If you’re used to buying typical commercial soap at the drugstore or grocery store, you may not realize the huge differences between those bars and the handmade (artisanal) soaps we sell at Whiskey ‘N Hardtack.
First, commercial soaps are not really soap. They might contain some basic ingredients of soap, but they’re often full of synthetic detergents, extra lathering agents, chelating ingredients, and chemical hardeners. Most of these ingredients contribute to making you feel ‘squeaky’ afterwards, and give a tighter feeling to your skin after washing.
Second, commercial soaps don’t contain any glycerin, a naturally occurring byproduct of the soapmaking process, that makes your skin feel softer and helps retain moisture.
These core differences are why handmade soaps just feel better when you use them. However, because so many people are used to ‘drugstore brand’ soaps, handmade soap can seem to “disappear faster” than a commercial soap.
While some people may consider that a reason to go back to commercial soaps (ew, your poor skin), they're not aware of some simple steps you can take to prolong your natural bars.Use A Sponge, Pouf, Or Washcloth
Believe it or not, your hands are terrible at making lather from a bar of soap. You roll it in your hands or rub it on your body, but all that does is remove more and more soap from the bar. You actually waste a lot of soap that way.
Grab a shower sponge, bath pouf, or even a washcloth. Soap it up once and put the bar down. Those create more friction, making more and more lather as you wash from the single dab of soap. And if you don’t rinse out the loofah, you can hang it up to dry and probably have enough soap left in it to use next time without even touching the bar. (yea, we said what we said)Always Use A Well Drained Soap Deck
Don’t store your soap on a ledge in the tub or shower directly in the water stream. And don’t use just any old generic flat soap deck or dish either. Those will get goopy as the bar starts to melt before it dries out fully.
You need something that allows air flow under the soap as well as over it, so it will dry out by the time you shower again. A deck with a ridge-style design, or a soap saver with raised pegs, should keep your soap elevated enough to dry out before your next wash down.Don’t Cross The Streams!
Of course, your soap has to be wet to use it. But don’t store it in a place where it stays wet during a shower. Soap that is constantly bombarded by the water stream from a shower will melt away faster than you can imagine.
If your shower has a ledge above the shower head, or maybe an open ledge above the shower door, you can keep your soap high and dry. Or if your shower is wide enough to have at least one flat surface that doesn’t get wet, you can store the soap there. If there’s no obvious dry area, you should consider a soap deck that hangs from or mounts somewhere in your shower.
Let It Dry Out
After your shower, make sure your soap is in a place where it can fully dry before you use it again. If it’s “your” soap and no one else in the house uses it, you could even consider moving it out of the shower to dry, so it doesn’t get wet or dissolve further while others in your family are bathing, especially if they love long, hot, steamy showers.
Rotate Different Bars (Pro Tip)
If you have trouble keeping your bars dry between daily showers, try rotating between more than 1 soap bar! Use 1 for a week or two, then let it dry out while you start on the second soap bar for a week or two.
The extra time between the uses will allow each soap bar to completely dry out and reharden before you start using it again. Do this and you should really notice a big difference in how long your bars last.Cut Your Bar In Half!
You like big bars and you cannot lie. And while big bars may last longer in theory, they actually last a LOT longer if you cut them in half. Think about it - If you bathe using the whole bar, then the whole bar gets wet every time. You could still be losing valuable soap that you didn’t really need to use.
By halving the bar, one half stays completely dry until you need it, while you use the other half. It’s the same concept as rotating two bars.Save The Scraps
When you get down to the tiny slivers of soap that you can no longer hold for a good lather, or pry up easily from the soap deck, it’s not time to toss them.
If your next bar is ready to go, you could just press the sliver onto the new bar when they’re wet, then let them dry a bit, and they stick! Frankensoap! You could also collect the slivers into a mesh bag that can do double duty as a loofah.
Raising The Bar
So, let’s recap your new habits. Use a sponge or cloth, not your hands. Use a deck your soap can properly dry on. Keep your soap out of the water stream during your shower. Make sure it can dry out between showers. Consider rotating multiple bars or cutting one bar into smaller ones. And save your scraps.
Feel free to drop us a line about your experiences trying out these tips. We are confident you’ll see a difference in how long your favorite soaps can last.