Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dirty Laundry, Patience and the Art of Soapmaking

With all the anticipation and excitement that builds as we wait for our soap to gel, it is always a thrill to unmold a soap and reveal a beautifully formed, wonderfully scented bar that appears just as good or even better than we ever imagined. On the flip side, it can be utterly disappointing to unmold a soap only find that it partially gelled, or it is covered in ash, or otherwise malformed and unappealing. I was in this camp a few days ago...

I had been planning this particular soap for a long time... it would incorporate carefully crafted embeds, rich stout beer and  a wonderful spicy, musky, manly scent. I was SO EXCITED as it came time to unmold... so you can imagine my absolute horror as I uncovered the mold and the most pungent scent of dirty, wet laundry wafted through the house.. bleah!!! What a stench! Worst of all... it looked absolutely beautiful. It was truly a work of art, rendered utterly worthless by its offensive, disgusting odor. I was beside myself... headed straight toward a tizzy and trying in vein to convince myself that someone, somewhere might find this appealing.

Then, through all the confusion and fumes, came a voice of reason. It said, "be patient." I've made beer soap enough times before to know that the beer imparts an odor of its own at first... but it dissipates in a few days. Perhaps, my spicy scent simply didn't mix well with the fresh beer odor. So I waited... and you know what? When I checked on the soap this morning, the fowl stench of filth had all but disappeared and the spicy, musky scent I had hoped for was beginning to emerge. Whew! I think this soap is back on track and heading in the right direction after all, but, hell if it wasn't an exercise in patience!


  1. Anytime you use an alternative liquid than water you get an initial foul odor, goats milk and coffee are also notorious for this. Glad it came out well in the end!

  2. I couldn't help but laugh, this has been me more than a few times, I can relate.