Hello again! While I’ve been crocheting away, I’ve also been pondering my next update. Lots of my friends ask me how they should store the handmade soaps they’ve bought (often after reading one of my reviews or posts about them), so I decided that a post or two about how to care for your soap would be a good idea!
Proper care for your handmade soap is very important because it helps your soap last as long as possible. This is necessary because handmade soaps don’t contain preservatives like commercial store-bought soaps do. These preservatives are included to make the soap last longer on the shelf and in your shower, but can often be irritating to sensitive skin (hi, that’s me). So you (and I) want to keep handmade soap around as long as possible.
Water is the enemy of soap. This is relatively logical, due to the nature of soap itself. But how do you protect your soap from water in the shower, where water is everywhere? Most importantly, you don’t want your soap to sit in water. This makes soap melt, and melt fast. There’s a few options, but I’ll share my favorites.
First, I bought one of these fabulous soap dishes. I got mine from Basin, but they’re readily available from many sellers on Etsy or around the Internet.
(Pardon my not-terribly-clean shower. My hair gets everywhere, even when it’s short!)
If you’re going to look into a soap dish, you want one main thing: draining holes/slots. This helps water drain away from your soap, which keeps it from melting. Also this particular dish has a nice curved shape, which helps the water run down towards those holes, and also functions to keep only the edges of large bars in contact with the dish.
For a long time, I had two of these bad boys in my shower with two bars in each (what, I like variety. Don’t look at me like that).
And there are LOTS of cute dishes out there. Just hop on Etsy and search for “soap dish.”
There are a few down sides. One is that, no matter how well designed a soap dish is, it is never going to drain away ALL of the water. I still found myself flipping bars a few hours after my shower, to let the opposite side dry. Also, the water drains out underneath the dish, but then it doesn’t really have anywhere to go. I would constantly be cleaning up drained soap that had pooled on the tub edge under the dish, and also on the underside of the dish. Lots of maintenance with this dish, I find.
I just recently grabbed one of these after a friend mentioned hers a few times. I stood in Target for, like, fifteen minutes trying to decide on the perfect one. Most of them don’t fit a whole lot of soap, and tend to be made to hold 1 bar and also bottles. But the one I bought wound up being pretty perfect.
It has suction cups to attach to the wall(s) of your shower. This is great, as it helps keep the rack out of the line of water. I put mine at about chest height in the far corner of the shower.
I really like the soap rack. It fits lots of soap, which is great (as stated, I like variety), and it is unsurpassed for draining away soap. I never have to flip the bars, and they are lasting SO long.
Down side is that now all my bars have lines along the bottom, from where they rest on the bars of the rack. These are areas that have melted, but it’s so minute that it’s not a huge deal.
Currently in my soap rack, btw: Basin’s Calamine (small pink) and Extra Virgin Olive Oil (small green), Anderson Soap Co’s Activated Charcoal (black, check out the review!), E. Barrett Co’s Sandalwood (large in the back) and Rocky Top Soap Shop’s Rosehip soap (far left).
The last and most important factor for caring for your soaps in the shower:
I cannot reiterate this enough. You NEED to keep your soap out of the line of water. Keep soap dishes on the far outside corner, and BEHIND the shower curtain liner. Keep racks high on the shower wall. If you’ve got a mirror outside of your shower, you could even suction your rack to the mirror (though the water would have to drain onto whatever is below, so maybe not the best option).
You know that built-in soap dish that most showers have? It’s a disaster. Water doesn’t drain away (those ridges do NOT cut it), and it is right in the water line. Don’t use it. Ever.
You can really extend the life of your soaps by using a good dish or rack and keeping your soap away from running water. I might do an experiment on this some time, though I doubt you could get me to waste a bar just for science. I like my soap too much!