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Updated: Jun 27, 2022

Have you ever hesitated buying a bar of cold process (CP) soap because of the horror stories you've heard?

Stories of how the soap melts into mush and literally goes down the drain in just a week?

If that was ever your concern, it will no longer be after you finished reading this.

We decided to write this blog after receiving several queries from buyers, friends and even family on what is the best way to make their soaps last. Honestly, it is really not difficult if you just know a few easy tricks. And we are here to share all that we know with you.

This is a complete guide based on our own experience and experimentation. We hope that armed with this new knowledge, cold process soap users everywhere can extend the lifespan of their cold process soap and enjoy every bar for a longer time.

And any new CP soap users can have the confidence to try it out and finally experience all of its goodness.

First off, why does a cold process (CP) soap melt?

A cold process bar soap is essentially made of a combination of acids (plant/animal oils) and a strong alkali (Sodium Hydroxide). It gets its physical hardness from the "hard oils" it contains such as coconut, palm or butters such as shea or cocoa. On the contrary, the more conditioning oils such as olive and sweet almond adds to the softness of the bar. Hence the formulation of a CP soap considers not just a balance of its cleansing power and skin conditioning benefits, but also its physical hardness.

With just a few easy tricks, you'll be able to master how to extend the lifespan of your cold process soap, and enjoy its goodness for a longer time.

After a CP soap is made, it has to be cured for a minimum of 4 weeks before it can be used, to allow the "excess" water to evaporate into the environment, thereby producing a harder, more lasting bar.

During the crafting of the cold process bar, glycerin is produced as a natural byproduct which we often call the 'gem' of the soap as it helps attract moisture from the environment to our skin. For the same reason, when a cold process bar is exposed to constant high humidity or is allowed to sit in a pool of water, glycerin attracts the moisture turning the bar gel-like which subsequently melts into mush.

A commercial bar on the other hand doesn't quite "melt" as they may contain additives to harden the bar, have gone through machine press or have had their glycerin extracted for other purposes. In some cases, the commercial bar is not a real soap but a detergent (similar to our shower gel) formulated into a bar form hence glycerin was not naturally produced.

This probably explains why so many soap dishes without the draining holes can still be found on shelves today even though they have the tendency for water to pool.

Handmade or commercial, it's rather disgusting for the soaps to sit in a pool of stagnant water or soap mush.

So let's dive in now to see how we can extend the usage of your CP soaps.


No, we are not joking.

How in the world do you shower without water then, you ask?

We are not saying, no water....we're just saying, don't let the strong gush of water hit directly on your cold process soap for a long time. Cos a lot of water + cold process soap = melting soap. Sorry.

So enjoy the water massage on your body but keep it away from your soap.


We know shower is a time for relaxation and many love to rub the soap directly on the body. But if it isn't for any exfoliation purpose, then try working up a good lather in your hands, put the soap back on the dish, then spread that lather all over your body and indulge in your self-care time.

Cos what you really want is the lather, not the soap itself. And having less contact with the soap naturally makes it wear down slower.

Even the smallest piece of cold process bar can still lather easily.


How much water does it take to lather for one shower? The answer - not much.

A well formulated and well cured cold process soap actually needs very little water to work up a lather. Just a pair of wet hands is often sufficient to get enough lather for a whole shower.

Depending on the actual formulation of the soap and the type and proportion of oils and additives it contains, the lather will vary across different soaps. But as long as it is a cold process bar, less water is always better than more.

Take the first few showers to understand a new bar, and very soon, you'll be able to have a good gauge of how each soap interacts with water to sufficiently give you the luxurious shower you desire.


OK, so now you've mastered how to handle the bar DURING the shower. Let's talk about AFTER the shower.

At this point, you'd probably think using a soap dish that drains water well is just pure common sense. Despite knowing that, we ourselves had made the mistake of buying many wrong ones.

Below are some examples of soap dishes that you might want to avoid using for cold process soaps, for the following reasons:


This is probably a no-brainer. It looks pretty, is really easy to clean and maintain, but there's simply no drainage. So no matter how much you like the design, or how confident you are to keep your bar dry, never never buy a dish with no drainage. It just doesn't work.

# 2

Again, a pretty dish, with drainage, but not enough. The drainage holes are simply too small, and with so much direct contact with the soap, the drainage holes are bound to clog up when the soap melts as the water collects.


Now, this one has LOTS of drainage, it must be the dream soap dish right?

WRONG. So what's the problem this time?