I think I’m responsible for starting the “elderly soap” thread. If I remember correctly, I wrote a message in response to an “expert’s” published statement that all soap eventually develops rancidity and yellow spots. My message said that I thought it was incomplete mixing and incomplete saponification that caused rancidity, not the age of the soap, and that if it were possible, my preference would be to age all soaps for at least a year. One thing I have noticed over and over again (and no one else has mentioned) is that any scent in the soap intensifies as time passes. I just made a batch of patchouli/lavender soap and compared these bars that are about a week old with the year-plus bars made from the same recipe and same scent amounts, and I was surprised that the aged bars have a stronger, more mellow and intense scent. Newer soap is perfectly usable and wonderful and mild and lathers well, but somehow a longer aging period does make a “difference”. I think it must be like the difference in wine or cheese that is mellowed and made better by the passing time. I wish more people would try this.
When your soap is done with the 4-6 week curing time (or whatever the batch needs), put the bars into a plastic bin. Check it regularly to make sure it is not feeling sticky or damp – if it does, it needs to sit out and cure longer. Storing in the bin will help retain scent.
I use old window screens to dry my soaps on at home. When I moved, the basement of our new home was filled with new and old window screens (windows had been replaced two years ago). They allow air to circulate all around each soap.
If you are starting from scratch, you might try making the frame of the rack out of wood, and then covering the top (the open space) with a heavy wire mesh. I have found these to work great. This way you also have good air circulation. I got this idea from an old fruit drying rack I found at my farm. Same idea, same design, just using it for something different, soap!
The metal on the screens is not aluminum. I also lay down thin sheets of cheesecloth to make sure my soap doesn’t get “dented” or marked. This is heavy wire mesh. I’ve used these for a few years now and it works pretty well. They are light enough also to lift the whole frame up when they are full of soap to move elsewhere.
I store soap in baskets till it’s good and cured (hard), then in covered plastic boxes, so it doesn’t get too dried up, with the name on a label on the outside of the box, and the boxes stacked. Boy, am I getting organized!
A reminder — The usual disclaimers apply. The recipes in this library reflect the individual contributors' own methods of soapmaking and are written in their own words. We cannot personally guarantee the success or results of any of the recipes included in this library.