People find soft melt and pour soaps go smoother on the skin. However, a softer soap dissolves more quickly in water. If you have the right ingredients, you’ll also know how to make your melt and pour soap harder so it can keep a firm shape and last longer, and if you don’t, no worries, here is how you do it.
To make melt and soap harder, you can add ingredients like salt, beeswax, stearic acid, and lye. These are all ingredients that help evaporate excess water. You can also leave the soap out in a dry location with a fan on it for a few days. This also might help evaporate some of the excess water.
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You need to know more than just the right ingredients to harden your melt and pour soap. You have to balance the ingredients in proportion to the body volume of the soap.
Why Is My Melt and Pour Soap Soft?
Let’s take a look at what ingredients could have affected your melt and pour soap.
People often mix powdered colorants to some oil to avoid chunks later, adding them to the soap base. When you add too much colorant, you are also adding more oil. This results in the soap becoming softer and greasier.
Some people prefer strong scents for aromatherapy benefits. In such a case, they may decide to add a lot of fragrance oils to the soap. When it comes to melt and pour soap, oil makes it harder to retain its shape. And when it comes in contact with water, the soap also loses on top of it some lathering properties and dissolves quickly.
The amount of water affects the curing time and hardness of the soaps. That is why you heat the soaps at just the right temperature for water evaporation. It is possible that during the heating process, the temperature was not high enough to evaporate excess water.
Or you could have simply used too much water, use a soap calculator, it will make your life so much easier.
Lye Solution Ratio
This may sound very basic; however, I still believe this is a common mistake.
Soap bases include lye solution to mix with the oils. The soap base may not have enough lye solution to turn the added oils into soap. As a result, the melt and pour soaps will not harden correctly. Same thing here. Use a soap calculator to make sure you have the right measurements.
How Long Does It Take Melt and Pour Soap to Harden?
Melt and pour soaps; take about 4-6 hours to harden completely for use. The actual time varies according to different parameters like the size of the soap, room temperature, and additives.
Smaller soaps take about 3-4 hours to harden. However, adding many oils can take longer for the oils to dissolve into the soap completely. At the optimal temperature, melt and pour soaps only take about an hour to cool.
It is crucial to remember not to remove the melt and pour soap from the mold until it completely hardens. If it does not get enough time, the softness will also leave the soap’s ugly fingerprints and depression marks.
How Do You Increase the Hardness of Melt and Pour Soap?
With a few basic adjustments to the measurements, you can easily fix the soap’s hardness. So no worries, if your melt and pour soaps turned out too soft, all is not lost. Here are some methods that have been tested by soap makers recommended for restoring the hardness of your soap.
Let’s take a look at what you can do to increase melt and pour soap’s hardness.
As already mentioned, salt can turn melt and pour soaps into harder bars. You can add about ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt for every one pound of melt and bar soap. It’s crucial to remember to measure how much salt you are adding carefully. Add too much salt, and the outcome will be a brittle soap bar.
Add and stir a teaspoon of salt into a lye solution before adding the solution to the oils. Another way to dissolve the salt is by mixing it with a tiny amount of water. Then add either of the mixtures to the soap base.
If you decide to add salt, add only pure salt. Salt with any additives might affect the mixing process.
Adding Sodium Lactate
In case you don’t have pure salt or don’t feel comfortable using it. Sodium lactate acts as liquid salt and is mostly used as an alternative to salt. It is basically sodium salt that is produced from the fermentation of sugar.
You can pour about four teaspoons of sodium lactate into your melt and pour soap. If it does not mix properly, just pop the sodium lactate in the microwave for 30 seconds. You should have no problem adding it to the mixture after heating it.
This looks like the easiest solution out there but can be a little tricky. The more you reheat melt and pour soap, the more water that evaporates. In theory, this sounds very simple and logical. The tricky part is that it can be challenging to remove the soap from the mold and reheat it again. To make the process quicker, you can layer the mold with a baking sheet before pouring the soap.
Once it cools down, you can peel the soap from the baking sheet and reheat it again. You can repeat this process 1-3 times until you reach the desired firmness.
In case you are melting it in a pot, make sure not to keep it on the heating pot for too long. You heat the mixture at 120° F. You can end up burning the soap base altogether instead of fixing it. With a microwave, reheat the soap for 30 seconds intervals and stir the mixture after every interval.
What Ingredients Should You Use to Harden the Melt and Pour Soap?
Certain ingredients have the properties to harden your melt and pour soap. By adding them beforehand, you avoid the mess of a soft melt and pour soap in the future. Besides salt and sodium lactate, there are other beneficial ingredients too.
Soft oils like olive oil can leave soaps vulnerable to melting. Instead, add harder fats like butter or wax. Soap makers generally use beeswax for melt and pour. You can also try Kokum butter, which is one of the hardest pieces of butter you could find.
If fragrance is a priority, you can try scented butter. Cocoa, coconut, and shea butter smell just as great as essential oils and help harden the soap.
Melt and pour soaps come with a pre-made soap base, so it is easier for first-time soap makers. Your soaps will remain firm and soft as long as you use the right ratios.
If you’re ever in doubt, online fragrance oil and recipe builders are available to figure out the right measurements.