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Author Topic: Thoughts on Soap Shrinkage  (Read 1113 times)
sudsmum
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« on: May 21, 2013, 02:46:18 PM »

Okay.  So I'm sure that many here have kept commercial bar soap (or any soap) around for a year or so and noticed that it's wrapping seems to have become a bit loose.  I haven't given it much thought until I began making soap.  So today, during my little one's nap, I decided to weigh a bar and see just how much it had shrunk.  When we package soap, after cure, the actual net wt. must be included on the label (at least here in the USA) but the fact is that our soaps will continue to shrink over time.

I think it is common to have some anxiety over homemade soap shrinkage after packaging but it isn't something that we can control.  Soap shrinks and continues to shrink over time.  Just check out this commercial antibacterial soap...




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Above:  I've had this soap in storage for a couple or so years.  Time flies!  Several bars were kept in a plastic bag together and as you can see, they shrunk.  I crumpled up the wrapping so that you can tell that it is quite loose.  The scent seems as strong as the day it was purchased, though, and it has already given me a headache.



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Above:  Picture of net wt. according to label--4 oz.



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Above:  Actual weight of soap today--3.6 oz.



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Above:  Just to be sure the scale wasn't off, I weighed a stick of butter that is the same weight of the bar of soap as seen on the label or at the time it was packaged.

As you can tell, the soap shrunk from the time of purchase until today almost a full 1/2 ounce.  That's like purchasing a 24 oz. loaf of bread but really only getting 19 oz.  As I'm sure many here also do, I like to compare weights of products and purchase the one where I feel I'm getting more for the money.  If there was an antibacterial soap on the shelf next to the brand shown above that weighed 3.5 oz. and cost $1.50 (US) and then the one shown (4 oz.) was for $1.50, I'd buy the 4 oz. bar thinking I'm getting more for the money.

In conclusion, I think that printing the actual weight of a soap can be misleading to customers but it is requirement for labeling.  Some soaps that have been cured for six weeks may have been formulated with 38% water while others were formulated with 34% or less.  The ones with more water will be shrinking more over time than the ones with less.  I'm feeling so conflicted inside!  Do I have too much time on my hands?  Time to be productive!  Please add any thoughts.   Smiley
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 02:50:19 PM by sudsmum » Logged

songofhealth
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2013, 03:05:30 PM »

I print "approx. --oz" on my packages. As you know, bars from the same loaf will often weigh fraction of oz different. By adding "approx." it also covers me from customers complaining the soap weighs different. I generally try to have the bars weigh at least the same or more than stated, ie 3.5 oz or 4oz.  I believe the commercial companies are covered when their bars weigh what is stated at time of sale.
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Karla10
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2013, 07:18:39 PM »

Good advise Song.
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Kneecole
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2013, 08:58:13 PM »

I leave a pretty good buffer when I put the weight of my soaps on the bars.
For example, when I cut the bars they weigh between 130 and 135 grams, and my labels say 120g.
Canadian soaper here, our regulations are different in terms of what has to go on the label, but weight must be included in grams on the front of the label, and your product has to be equal to or greater than that weight, it just can't be less than what you say.

I've really tried to standardize my soaping, same percent water in each batch, same size batches, etc, so that when I cut my soap to the same thickness every time, all the soaps are pretty similar in size.

In my opinion, it's best to leave yourself some wiggle room on your packaging because soaps will shrink long after they are wrapped, even if you cure for 6-8 weeks. 
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sudsmum
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 05:49:19 PM »

Thanks to each for input.  Good information and advice.   Smiley
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Studio Olivia
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2013, 12:22:29 PM »

I too put "approx." on my soap labels.  WOW!  That bar of Dial looks awful.  You should send it back to the company.  Oh wait...if you do, they might send you a case of that junk.  Never mind!  LOL!
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Karla10
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2013, 04:14:09 PM »

 Grin  LOL @ Olivia!
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Bubbly2
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2013, 06:25:56 PM »

Glad to see some one else obsessing about the varying weights of soap in the same batch. This has been driving me crazy, so I too, list the weight on the low side, but I just would like to have it not be more than .2ths difference..
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JuJuBean
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2013, 04:16:55 AM »

I also use a buffer.  A customer wont be upset at getting more, but will be at getting less.  Just like those roadside assistance companies who say ETA is 45 minutes when they're really anticipating 30.
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JuJuBean
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2013, 04:18:12 AM »

Oh, those dial soaps, etc are packaged differently than us CP-ers do.  Soaps that are made by machine are wrapped right after being pressed into that shape.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2013, 06:07:15 PM by JuJuBean » Logged
Opulence
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2013, 07:10:40 PM »

I believe that after soap is cured the smallest weight is listed on the packaging.  Meaning, if I have 3 bars weighing 3.2 oz, 3.3 oz and 3.5 oz, the packaging should list 3.2 oz as the weight on all the packages.
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sudsmum
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2013, 09:14:09 AM »

...WOW!  That bar of Dial looks awful.  You should send it back to the company.  Oh wait...if you do, they might send you a case of that junk.  Never mind!  LOL!

LOL!!!  Too true!  Grin
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