What is melt and pour soap?
Melt and pour soap is actual soap that went through the full saponification process to make soap but a few additives were introduced to give the soap the ability to be melted, hardened and remelted and molded. Learn more HERE.
The actual technique varies from manufacture to manufacture however the basic ingredients include.
- Stearic acid
- Coconut oil or other oils or fats
- Sodium hydroxide
- Water or other liquid
- Glycerin / glycol
- Propyl Alcohol
- Sugar solution
Do melt and pour soaps need to cure?
No. Melt and pour soaps are the end product of the soap making process. Hence it has already completed its saponification process.
In fact melt and pour soap requires such high heat during its initial making stage that its much like making soap using the hot process method but because of the additives involved it can be ready to use in a shorter time.
Once you purchase and receive your melt and pour soap base it is actually ready to be used. You can cut it as it is and use it right away.
Can melt and pour soap go in the fridge?
Yes you can place your soap in the refridgerator or even freezer.
This is a common misconception of placing melt and pour soap in a cold environment. The general idea is that cold can affect your soap as the ingredients in the soap can freeze hence causing ice crystals to form.
The glycerin in the soap once the soap is taken out the fridge will absorb the water from the frozen soap and attract more moisture as it cools to room temperature causing your soap to get a bit soft over time.
However what we have found at Bahamas candle and soap is that if you use this method carefully you can totally get away with it.
The experiment we carried out was two fold. One was to make a new batch of melt and pour soap and instead of letting it harden under room temperature we wanted to see what would happen if we placed it in the refrigerator.
The second test was to take already solidified melt and pour soap and place it in the freezer to see what would happen to the bar of soap, here are our results.
Can you place melt and pour soap in the fridge to cool faster?
Yes. Amazingly we expected the soap to absorb any moisture in the refrigerator and come out not so solid or come out with impurities in the soap.
What actually happened is that the melt and pour soap solidified in half the time it took for the control soap to solidify at room temperature.
Keep in mind we measured the ambient temperature in our room which was at 85°F and it took 4oz of clear melt and pour soap over 70 minutes to solidify and be hard enough to remove from the mold.
The 8oz of melt and pour soap we placed in the freezer was hard and ready to unmold and use in 20minutes. There was no defects no moisture build nothing other than being harder and cooler than usual.
Can you store melt and pour soap in the fridge or freezer?
Yes however possibly for short term.
To test this we placed two melt and pour soaps in the freezer for 48 hours to see what will happen to the soaps.
One bar of soap was wrapped in cling wrap while the other was placed without this extra layer of protection.
Within 48 hours the results were in. There was very little difference between the wrapped and the non wrapped. Both soaps were super hard yet we expected the un wrapped soap to have crystals on it but again it was clean.
The difference came about when we took them out of the cold environment. The unwrapped bar of soap began to warm up and it absorbed a ton of moisture from the atmosphere during this process.
The wrapped soap however did not show much change or absorption of moisture. Neither of the soaps had any reduced performance in cleaning.
Can you use melt and pour soap right away?
Yes, melt and pour soap can be used directly from the manufacture. The soap base has already completed the saponification process hence there is no lye remaining in the soap and can be used directly on your skin.
Most persons prefer to add fragrance, color and other additives to beautify the soap and make it more appealing to the senses.
Adding fragrance, color or other items are preferred by persons to enjoy the soap a bit more. After melting and remolding and adding other items the soap is left to cool and re solidify.
Once the soap has hardened it is ready to use. This process can be repeated a number of times and the soap will still be good.
Does melt and pour soap have a shelf life?
No. Melt and pour soap can last a very long time once properly stored.
This means being kept in a air tight container in a dim to dark cool and dry area. The soap can sit on the shelf for a very long time. Even if it looses some moisture, glycerin can be added to it and make it good as new.
There have been instances where melt and pour soap has sat on the shelf for over two years. In this case it lost most of its moisture however by carefully melting the soap and re adding glycerin to the soap base it was restored to its original form.
Can I remelt melt and pour soap?
Yes. This is the beauty of melt and pour soap. If you melt it and it solidifies but you forgot to add fragrance you can melt it again and add your fragrance.
