Soap Making Part V – Unmolding the Soap

If you are like me, you will be eager to see how things are progressing so the day after you made the soap you will be lifting the towel and touching the soap with the plastic wrap on it to see if it has hardened up yet. That’s good. That is exactly what you need to do. If the soap is still soft enough that you can leave an indentation when you touch it then you might want to leave it for another day or two.

When I unmolded and cut this batch I got in a hurry and did not follow that advice. While my soap was solid it was still soft – about the texture of cream cheese.

The best way to remove the soap from the mold will depend on the type of mold you used. With these two plastic molds the soap may or may not simply pop out when you turn the mold upside-down and press on it. I find that it usually doesn’t so I put them in the freezer for an hour or so.

Once the soap is frozen it does pop out of the mold when you turn it upside-down and press on the bottom.

I then use a large knife to cut then into bars.

For the molds that were lined with plastic wrap you can simply turn the mold upside-down, and the soap will fall out of the mold.

You can then peel the plastic wrap off and cut the soap into bars.

You’ll notice that I did not get a clean cut because the soap was still soft when I cut it. This may not be an issue for you unless you want a professional look.

I then place the bars in a box lined with wax paper and put them on a shelf where they will continue to harden and cure as the ph. drops over the next 4-6 weeks. I turn them over once or twice a week so that they cure evenly.

To know when the soap is ready we just use it. I will usually wait about six weeks but my husband will sometimes try it out after four weeks. If the soap is not ready you might feel some tingling on the skin. Another option would be to use ph. test strips but I’m not sure how accurate they are, and I’ve never found them to be necessary.

Thanks for reading and once again please leave any questions you have in the comments section below.

Happy soaping!

P.S. I really love to hear about your soapmaking experiences please let me know how it goes.

20 thoughts on “Soap Making Part V – Unmolding the Soap

  1. Your soaps are incredible. You have really gotten your process down and I love that you are so knowledgeable about the science of it all. You really are a fantastic teacher ❤

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  2. Interesting that the soap has to cure – I just figured you would pour it in the mold and I thought refrigeration might take place to get the bars hard enough to use … very enlightening post as was the prior post Ruth.

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    1. Thanks Linda. The chemical interaction continues during the curing time as the ph. continues to drop. In hot process soapmaking the soap is heated to high temperature for long periods to speed up the process.

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      1. That was interesting – I can’t say that I’ve known anyone who made soap. But in doing so, you know the ingredients and don’t worry about ingredients that could harm you. My grandmother used to swear by Ivory Soap and said she grew up using that soap and putting Noxzema skin cream on her face. She had beautiful skin, like a baby’s bottom. My mother had the exact same skin regimen and likewise had beautiful skin. Simple regimens that worked.

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      2. It is supposed to be pure, cannot remember the percentage – they used to say “so pure, it floats!” I think I read it is the ingredient (lauryl sulfate) that makes soap get foamy that is problematic for people with sensitive skin.

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      3. It’s a great marketing slogan but I’m not sure how “pure” is defined. I understand that it floats because they whip extra air into it during the mixing process.
        SLS is not normally found in soap but in many skin care products including body washes and shampoos and also cleaning products. It is one of many ingredients that can cause health problems.

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      4. It was likely a “gimmicky” ad then if it’s not pure. I could not use Ivory soap – it turned my hands red and raw and that’s all my grandmother used, so I had to take my own soap when we visited her. I have to use vinyl gloves when I wash my hair as the shampoo makes my hands red. When I worked on site, I had to use gloves to handle paper at the fax machine or xerox machine or wait until the paper cooled down. I was allergic to formaldehyde which is in printer ink. My hands would get huge cuts on them, so if I let the paper cool down or had to wear cotton gloves to handle it. Strange and it was worse in the Winter when the heat was on. I use Tone bar soap now with cocoa butter or Johnson & Johnson baby wash in the pump for washing my hands. If I use anything with perfume in it – it is problematic.

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      5. I’m not saying that it’s not “pure” but what is pure? Is it pure soap or are the ingredients pure and if so what does that really mean? In my opinion “pure” like “natural” is a feel-good marketing word. Formaldehyde is also used in some skin care and beauty products but is usually listed on product labels under different names.
        Ironically people often buy products because of their fragrances but they are some of the worst offenders. If I buy cleaning products, I try to buy fragrance free.

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      6. I didn’t know that formaldehyde was in other produces – that’s horrible, but I did know it was an ingredient in nail polish. I used to paint my nails and they were getting yellow, so I read in a magazine to use nail polish with no formaldehyde resin in it. I did that – bought Clinique I think and let my nails just grow out and I’ve never used nail polish again.

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    1. You’re welcome, Michelle. Assuming it is sodium hydroxide (which is the more commonly used lye, she could try soap made with potassium hydroxide. This type of lye makes a liquid soap. An example would be Dr Bronner’s liquid castile soap https://shop.drbronner.com/collections/soaps/products/peppermint-pure-castile-liquid-soap . You could make similar a recipe at home.
      Another natural alternative might be soap nuts. You can find info about them here – https://earthbits.com/blogs/earthbits/a-guide-to-soapnuts-what-are-soap-nuts-and-how-to-use-them

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