Alegna Soap Soaps What happens as soap cures?

What happens as soap cures?

By Angela Carillo on Wednesday, July, 29th, 2015 in Soaps.

My curing racks

My curing racks

Have you ever been curious what happens as soap cures?

The first thing that is going on in that soap batch is the saponification reaction. The oil and the lye are combining to form new substances, soap and glycerin. Saponification is an exothermic reaction which means it gives off heat. The soap may “gel” and turn transparent as the reaction continues to takes place. If the soap has gone through this gel phase, it will slowly “un-gel” and become opaque again.

After 24-48 hours the soap in the mold has usually cooled down and can be cut into bars.  The bars are put on a rack to cure.  The saponification reaction may not be complete, depending on the oils used.  Olive oil tends to saponify slowly and coconut and palm oils more quickly.   The soap is very soft at this point, there is a lot of excess water in it. The water needs to evaporate from the bar so it hardens up. A soft bar of soap will dissolve very quickly. A soap maker wants to make a hard bar of soap. The harder the bar, the longer it will last. Since water is evaporating from the bar, the weight of the bar decreases too. Personally, my bars lose up to 0.5 ounces during this time.

The curing process takes 4-6 weeks. I know it’s a long time when you’re waiting for your favorite soap to come back in stock, but good things are worth waiting for.


Yours in Gratitude,


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12 responses to “What happens as soap cures?”

  1. Desiree D says:

    This is a great overview of the curing process. Thanks for the excellent explanation. Patience is a virtue!

  2. I have watched them cure on my racks as I wait for your soap to be ready. Gorgeous and wonderfully smelling!

  3. Michele Axmaker Chapman says:

    Great overview of the cold process curing of soap!
    I just had this conversation with a soap customer of mine, I had mentioned in conversation with him last week about my coffee soap on the curing rack. This customer shown up to the next market looking for the soap, while I’m excited he wants to try it, I had to let him know it was not ready yet. Good things do take time!

  4. Shonda Warren says:

    Very nice

  5. Joan Morais says:

    The process of soap making teaches a lot like you said patience. I love to make cold process soap. There’s nothing like it.

  6. Renan says:

    I had no idea! I love handmade soaps, there’s nothing like using one.

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