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Experiment: Curing Soap While In Cotton Muslin Bags

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. ­čÖé

7 thoughts on “Experiment: Curing Soap While In Cotton Muslin Bags

  1. Hello, I was thinking of trying to cure my soaps wrapped in Muslin bags and wondering if you had success with it.

    1. Hi Amoreena, thanks for writing in (and I’m terribly sorry for my super slow response – we’re already in the new year! :p). Technically muslin bags do allow moisture to escape it, but it’s still much more efficient to allow your soap bars to breathe, uncovered. Is there any particular reason why you want to let your soap cure inside muslin bags?

  2. They turned out very good. Hair conditioner is entirely a different thing. All the optional yet good stuff for the hair will be another learning curve. Hair conditioner is a different beast. Or should I say hair is another different beast. All those negatively and positively charged thingy, anionic, catrionic etc. I’m taking it slowly. The consistency is stable, just want to learn the character of hair. Sounds silly isn’t it?

    As for the body cream, no problem for that. Rich and very creamy.

    I’m only transitting in KL in this trip, unfortunately.

  3. Hello Michelle, oh that’s a nice way to package the soap :).

    I don’t mind the ashes as well. If stir well, they don’t turn up as much. They look rather rustic with the ashes though.

    Lately, I’ve been making some hair conditioner and body cream/lotion. Mainly playing around with emulsion. Also some CP soaps – not yet post their pictures. Wanting to try making shampoo and liquid soap but the it takes too long to cook, beyond my patience. haha!

    I’ll be bringing back some soaps to Malaysia for family members to try for fun.

    1. Ai Shiang, whoa making conditioners and body creams? AWESOME! How are they turning out? And ditto about patience and making liquid soap, I have yet to give it a go because of the thought of standing around waiting for it to cook — especially when I’m still pregnant! :p Maybe later in the year, once the new baby is more settled into a predictable routine.

      Do let me know when you’re next back, perhaps we can meet up?

  4. Is the cotton muslin bags just to absorb the moisture? Are you referring to those white patches of thingy on top of the soaps?

    I have not come across mouldy soaps before, just caustic ashes.

    1. No, the cotton muslin bags are for packaging my soap – I’m not shrink wrapping them at the moment, so the bags are to protect the soap from bumps and scratches. Unfortunately it does mean that the essential oils will lose their scent more quickly. I don’t mind the white soapers’ ash so much, they’re not harmful — but the real mould, those green furry patches you sometime find on bread, have turned up on my test batches of soap that have been left out in the open for months and not protected from moisture.

      You’re lucky you haven’t come across mouldy soap — it’s heartbreaking, and not to mention rather gross! :p Have you been making CP soap lately?

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