut through without a bit of muscle.

I have soap over 5 years old that is still fine. Some scent fading but otherwise fine. I've only had one batch ever get DOS.
Me neither. I only have a knife to cut my soaps, but will ask my brother in law who is a carpenter to perhaps make me a cutter. Cutting hard soaps with a knife is bad enough, can`t imaging the strain hard soap will have on the strings of a soapcutter.

Thanks again, appreciate your taking time to give me input : )
 

DeeAnna

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"...what is a bone pile?..."

My apologies for not being clear! Engineers often keep a collection of odds and ends that they might use some day -- much like dogs bury bones. Some people call this a "bone pile."

I keep samples of most of my soaps mainly to see how my soap changes over time -- shrinkage, color change, scent retention, overall appearance, any DOS, etc. That is my soapy "bone pile."
 

joy.

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I made a 20% superfat goat milk castille quite awhile ago and was worried it would go bad before I could use it all. After a 3-month cure, I wrapped the bars in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. I think they've been in there at least a year. I just pull one out when I need it and let it sit for a week or so before using. It's been a handy way to store a specialty soap that's a pain to make. I think freezing may be more helpful than wrapping, but I'm assuming it also stops curing while frozen.

I can just imagine the response I'd get if DH caught me using the circular saw to cut soap judging by the response I get when i use the kitchen scissors to cut soapy stuff! :eek:
haha! I tried cutting a really hard loaf with the compound miter saw once. It didn't go well...but I was careful to do it when my hubby was not around. : )
 

dixiedragon

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My mom actually conducted this experiment, pretty much on accident. We had some strips of soap in different colors, so we wrapped them in press and seal and put them under a cinderblock to see if the cinderblock would smush them together. And then forgot about it. For a few years. Soap was still wet, still soft, not rancid - as far as I could tell it, was colored soap - and was indeed smushed together.
 

SunRiseArts

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Lol, now I am imagining you with goggles, huge gloves, a big saw and pair of scissors trying to work on a stubborn loaf of soap... : D


Me neither. I only have a knife to cut my soaps, but will ask my brother in law who is a carpenter to perhaps make me a cutter. Cutting hard soaps with a knife is bad enough, can`t imaging the strain hard soap will have on the strings of a soapcutter.

Thanks again, appreciate your taking time to give me input : )

I have a great idea for you! well, actuallyit was my hubby when I asked him to make me a soap cuter .... :):cry: Get a mitre box and a soap slicer. I actually got my slicer on ebay for 3 dollars. So my cutter cost me less than 10 in total!

https://www.walmart.com/ip/12-PLASI...0058&wl11=online&wl12=144791860&wl13=&veh=sem


The mitre has a ruler and a spot for the saw that the slicer goes through.

Actually I was reading this because I wanted to post a question, but I was trying to find a psot, as I think it most likely been asked. Maybe you all can help?

When is the best time to shrink wrap cold process and or hot process soap?

What about putting them in ziplog baggies if you are not selling them? Crazy? Or is it better to just leave them open.
 
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cmzaha

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Actually I was reading this because I wanted to post a question, but I was trying to find a psot, as I think it most likely been asked. Maybe you all can help?

When is the best time to shrink wrap cold process and or hot process soap?

What about putting them in ziplog baggies if you are not selling them? Crazy? Or is it better to just leave them open.
I find ziplock bags can affect the fo over time
 

Susie

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I live in the deep east region of Texas, where we have plenty of humidity. I like to leave all my soap open to air as long as possible. I know when I start selling I will have to start shrink wrapping at least the bands around the bars, but at least there are still air holes on the ends.
 

shunt2011

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I dont' wrap (shrink wrap bands) until I'm ready to take them to markets or shows. I too like to leave them out as long as possible to let the air circulate. Plus the longer they sit unwrapped the more likely they won't need to be hit with the heat gun again. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way and sometimes I'm under the gun to get stuff made, cure it 4-6 weeks and get it out the door.
 

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