Long before I ever sold a bar of soap, I made many many batches to test for how oils available to me locally behaved in soap, how climate affected curing, and I also tried keeping soap away for a length of time to see if it was true that old soap was like old wine.
My experience has been interesting. A short while after I started making soap, I had to move house and I packed up a lot of soap in a box that was kept in a store room and I literally cried when I opened the box a couple of months later. While some of the soap looked like they had mould growing on them, rats had also found a way into the box and earned themselves serious tummy ache guaging by what was left behind in the box. I cried, people. Then I asked the gateman to throw the box far far far away (aka the big dustbin outside the gate).
After that episode I paid better attention to storing the soaps and that episode has never been repeated. I’ve been going back into my stash of old soaps and rediscovering the thrill of using extremely mild old soap.
The one I’m currently enjoying is the papaya salt bar I made over a year ago.
While the added fragrance has faded, the soap itself is a delight. At first the lather was a little sluggish because of the 20% coconut oil that was not turned into soap floating about in the bar. But after running some water over it and giving it a rub, the lush lather came bounding back.
Its been in the bathroom ever since and I only just remembered to take pictures of it 😀 before its all gone. I’m not sure I’ve drank really old wine but I can imagine its the same experience 😉 .
I feel privileged to be able to find an outlet for my creativity through soapmaking at its the old soaps that thrill me because it reinforces how far I’ve come on this journey. And I’m thankful for the opportunity to pass on this passion to others and seeing what they are doing with the skills they’ve learned!