shelf life of homemade soap? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I'm in the process of cleaning out my deceased uncles farmhouse and came across 5 big ( 5 gallon size) sealed cans of bars of homemade soap. These were made before 1980, that I know. They look and smell okay, not rancid. Can soap be used after this long? I was thinking of grating it and using it to wash my wool fleeces.

-- Kate henderson (, May 23, 2001


You bet ya! It just gets better with age.

-- coaltrain (, May 23, 2001.

What a legacy! Hope you enjoy it. If you don't like the scent or how it feels on your skin, by all means grate it and add it to your laundry.

-- Anne (, May 23, 2001.

One of my soap books has a reference to a bar of soap that was made several hundred years ago that is just as good now as it was then. Perhaps the scent has faded, but the soap is fine! What a cool find! You can take the soap and either test it with litmus paper or your tongue (if it "bites" your tongue it's a rough soap - free lye). If it's a nice soap you can certainly use it for handwashing or bodywashing. Cut a piece in two to test the inside also. What a great find!!

-- Gailann Schrader (, May 24, 2001.

If it's stored airtight, there's no reason why it should deteriorate - maybe even get (for a few months) better than it was raw and fresh. If it isn't stored airtight, then it will dry; but that's good - fresh soap dissolves more quickly than we need it to. An old practice is to take cakes of scented soap, and scatter them (open) in the linen closet for a year or two. Scent, discourages insects, and when you come to use them, replacing them with fresh soap, the older dry soap lasts MUCH longer.

-- Don Armstrong (, May 26, 2001.

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