Can handmade soap go bad?

top view of bar soap and eucalyptus leaves

Handmade soap is becoming increasingly popular, as people are looking for natural and eco-friendly alternatives to commercial soap products. Many people have allergies to detergents and ingredients in commercial soap, and handmade soap makes for an excellent alternative as it tends to be gentle on skin. One question that often arises is whether handmade soap can go bad. The answer to this question is not straightforward, as there are many factors that can affect the shelf life of handmade soap.

Firstly, it is important to understand that handmade soap is made using natural ingredients, such as oils, lye, and essential oils. Unlike commercial soap, which often contains synthetic ingredients, artisan soap is free from chemicals and preservatives that can extend its shelf life. This means that the soap can be more prone to spoilage if not stored properly.

The shelf life of handmade soap depends on several factors, including the ingredients used, the curing process, and how the soap is stored. Most small batch soaps are cured for several weeks before they are ready to use. During this time, excess water evaporates from the soap, making it harder and longer-lasting. Curing also allows the soap to develop its unique scent and color.

To prolong the life of your handcrafted soaps, it should be kept in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic to prevent it from absorbing moisture from the air if you plan on storing it for a very long time. Soap can pull moisture from the air as well as if it has direct contact with water, keeping your bar as dry as possible in between uses helps prolong the life of the bar of soap.

The shelf life of handmade soap can vary depending on the ingredients used. Some ingredients, such as honey and milk, can cause the soap to spoil more quickly. Essential oils and natural colorants can also affect the shelf life of soap. For example, citrus oils can cause the soap to go rancid more quickly, while natural colorants can fade over time.

To determine if handmade soap has gone bad, look for signs of spoilage, such as an off smell or mold. There are many different processes for making soap, and some allow for the use of botanicals, and others not. Botanicals in soap (flowers etc) can be used in cold and hot process, but not in If the soap has an unusual scent or appears discolored, it should not be used. It is important to note that handmade soap that has gone bad can irritate the skin and may cause an allergic reaction.

In conclusion, handmade soap can go bad if not stored properly or if it contains ingredients that can spoil quickly. To extend the shelf life of handmade soap, it should be cured for several weeks, stored in a cool, dry place, and kept in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic. It is also important to use high-quality ingredients and avoid using ingredients that can spoil quickly. By taking these precautions, handmade soap can last for several months or even years, providing a natural and eco-friendly alternative to commercial soap products.