Curing soap can be a long process and test your patience. There are some things you can try to speed up the cure process. Waiting for the soap to cure is one of the most frustrating parts of making cold-process soap. It can take 4-6 weeks or even longer, depending on the recipe. Over the years, I have come up with some ways to speed up this process.
Curing Takes A while. Cold-process soap has to be cured for some time in order to neutralize lye. Lye or sodium hydroxide is a caustic that turns oils and water into soap. Why would you use it if it is caustic? Nothing else can turn water and fats into soap. No substitute. After complete curing, there is no lye left in the soap bars. You can read more about the use of lye to make soap here. Although soap bubbles will appear within the first 24 hours, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re done. The saponification, which is the process of turning fats, lye, and water into soap, takes 4 to 6 weeks. The longer the soap sits, the it becomes harder and milder.
CuringSoapFaster: Speeduptheprocess While it’s true that most soaps take 4-6 weeks to cure fully, there are ways to reduce that time. Reduce the humidity. Many people make soap at home or in their workshop if they’re lucky. My workshop is in my dining area. It’s an old house without air conditioning. I close the windows to reduce dust, but humidity still seeps in. So, I made a curing room. I use a shelf to put the soap, drape shower curtains over it, and then put my dehumidifier with the soap. I let it run for about a week to remove the majority of moisture. It usually takes about a week to cure. You could also use a spare wardrobe as your curing room.
Zeolites These rocks are used to remove moisture from the air. They are used to prevent dampness in closets. You can use them for the same purposes as a dehumidifier. Some people find that keeping them together in the same place helps. Zeolite rocks can be found here. Charcoal pans can also be helpful but could absorb the scent of your soap. Keep it away from the soap if you do use it.
Fans prevent moisture from settling onto soaps and allow them to dry quickly. Fans help remove moisture as water evaporates. Reduce the amount of water in your recipe to reduce waste. Reduce the water content in the recipe between 7-10% to speed up the cure. There is no risk of soaps becoming too harsh or lye-heavy because the amount of oils and lye remains the same.
My soaps take about three weeks to cure when I use water reduction in most of my recipes. Spaceheater Heat may help, too. If the weather is cool, I use a small fan heater. The heat helps evaporate more moisture.