Where to store while curing...?

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wearytraveler

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So, here in the north east the temps are dancing at (and have already dipped below) the freezing level and since I'm making a few batches here and there in the coming weeks, I ask this;
To store in a cold garage where temps will be extremely cold but dry or, store in a dry but pretty warm utility room that houses my water heater and furnace?

Thanks.
 

BattleGnome

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I live 20 miles from Lake Superior, I sympathize with your weather.

My soaps are all in the basement for curing. They aren't necessarily in the utility room, but it is one of the lease climate controlled rooms in the house. My decision for that was easy access+space. The question I would ask is: do you want to go in the cold garage for every batch?

(Science wise I think the utility room is a better choice but I admittedly am not one of the more scientific members, you might want to wait for them)
 

Catastrophe

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10 minutes East of Lake Ontario here, mine are in my formal dining room (that we use as a schoolroom...we use the breakfast nook for our dining table, but my soap stuff is all over the table, so we eat at the bar in the family room!) No way am I tramping through my cold garage to play with my soap LOL
 

Millie

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Finger Lakes - so humid in the summer, so cold in winter! I keep them in the guest bedroom then they go all over the house when we have a guest. Not very practical.
 

navigator9

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You want good air circulation. You don't want direct sunlight. Too much heat isn't good, but I'm not sure about freezing temps. Part of what happens in the curing process is evaporation, and if the soap is that cold, I'm not sure how that impacts the rate of evaporation. But I bet someone here will have more information for you.
 

ngian

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Based on my latest experiment, the rate of evaporation is higher when the humidity is lower. That doesn't mean that you will not have a good cure in a humid environment but it seems that it will take a relatively more time for the soap's moisture to evaporate.

In a humid environment it would also be a good idea to have the soap cure in an area with good ventilation, as others stated, so as for the soap to not sweat.
 

kchaystack

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Water sublimates (goes from solid to gas with out becoming a liquid). It is slower than evaporation, but as long as the humidity is low (and cold air does not hold as much water as warm air) water content of your soap will still go down. Might take longer.

When I was in MI, I stored everything in my basement. Even tho the furnace was down there it was easily the coldest part of the house (tho it was not below freezing, it was cold) and my soaps never seemed to suffer.
 

Makayla

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I worried about this too because I really have no other place to cure my soaps but in a cold room. I'm not exactly sure about the temperature or humidity but I think the temperature might as well even go below freezing or just be close to that point, because it really is cold and it's never heated. While I for sure don't think this is ideal, I just tried out my first soap which was stored there for 4 weeks (and it was soap that didn't use any "hard" oils), and it didn't seem to suffer in any way. It's pretty firm, and nothing bad happened to it (except for the "slime" which seems is normal for these kinds of soaps anyway), so there's that.
 

TeresaT

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I live in Tennessee. It was in the 20's on Monday and 68 on my way home today, so I'm probably not a great help or example. However, I store my soap in an empty bedroom in the back of the house. The window is closed and the vent is covered. On cold days, it is cold in there and warm days it's warm. I don't have an air conditioner. So my soaps sweat (literally) all summer long. (I don't have to CPOP in the summer :lol:) The only concession I make is there is a ceiling fan in there that keeps the air circulating in the summer so it isn't so stagnant. I sometimes have the window open when the humidity levels are low-ish (below 75%).
 

Susie

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Even if you have to cure your soaps in humid conditions, just cure them longer. I prefer my soaps to cure 8 weeks. Remember that they are eventually going to live in a humid bathroom, after all.
 

TeresaT

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Even if you have to cure your soaps in humid conditions, just cure them longer. I prefer my soaps to cure 8 weeks. Remember that they are eventually going to live in a humid bathroom, after all.
Haha! Good point, but I don't think anyone cures soap as long as me. I cure for at least three months before sharing. I was just talking to a friend about this today at work. I found some 16 month old soaps that I totally forgot about last week or the week before. I pulled them out of hiding and gave him a couple to try out. They were the ugliest soaps on earth!! He and his wife loved them. So now I'm going to start curing my soap for a minimum of six months instead of three. I'm actually going to try to cure for a full year before sharing. Mind you, most of my soaps are 45% lard. They are about 65% hard oils and don't "need" a lengthy cure. I've got a good supply of soaps that I made this summer that will be 2017 Christmas gifts. I just like a good long-cured bar of soap.
 

Susie

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I like them cured a long time, also. But I am gearing up to start selling, so curing for months is just not practical.
 

wearytraveler

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I think I'm going to put up a rack for storing/curing in my utility closet. The humidity level there is pretty constant where in the garage it can fluctuate from winter to summer. Now I'm wondering if the soap scents will get picked up by the furnace and passed around the house...?

Thanks again!
 

Gerry

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I like them cured a long time, also. But I am gearing up to start selling, so curing for months is just not practical.
I'm so confused. :-?

Don't get me wrong Susie, since it's not just your post here. I see this kind of thinking is almost ubiquitous among those who sell. The funny thing is, I don 't see this kind of attitude among all the other craft kind of projects (for sale) that I see. For example...

Even the most huge and volume factory Prosciutto takes a year to 18 months to be ready for sale. Most red wine take much more time than this. Cheese makers may wait 5 years or more to release their best products... like aged cheddar or parmesan. My favorite Scotch whiskey is 12 years old!

I'm sorry, but from experience I don't believe that soap at 4 to 6 weeks old is at its best. In every other industry, no sane person would think of selling their product far from its best. What makes so many soapers different? Goodness sake, I've even read soaper's ads saying if you buy their soap "please let it sit for awhile so that it cures out a bit". OMG!

While most sellers wont ever admit it, something happens to soap as it ages. Soap is a complex thing, like wine in a way. It is "alive" and there are reactions occurring even after it's lost most of it's excess water. You try even a pure lard soap after 1 month of curing, then try it after 7 months and you'll know what I mean. Like night and day.

Sorry, but from a commercial/business standpoint, I don't see how making soap is any different from other business products that also take time before sale.
 

Scooter

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I live in Tennessee. It was in the 20's on Monday and 68 on my way home today...
Ugh, NC has had the same weather this week.

I've just been making soap since last summer but I think my plan going forward will be to concentrate soap making in the winter so the soaps can have a few months of dry-ish weather to start out with.
 

kchaystack

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Sorry, but from a commercial/business standpoint, I don't see how making soap is any different from other business products that also take time before sale.
Because we are small home based crafters, we do not have the luxury of large warehouses to store products for months to years. The other items you mentioned require the long ageing time to get to the 'good enough to sell' stage. They also get better with even more age just like soap.

So, if a soaper starts selling at the 'good enough to use' point, they are not going to cycle thru all their stock immediately, and some bars with have time to cure longer. Just like wine and cheese.
 

Scooter

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So, if a soaper starts selling at the 'good enough to use' point, they are not going to cycle thru all their stock immediately, and some bars with have time to cure longer. Just like wine and cheese.
I am not a seller, but I think my own soap was pretty great at 2 months and I would not hesitate to buy a balanced 3- or 4-oil bar from someone else at that age. If it were something like a Castile bar I would want more age on it, of course.
 

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