Handmade Soap: How To Make Soap Last Longer In The Shower


Handmade soap is an affordable luxury, but it’s generally more expensive than a bar from the store. There are good reasons for this, but you might be wondering how long a bar of handmade soap will last if you use it for your daily shower.

We tested some bars of handmade soap to find out how long a bar of soap lasts in the shower, and how to make soap last longer in the shower.

handmade soap and how to make it last longer in the shower

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How long does a bar of soap last in the shower?

In general, a 5-ounce bar of handmade soap will last between 3-4 weeks with daily use and with proper storage between uses. An average shower uses between 6 and 7 grams of bar soap, with variations based on personal use and water temperature. The life of handmade soap will also be affected by whether the bar is allowed to dry out between uses.

We weighed a few bars of handmade soap over the course of a month to see how quickly they were used up. The average amount of soap that was used per shower was about 6.5 grams per day. For a 5 ounce bar of handmade soap that’s about 142 grams, so it would last about 22 days.

This is assuming that the tester doesn’t take a super-long shower, or lather his or her entire body multiple times. It’s also assuming that the soap is stored properly, which is a big contributor to soap being used up faster.

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How to store handmade soap.

Birgit Tolman, owner of Cassia Organics, says that “Any bar soap, not just handmade, should be stored in a way for it to be able to dry out between uses. A soap dish is a great way to achieve this. It will keep the soap from cracking and turning into mushy liquid. There are a lot of soap dishes out there, but many are more for looks then functionality. The fewer points where the soap actually touches the dish, the better. Often “soap lifts” are recommended, but they are the worst at keeping your soap bars dry. It should be like a mini drying rack for optimal soap preservation.”

Jes Ware, owner of Sixth SpiceOpens in a new tab., adds that “Handmade soap should be stored on a slotted soap dish where the water is able to drain away and the bar is allowed to dry out between uses.  This will make the bar last longer.” 

The basic idea is to keep the bar dry between uses. When you allow a bar of soap to sit in water, it will soften, and the next time that you use it, it will slough off the section that was wet a lot easier.

My husband goes through bar soap like crazy, and I realized that he sits it in a soap dish in the shower that’s full of water and doesn’t drain. It basically dissolves while it sits there. Keeping the soap dry will make the bar last a lot longer.

To read about handmade soap and why it’s better than store bought, click here: What is luxury soap, and why is it better?

soap on a scale to weigh it

As far as storing the soap bars before using them, it will depend on the method that was used to make the soap.

Birgit states that “When you store soap you have to balance keeping the outside environment out versus allowing the soap to breathe. Cold and hot process soaps can be stored for at least a year, if not longer, when wrapped in tissue or a cardboard box. Airtight containers are not recommended, because the soap needs be able to evaporate moisture.

“The additives also play a big role in how long a bar can last. The fragrances, colorants, clays and foliage will decrease the time a bar will last. If your soap smells ‘off,’ toss it…It would smell like old vegetable oil in your kitchen.

“Melt and pour soap should be shrink-wrapped. In humid climates they will not store for long if not wrapped properly. The high glycerin content acts as a humectant, and your soap will attract moisture from the atmosphere. It is called ‘glycerin dew.’ It will look like it has little water beads on it, but just smell it, and if it still smells good you can still use it.”

handmade soap


What other factors make a soap last longer?

There are a few factors that can make different types of handmade soap last longer. One factor that you might not expect would matter is whether you have hard or soft water, but it does make a difference. Birgit says that “Hard water keeps handmade soap from foaming up as much as soft water, so you may end up using more then you need.”

Another thing that can affect how long handmade soap lasts is the length of time that the soap was cured when it was made.

After cold process soap is molded into shape it needs to sit out for a length of time, often weeks to months depending on what kind of soap it is. This allows excess water to evaporate from the soap so that the bars harden and resist melting in water as easily. The harder the soap bars, the less likely it is to dissolve quickly.

Birgit notes that “Castile bars, one of the mildest bars if made the correct way, can cure for months rather then weeks. They hardly create any foam, but they last for a very long time, almost twice as long as other soap. An average bar (4.5 ounces) with a daily shower could last about 4 to 6 weeks.”

How you lather up can also make a difference. Jes suggests that “To make the bar last for a long time, keep it out of the shower water and rub it onto a wash cloth or just soap up your hands and apply it that way to your body, rather than running the bar directly all over your skin.”

The water temperature of the shower will also make a difference. The hotter the water, the more soap will be used each time, so you can expect to go through more soap if you like a hot shower.

Cooling the shower down can extend the life of your soap, and it won’t be as drying to your skin.

And last but not least, it’s obvious that the larger the soap bar, the longer it will last.

On average, how many ounces are in a handmade bar of soap?

Most handmade soaps weigh between 3 and 6 ounces, but because they’re cut by hand the weight of the soap will vary between makers. They’re generally a similar weight to store bought bath bars, which usually weigh between 4 and 6 ounces. Other types of soap, such as beauty bars and non-bath bar soap, usually weigh 3 to 4 ounces.

Make note of the weight of the soap bar that you’re buying when shopping to make sure that you’re comparing the same sizes of soap. Something that looks like a bargain price might not be as good as you think if the weight of the bar is lower too.

Birgit adds that the weight of bar soaps can decrease because of water evaporation during storage. “There can be as much as a 10% loss in soap bar weights…I list my bars at 4.5 ounces but they all are around 5 ounces in case people buy extra and store them for a bit. Even with evaporation, their weight will be correct.”

To see the Artisan Shopping Directory Bath and Body section, click here: Bath and Body, Health and Wellness


Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 51,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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