It is natural for homemade soap to go bad. The good news is that there are a few simple things you can do to preserve it, which we’ll discuss in this article!
Homemade soap can go bad over time if not stored correctly, exposed to too much light, in a very hot and/or humid environment. Bad soap can range from Rancid at worst to losing all fragrance at best working well as soap still but perhaps not lathering as well as they might have.
There are two main elements to determine if you soap has gone bad, one rather worse than the other. Each of the oils and the fragrance used in your soap making will have a certain amount of time before they are no longer at their best meaning the oils can break down and make the soap rancid, or the fragrance added in the making has simply evaporated away
This guide will offer some more details on these factors, but also provide 6 excellent ways to help prevent you soap going bad – let’s look at the preventative measures first and then go into the nitty gritty.
How to Increase Your Homemade Soap Shelf Life.
If you are considering making homemade soap for commercial use, that is to sell at craft markets or a retail store, FDA regulations state that your soap must be labeled and have an expirey date.
If you undertake this correctly, you will know how long your soap will last and can ensure that you give priority to selling your oldest batches first to avoid them running out of date.
By FDA regulations, soapmakers must label their soaps with an expiry date. However, your soap may last longer or less long, depending on the conditions in which you store it. If you want your soap to keep for a more extended period of time, there are several precautions that you can take to make your soap last longer:
I have a complete guide for storing homemade soap, or run through the 6 point checklist below
1. Your Soap should be stored in airtight conditions
When exposed to oxygen for prolonged periods oils can turn rancid For a good comparison, you probably know how a good red wine will suffer when oxidization takes place, well, your essential oils, and carrier oils can do the same, so keep the air out of the storage container you use for your soap.
2. Store your soap away from exposure to sunlight.
As well as the danger of melting and sweating, exposing your homemade soap to sunlight runs the risk of both the color you so beautifully created and the fragrance blend you invented can both fade; and fast!
When storing your homemade soap do so in a dark place away from direct sunlight
3. Cool dark Conditions are best
Point three works in tandem with point two in that sunlight will also create heat, which in turn creates sweats and damages the oils in your soap. When keeping in a dark place, it goes without saying, it should also be a cool spot.
4. Keep your soap dry whilst in storage
Store away from high humidity as this can affect the packaging, or worse still penetrate it and run your batch. A good humidifier doesn’t cost much and can keep your storage area free from humidity either in warm or cooler periods of weather.
This 4500 Sq Ft model from Amazon, is more than big enough for most bath bomb makers and can be used for the entire basement or anywhere else in the house.
5. Use it all after opening the original packaging.
If using your own homemade soap, try not to have too many different ones on the go. it is nice to switch things up to suit your food, but your soaps will last a long time on their own, but their life will shorten is left unused for periods of time. try to keep to a maximum of 2 or 3 soaps on the go at once.
If you have store-bought soaps, keep them back for when you run out fo homemade. The soap you make yourself or buy from craft markets will most likely be natural or organic versions. this is great, and cool for the environment, but they differ from store-bought soaps in that they do not contain synthetic preservatives. This means if you have both homemade and store-bought soaps open together, you should use the homemade first as it will not last as long unused as the one you bought in the mall.
Short dated homemade soap can be used as a loss leader to grab people attention and get them involved in looking at your newer, fresher homemade soap stock, so old soap is not all lost.
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How Soap Expires
According to the FDA, soap makers must label all marketed soaps and cosmetics with an expiration date. This expiration date is determined by the soap ingredients, although, just like any food product, the soap may last longer than labeled.
If you suspect that your soap may have expired, either your soap’s fragrance may have evaporated, or the oil may have become rancid.
How Long Does Soap Stay Fresh?
The length of time your soap will stay fresh and in its best condition will depend largely on the ingredients used and in particular the oils, with some lasting longer at their best in soaps than others.
Oils that last Longest – up to 2 years
- Olive Oil
- Castor Oil
Mid-Life Oils – up to 1 year
- Corn Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Palm Oil
Short life oils – Less than 1 year
- Hazlenut Oil
- Hemp Oil
- Sunflower Oil
Even if your soap is rancid, you can use it to wash things other than your hands. You can use rancid soap to wash your car, your bathroom, and other household items. Even though the oil in the soap is rancid, it will still clean things as effectively as it ever did.
All soap will eventually go bad if not used, either through the oil expiring or through the loss of fragrances over time. Loss of fragrance is not going to stop the effectiveness of the soap but rancid oil is going to to lead to your oil heading for the trash can.