What Is Curing in Soapmaking?

Saponification is the chemical reaction that occurs once the lye solution and oil have been mixed. Saponification happens as soon the soap comes to trace. Once you have unmolded your soap the saponification process will last 2 weeks. Soap is not safe to use before the 2 weeks because the lye solution is still active. Soap used before the 2 weeks can emit fumes that will burn your eyes. I speak from experience after using a bar of soap just a week after unmolding. 

Curing refers to how long the soap must sit before you can use it. Saponification and cure is different. Saponification ensures that the lye has successfully mixed with the oil to make soap where curing means letting the soap sit long enough to allow as much water as possible to evaporate. Depending on the soap, it may have to cure for 2-8 months. The longer the soap cures the better bar it will produce. The bar becomes milder and has a richer lather Lets take Castille soap for example. Castille soap is made of 100% Olive Oil. Castille soap requires a 4-8 months cure period. Soap made with Palm oil can be used as early as 2 months. 

When curing, soap should be set in a well ventilated room. Soaps should be spaced apart. 

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