How to Cure a Soap
Curing is part of the process of making soap and without it your bar of soap wouldn’t last nearly as long on your soap dish. Curing is essentially the process of drying out the soap before you use it so that it hardens and lasts longer. A lower water content also means less weight to be shipped so it's better for the environment as well.
If you are buying soap it will already have been cured before it gets to you. With natural handcrafted soaps usually being cured for at least 4-6 weeks. And if you are making your own soap this is by far the longest part of the process but vital for getting a good bar of soap.
Curing is also important for neutralising the lye. You need the lye to turn the fats and water into soap but it needs to be neutralised before you use the soap on your skin.
Looking After Your Soap
Once you have your beautifully cured hand crafted bar of natural soap you will want to look after it to make sure you can enjoy it for as long as possible. Here are a few things you can do to make your soap last longer.
Give Bought Soap an Extra Cure Before Using
One really simple thing you can do to get the best out of a bar of soap is to take it out of its packaging and let it dry out even more for a few days before using it. This is simply an extension of the curing process and will give you a harder bar of soap that will last longer and get less soggy.
Let it Dry Out Between Uses
Letting your soap dry out between uses is also really important for prolonging it’s life. Use a bamboo or wooden soap dish or a soap bag to make sure the soap has good drainage and air circulation. This will extend the life of your soap and prevent it turning to mush.
Cut Your Soap into pieces
If you have a large bar of soap consider cutting it into pieces to make it last longer. Soap breaks down when you get it wet, which obviously you have to do when you are using it, but if you use a smaller piece and keep the rest of the bar dry then overall your bar will last longer.
Very small pieces can be put in an organza bag or special soap sock so that you can use every last bit. This also helps small bits dry out better after you use them as sometimes they can become too small to effectively dry on a soap dish.
Next Up: What Is a Soap Sock?