Why Does Handmade Soap Sweat?
By MICHAEL HOLLOWAY (Peak Soap Team, BSc, MSc)
Why Does Soap Sweating Happen?
The result of mixing an alkali and fat is an alkali salt and glycerol, also called glycerin and glycerine. Glycerin is what’s called a humectant, a substance that will attract water and the answer to this boggle is probably now apparent to you. Glycerin in handmade soap can cause ‘soap sweating’. The ‘sweat’ hasn’t come from INSIDE the soap, it has come from the room. So the analogy of sweat, is a bit misleading.
When Does Soap Sweating Happen?
It happens when two specific conditions occur and they both explain why your lovely new handmade soap can turn to a gooey mess! Firstly, if your bathroom gets steamy and the moisture cannot escape through a window or a extractor channel, the glycerin in soap will predictably attract moisture and hey presto! Gooey mess in the soap dish. Secondly, if you don't allow your new handmade vegetable soap bar to drain, once again, you’ll end up with a gooey mess.
What Benefits Does Glycerin Have?
Glycerin is good for skin, precisely because it behaves as a humectant. Glycerin allows the epidermal layers to lock in moisture; so it also helps slow down the evaporation of water from the skin. Glycerin can also contribute effectively to relieving dryness, rashes, sun burn, roughness, scaliness and itching, and is also an emollient, so it can soften and moisturise the skin a little. So glycerin is great for skin, but bad if you don't allow soap to drain after use.
How Can I Stop It?
Always rest handmade soap in a drainer, never in a dish. If you rest it in a dish and leave it, it will absorb too much water. So let it drain. If you have a bathroom that does not clear easily, simply take the soap out and put it in a cooler room and let it drain and dry naturally. Another idea is to physically dry the soap bar off a little with a dryish flannel or towel and set it to drain thoroughly. However, this said, if you live in a damp environment, you may have to be a bit more creative.
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