Given Malaysia’s generally high levels of humidity, I’m wondering whether it’s actually safe to leave my stock of soap in their cotton muslin bags for long periods of time to continue curing past their usual 4 weeks on the drying rack.
So I’m going to try this out: I’ve picked a few bars of my new batches of soap to be dressed up in their cotton muslin bags, and am allowing them to sit amongst their other — uhm, brothers and sisters? — to cure in open air, as is normally done. Every 3 days I’ll be checking in in these dressed soaps to see whether anything funny starts growing on the surface of the bars or the bags.
The reason why I’m concerned about this is two-fold. Firstly of course is my customers’ safety. I don’t ever want to send you a bar of mouldy soap! I’m taking as much precautions as I can especially since everything I have in the store doesn’t contain artificial forms of preservation.
Secondly is to do with production efficiency and storage. I’m still figuring out how many bars I have to churn out and at what frequency to ensure a steady supply of soap. It’s tricky business trying to ensure that I don’t end up having too little or too much stock. Too little means I can’t meet demand, and too much means having valuable storage space being occupied, and soaps losing their fragrance because of essential oils evaporating since I don’t shrink-wrap them in plastic.
An alternative to continuous air-drying past the normal 4-week curing time is storing my soap in air-tight containers with silica gel to keep them dry. I am already trying this out. So far no mould has shown up (my soap has been in there for about a month or more now) but having to constantly check and replace the gel is proving to be a bit of a pain.
Ah well, let’s see how the next few weeks go. 🙂