If you use melt and pour soap and have a few left over pieces you can combine them together in a heat tempered glass, heat it, melt the soap and pour it out in a new mold for a new bar of soap.
To continue to melt and remelt melt and pour soap ensure that the soap is not wet with water and that your slowly melt the soap and keep it below 125-130°F while remelting.
In this manner you will not burn off the glycerin and the soap can be used over and over again. If the soap seems dry and brittle you can add more glycerin to it when its melted to restore the soap to is lively form.
Why is my melt and pour soap brown?
Additives such as fragrances that contain vanillin will discolor your melt and pour soap to a brownish color.
Vanillin occurs naturally in vanilla and vanilla is used to in many fragrances. This natural product reacts with the ingredients in the soap such as the fats aka oils and cause them to turn brown.
Melt and pour soap that has discolored brown due to the presence of vanilla is not ruined it is still perfectly safe to use.
How many types of melt and pour soap bases are there?
The amount varies from manufacture to manufacture but combined there are over 40 different types of melt and pour soap bases. SFIC melt and pour has a list of various soap.
A few you may see on the market are
- Clear glycerin melt and pour soap base
- Ultra clear glycerin melt and pour soap base
- White glycerin melt and pour soap base
- Goat milk melt and pour soap base
- Shea butter melt and pour soap base
- Oatmeal melt and pour soap base
- Cocoa butter melt and pour soap base
- Honey melt and pour soap base
- Aloe Vera melt and pour soap base
- Hemp melt and pour soap base
- Shaving melt and pour soap base
- Olive oil melt and pour soap base
- Low sweat melt and pour soap base
- LCP (like cold process) melt and pour soap base
- Palm free melt and pour soap base
- Many more…
What can I add to melt and pour soap?
Additives for melt and pour soap are only limited to your imagination.
To gain a better understanding of what can be added to your melt and pour soap base, just think of anything you would put on your skin, hold in your hand or eat and it can be added to the soap.
A short list of additives are listed below in categories.
|Clay||Vegetable Oils||Puree vegetables|
|Mica||Fragrance Oils||botanicals i.e. – rose petals|
|Oxides||Essential Oils||Butters i.e. – shea butter|
|Many others||Many others||Many others|
What temperature does melt and pour soap melt?
Melt and pour soap melts between 120 – 130°F.
This melting temperature is mainly dependent upon the type of melt and pour soap base. Some soap bases require a little more heat to melt because of the additives such as goats milk or shea butter while the plain soap bases melt faster.
What temperature does melt and pour soap solidify?
Melted melt and pour soap will begin to solidify once the temperature falls below 120°F.
120°F is the magic temperature when it comes to melt and pour soap. Above this temperature the soap base is liquid but begin to fall below this temperature and a skin begins to form.
Drop to 100°F and the soap base starts to become like a thick jello. As the temperature decreases the soap will begin to harden until it reaches room temperature or between 65-75°F where it begins to fully harden.
How long does it take for melt and pour to get hard?
Between 1-3 hours depending on the size of your batch.
The standard 42oz loaf mold filled to the top with clear or white melt and pour soap will take 1 hour 15 minutes to get hard and ready to use with a room temperature between 70-79°F.
Different soap bases with various ingredients will take longer or a shorter time to harden. Typically melt and pour soap with other liquid additives such as added oils will take a little longer than one without.
Soap bases with powders or solid items will take the same time or less.
On average 1 hour and 30 minutes seems to be the time it takes for melt and pour soaps to harden.
Can children make soap?
Yes children even toddlers can make melt and pour soap under an experienced adult supervision.
Children starting at the age of 3-4 years old can assist an experienced soap maker in making melt and pour soap. Have them help in cutting the soap into blocks and pouring it into molds with guidance as the soap will be hot.
Teaching a child the safety measures of soap making will help them as they grow. I have taught my daughter at the age of three to help set up the working table with the tools, cut the melt and pour soap and I help her in pouring the soap and unmolding.
Its not until a child reaches a mature age where their coordination is better and they have more fine motor control of their hands should you allow them to manage supervised.
This age tends to be about 5-7 years old where children understand the risk involved with hot substances and they can take direction easier.
It is not recommended that you undergo other methods of soap making such as cold process or hot process soap making with young children as the safety precautions for the use of lye and lye water require more focus and understanding.