When is it safe to use my soap

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

Silva5297

Member
Joined
May 16, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
5
Location
Fontana
Is it safe to use soap after a week of curing? I have read yes and I have read it need to cure for longer can someone please help thank you.
 

Babyshoes

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Messages
239
Reaction score
545
Location
Uk
It is *safe* to use within about 48h (sooner for hot process) as all the lye will have saponified, but the cure time is not about safety. It is when the excess water evaporates from your soap and the crystal structure of the soap develops.

It'll become harder (longer lasting), milder and nicer to use with a longer cure. I like to test mine at 2 weeks, then compare it several weeks later when it's fully cured. It tends to feel a bit harsh and drying on my skin early on, but becomes gentler as it cures. My low bubble soaps tend to become a bit bubblier as they cure too.

4-6 weeks is the general advice for cure time, but actually it's things like your specific recipe, humidity and temperature in your cure area that will determine how long it needs to become as good as it's going to get. That's a minimum, and most soaps will be ok for general use after that time, but some need a lot longer.
 

Silva5297

Member
Joined
May 16, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
5
Location
Fontana
It is *safe* to use within about 48h (sooner for hot process) as all the lye will have saponified, but the cure time is not about safety. It is when the excess water evaporates from your soap and the crystal structure of the soap develops.

It'll become harder (longer lasting), milder and nicer to use with a longer cure. I like to test mine at 2 weeks, then compare it several weeks later when it's fully cured. It tends to feel a bit harsh and drying on my skin early on, but becomes gentler as it cures. My low bubble soaps tend to become a bit bubblier as they cure too.

4-6 weeks is the general advice for cure time, but actually it's things like your specific recipe, humidity and temperature in your cure area that will determine how long it needs to become as good as it's going to get. That's a minimum, and most soaps will be ok for general use after that time, but some need a lot longer.
Thank you

A caveat to the above. As a safety precaution, I would suggest doing a zap test with young soap before using it. Especially as a beginner, to be sure the soap has really fully saponified and that no measuring (weight) errors contributed to an accidental lye-heavy soap.
Thank you I will try it
 

cmzaha

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
11,969
Reaction score
11,651
Location
Southern California
It is *safe* to use within about 48h (sooner for hot process) as all the lye will have saponified, but the cure time is not about safety. It is when the excess water evaporates from your soap and the crystal structure of the soap develops.
Actually, the 48H is not necessarily true, zap testing is the best way to tell. A soap that is poured at emulsion can easily stay very zappy for 72hr before the zap switch turns off.
 

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
1,766
Reaction score
2,594
Location
Oregon
Is it safe to use soap after a week of curing?
If you have made a well-calculated batch of soap...yes. But you will be disappointed as your soap will be 'short-lasting' and 'harsh' in comparison to letting it 'cure' for six to eight weeks.

There are three parts to the curing process:

The first part is 'saponification'...this is where your emulsified oils and lye are being turned into 'soap'. For Cold Process Soap, saponification can take 24 to 48 hours. And while the Hot Process Method shortens the saponification, it still needs 24 hours.

The second part is water evaporation...'water' doesn't necessarily refer to "Distilled Water" because folks can use other liquids in their soap like various types of milks, aloe vera juice, fruit juices, alcohols like beer, wine and spirits, etc (all of which by-the-way, contain water). Soap typically looses half it's water weight within the first six to ten weeks of curing. Allowing your soap to fully 'cure'...which, depending on your recipe can take four to ten weeks, makes for a long-lasting bar of soap. The first time I made soap (community class), we were told to 'cure' our soap for two weeks...which is about how long it lasted in the shower and I was only using it maybe four times a week. On the other hand, a well-cured bar of soap should last a good month (or more) for someone who showers every day.

A note here...folks often confuse 'hardness' with 'long-lasting'. I can process a bar of soap that is as hard as a rock when it comes out of the mold, but it's still going to melt away if I don't allow it to cure properly.

The third part is the stuff that is happening to your soap on a molecular level (crystal structure). You have to remember, Sodium Hydroxide is a caustic substance and while it is fully neutralized during the saponification process with none remaining you still have free-ranging sodium ions just as you have fatty acid ions from your oils/butters. As your soap cures, these ions bind together creating crystal structures...the tighter the structures, the better the soap (I am really simplifying stuff here).

Through experimenting, I cure my soap between six and eight weeks during the Spring/Summer and between eight and ten weeks during the Fall/Winter. I live in the Pacific Northwest of the US and cure in my garage...we get a lot of rain during the Fall/Winter. I also change my Lye Concentration from 33% to 35% during the Fall/Winter...that 2% translates into NOT having to cure for three months.

To find out what a good 'cure' time for your soap, cut a bar into three...try the first bar at two weeks, the second at four weeks and the third at six weeks. Make notes and then compare them. Things you want to look for is:

- How does the soap feel when you are washing with it? Is it silky or slimey?"

- How well does it lather, what kind of bubbles to you get, how long does it take to get bubbles and lather?

- How does you skin feel after you have washed and dried your hands? Do they feel clean or do they feel icky***? Do they feel tight and dry? Do they feel nice and silky?

*** - If you have used commercial soaps all your life, artisan soap is going to feel different, like something hasn't been fully rinsed off. This is normal because we've been brainwashed with the whole 'squeaky clean' deal. You want your dishes and pot and pans to be 'squeaky clean', but if you skin or hair 'squeaks', it's because you have completely stripped it of its natural oils. Oils that are naturally present to protect you from germs and bacteria.
 
Last edited:

Miffybear

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2021
Messages
18
Reaction score
44
Location
Cheshire
If you have made a well-calculated batch of soap...yes. But you will be disappointed as your soap will be 'short-lasting' and 'harsh' in comparison to letting it 'cure' for six to eight weeks...........
Thank you! Found your post really helpful.
 

Latest posts

Top