Thursday, August 11, 2011

How to Cure Soap in Humid Environments

Florida's climate can be a bit of challenge to the handmade soap maker. Depending on the concentration of water that a soap is made with it requires 3-6 to cure, or become ready for use. For standard beginner recipes 4 weeks is required. While the soaps cure they become milder and loose water; that is if you are in Florida, you hope they loose water. In Florida summer months the humidity can be quite a challenge for curing soaps and the over all shelf life of your soaps. Over the years I have had some sad losses due to Florida's humidity. If soaps are left out to cure in humid rooms the excess water from the soaps will not evaporate, they will simply stay in the soaps and lead to premature rancidity. In addition to the off smell characteristic of rancidity, rancid soaps will also develop small orange spots from oxidation.

You can offset the humidity somewhat with a dehumidifier, but dehumidifiers can heat up and be expensive to run. Also logistically it maybe difficult to use a dehumidifier depending on the size of your curing area, the type of electrical outlet in your curing area, etc. Also older central air conditioning unit are not designed to dehumidify.

Now I rarely run my dehumidifier, but instead cure my cut soaps in small closed spaces with non-toxic Calcium Cloride desiccating salts. The most readily accessible salts are sold as Damp Rid. You can at most grocery stores or online.

A cabinet or a large cardboard box makes a good place for curing your soaps using this method. If you are using a small container of Damprid, you will want to check your container every couple days for the first week or so in case you need to add more. Also, take into consideration what kinds of soaps you are curing together if you are using more than one variety. You don't want to cure soaps with a delicate floral scents together with woody scents, for example. Unscented soaps can pick up scents from scented soaps that they are cured with when you use this method. Right now, I'm curing my strongly medicinal smelling Neem Shampoo Bars in their own dedicated box away from my regular soaps for this reason.

Hope you like this method. Let me know if you have any questions or experiences curing soaps in humid environments.

Cory Trusty

1 comment:

  1. when you are using the damp rid are you covering your soap with a lid or are you putting saran wrap on the top? my first batch of soap went rancid and I was really disappointed. If you could email me at that would be great! Thanks