We’ve all experienced it; you just bought a new bar of soap and poof! In an instant it’s gone. Melted away down the drain, never to be seen again.
Well, there are reasons you’re losing soap so quickly. I’ll explain the problems, and set you up with some tools to combat your magically disappearing bars.
A bar will melt because of three main reasons-
1.) It sits in water and is not allowed to dry,
2.) user error, and
3.) the recipe is too soft or it’s under-cured.
The common thread in most of these issues is moisture. Backwards to logic, I know, but true! Soaps sitting in non-draining soap dishes are doomed for the drain. Keep soaps out of puddles and away from the direct stream of shower jets. A dry bar is a long-lasting bar.
The next reason your soap shrinks like it just drank a potion from Wonderland is mostly due to friction and how you’re using the bar. By using a washcloth, loofa, or felted soap you can use less of your bar than just by using it directly on your skin.
Finally, soft and under-cured bars. You can tell if a bar is soft if when you give it a squeeze between your thumb and index fingers you feel some give or it leaves an indentation in the bar. Soft bars will melt away much quicker than hard bars and the reason could be one of two things- 1.) the recipe used uses too many soft, liquid oils, or 2.) the bar has not had enough time to properly cure. Curing soap is simply allowing the remaining water in the soap the opportunity to evaporate out. As the soap cures it mellows and will become a harder, longer-lasting bar.
To illustrate this, let’s look at 100% olive oil soaps. People love olive oil soaps because they are super moisturizing. The problem with them is that it’s made with 100% of a soft oil. Olive oil soaps can take up to two weeks to unmold (mixed oil bars usually take 24 hours), and at least six months to cure, while mixed oil recipes containing hard oils (coconut) and/or butters (cocoa) can cure in a month or so.
While you don’t have full control over the recipe or cure time involved in the soap you buy (unless you order a custom batch, which is totally possible!) you can exercise control over how you use the bar in your tub or shower. So make sure to always keep the bar out of water (running or still) between uses, and use a shower accessory to help build lather, and you’ll enjoy your soap much longer!