One of the most frequent questions that customers ask is “How long will this soap last?” Unfortunately, my answer is not definitive but more of a qualified “it depends” as there are so many things that influence the life expectancy of handmade soap.
Product use is an obvious factor and so I explain; my husband who is on my enthusiastic team of soap-testers showers daily and reports that he generally uses a full-size bar of soap every three to four weeks. This is only a baseline however, someone who uses a shower ‘scrubby’ may get fewer soap days and soap that sits looking beautiful in the dish untouched will last considerably longer.
Storage is key and how folk maintain their soap is important especially when it comes to handmade soap that may contain more oils and butters than most commercial products. While your soap is in use in the shower, bath or sink-side drainage is essential. Soap that sits in watery dishes gets soggy and appears to melt – yuck! To keep your soap in optimum shape, find a soap dish that is slotted, you can find a wooden one that does the trick perfectly in my shop but they are not difficult to find elsewhere, IKEA sells one that is similar. Soap that is not in use needs to be stored away from light, heat and humidity. Keep your soap in the original wrapping and check periodically to see if the scent or colour is fading – if so, bring it to the front of your soap queue!
Finally, all soaps are not created equal and the composition of the product can influence its longevity, for example, Olive oil has a much longer shelf life that Shea oil. Also, certain oil combinations and processes can make a very hard, long lasting bar while other bars are more moisturizing but don’t last quite so long.
So, you can see why “it depends” is my best answer. My advice? If you love the soap – store it well and relish it while it lasts! -C-