Cold Process Vs Hot Process Soap Differences Explained

Cold Process Soap vs. Hot Process Soap Explained

cold process soap vs. hot process soap explained

The differences between each process mainly revolve around the time it takes the mixtures to heat, saponify, and cure as well as the resultant look and texture of each type of soap.

Heat and Saponification Time

When making handmade soap, there are two components that you need to be made aware of, which can significantly impact the outcome of your finished products. These two components are:

  • Heat
  • Saponification

When preparing your hot process soap batter, you will need an external heat source. This exterior heat source could come from a crockpot, presto pot, pan, or even the double boiler method. You need a heat source for making your hot process soap because it can significantly speed up the saponification process. With the hot process, the saponification process will be completed within 2 hours.

While creating a cold process soap, the saponification time will take anywhere between 18-24 hours to complete.

This time frame is partly because the solid oils are melted down into liquid form, thus not needing any additional heat source to begin the saponification process.

Cure Time

While Soap Making, the cure time will be one of the main factors that will determine how your soap will turn out.

The typical cure time of cold processed soap could be anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks, and the cure time for the cold process soap is going to be heavily dependent upon the region you live in. If you live in a colder climate, the cure time can easily be cut down to one week.

For hot processed soap, one week is usually more than enough time to suffice for the curing process.

When soap making and using the hot process soap method, you will be using a heat source such as a slow cooker or pan, and using such high temperatures will allow the soap to solidify quicker than it would the cold process soap.

Looks and Texture

There is one significant difference when it comes to the Aesthetics of the two soaps.

When dealing with cold-pressed soaps, they are more smooth to the Finish, whereas when you’re dealing with hot process soap, they have a more textured and rustic feel to them. Such a drastic change to the Soaps is mainly when the additives are incorporated.

In many cases, when dealing with a cold process soap, the additives are included during the process when the fluid is still in a liquid form. In contrast, with the hot processed soap, the additives are added at the end of the cure giving the soap more texture and a “Rustic” feel.

Is Hot Process or Cold Process Soap Better?

is hot process or cold process soap better

Determining if hot process soap is better than cold processed soap truly comes down to preference. While cold processed soap does give off a smoother look, it does take more time for the saponification process to conclude, as well as cure. However, with the hot process soap, it cures quicker, and the saponification process is much quicker; however, it may not be as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as it does give off a more rustic look.

What Is the Benefit of Hot Process Soap?

There are many benefits of hot process soap such as the following:

  • Rapid cleanup time

Since the hot process soap is made in an exterior heat source such as a slow cooker or pan, there will be no additional cleanup needed because the soap batter will be in one confined location, and well, it’s soap! No other products are needed!

  • Shorter curing times

With shorter curing times, you will be able to use your soap sooner!

  • No “ash” on the surface of the soap

Ash on the surface of the soap happens when unsaponified lye reacts with natural elements such as carbon dioxide in the air. With a hot processed soap, the fear of ash goes away.

Can You Tell if a Soap Bar Was Made By a Hot or Cold Process?

can you tell if a soap bar was made by a hot or cold process

There are quite a few surefire ways to tell if a bar of soap was made using the hot process or by using the cold process. Some of the things you can check for are the following:

  • Hot process soap has a more rustic and timeless appearance
  • Hot process soap is difficult to embed any designs
  • Cold Processed Soap is polished and smooth
  • Cold Processed Soap is capable of having designs and imprints.

Does Cold Process Soap Sweat?

does cold process soap sweat

Since cold processed soap heats from the inside out, the cold processed soap will be more susceptible to sweating.

Which Process Do Soap Manufacturing Companies Use?

which process do soap manufacturing companies use

Many soap manufacturing companies use the cold process. There are many added benefits of using the cold processed method for big manufacturing companies.

If you have ever opened a bar of soap, you will notice how unbelievably smooth it is and how there are barely any noticeable cracks; well, that is because the company has used the cold process to make the soap.

Although hot process soap may appear to have a more natural look, big brand companies still use the cold process for many of their needs.

James Marshall
About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »