Don't worry about storing your handmade soap. Unless your soaking it in water or letting it sit in a hot steamy bathroom, your soap will be just fine in almost any location! But just to be clear, the following discusses the best practices on storing your soap whether you're a buyer of soap or a maker of soap.
Have you recently bought a few bars of handmade soap and want to know how to properly store them to keep them fresh? Well, I've got a crazy idea for you...store them in your linen closet in a shoe box!
First and foremost, YOUR LINENS AND TOWELS WILL SMELL AMAZING!
Second, most linen closets are dry and out of direct sunlight. Your soap will stay fresher longer if it is not exposed to moisture on a regular basis. Will it go bad if it gets hit with a little steam? No. This can simply add moisture where moisture is not wanted.
When soap is first made, it takes about 8 weeks for all the excess water to evaporate. There's no benefit in giving the soap back some of the water it has already lost plus it can lead to a mushy bar of soap. Who would want that...uh, no one.
Now, the reason for the shoebox is to keep your soaps free from any dust and to preserve their scent even longer. Soaps scented with essential oils can tend to fade in their scent-strength over time and exposure to air due to the natural behavior of the ingredients.
Remember artificial fragrances can contain THOUSANDS OF CHEMICALS that force a scent to remain for years. Something that strong, I don't want anywhere near me! Storing the soap in a shoebox limits the air the soaps have access to, thus holding their scent just a tad longer. Plus, it keeps any soap residue off your linens should they get tossed around in there.
Third, if your home is ever broken into by a soap-a-holic, they'll never know where to find your stash!
OK, being serious now. Storing handmade soap in a bathroom can cause the integrity of the soap to decrease over time because of the constant moisture exposure. A well-made bar soap can ideally last for an eternity, minus the loss of scent. Soaps 100 years old are on display at museums worldwide and they would be perfectly cleansing should you use one.
The wonderful thing about handmade soap is that it gets better as it ages. But just like fine wine, there comes a point in time when it can go from being perfectly aged to downright old. Same with soap.
My suggestion is to use your handmade soap within one year of purchase. This will help ensure that the integrity of the scent is still present and guarantee that you are enjoying the aromatic soap experience that the soap maker intended you to have.
After allowing the recently produced handmade bar soaps to cure in the mold for 24-48 hours, I suggest removing the soaps from the mold and allowing them to sit in the open air for 12 hours. Then, I suggest cutting the soaps (if need be), then stand the soaps on one edge on a flat sheet pan or low cardboard box (see image) covered with a thin towel or paper towels.
Then, cover your soaps with a layer of wax paper gently resting on top. This keeps the soaps free from dust while curing. I personally then cover my whole batch of soap with a light towel to keep the scent in while allowing air to continue to dry the soaps.
While the soap is curing for 6-8 weeks, I suggest turning the soap at least 4 times to evenly dry out all edges of the soap. During my last rotation, I also switch the outside soaps (nearest to the outer edges of the box) with the inside ones to again ensure as even of a cure as possible. The more evenly the water evaporates from your soaps, the better quality and consistency each bar will be.
Allowing your soaps their full cure time is essential to ensuring they become hard, long-lasting soaps. Soaps full of water tend to get mushy in the shower fast and dissintegrate quickly, thus leading to unhappy soapers.
Well, that's up to personal preference, but I guess, so is every other answer on this page! Personally, because I use high quality essential oils, I want my soaps protected from the elements and over-exposure to airflow.
Essential oils tend to dissipate from soaps far easier and quicker than synthetic fragrance oils. To ensure that my soaps maintain as much of their scent as possible, I store them in shoeboxes. Yes, you heard me right. I drop a few drops of the essential oil blend I used to make the soap onto a cotton ball and toss it in the box with the soaps. This helps to keep the scent rejuvenated during storage.
I personally like using cardboard shoeboxes because I feel they allow the soaps to continue to breathe well after their cure time. Call me crazy, but putting them in a plastic bin just seems counter intuitive when I've spent so much time respecting the life of the soap. I feel it would suffocate them...yes, I'm weird...but at least I can admit it.
Storing the soap in a closed cardboard box truly does help protect the soap from any dust accumulation, moisture from the surrounding air and again, helps to prevent the loss of any scent by keeping any evaporating scent inside the box.
The box begins to smell just like the soap as the oils absorb into the cardboard and that scent helps to maintain the soap scent as well. It's a symbiotic relationship. :) Storing soap in a cardboard box also helps with organizing and rack space. You can stack many boxes on top of each other without compromising the scent of any.
I hope you enjoyed my tips on storing handmade soap. Remember, soapers put a lotta love into making handmade soap. Store them well, so when it's time for your to enjoy them, you can to their FULL extent! Should you have any questions, I'd be happy to discuss further, just contact me. My name is Brittany and I'm the soap maker around here!