For that test, we tested each bar of soap for weight in grams. Then strung the bars up with grommets and BBQ skewers. Those bars soaked for a full 2 hours before draining for 15 minutes. Then, every bar was reweighed and a mathematical calculation was done to see the % of water each bar absorbed. If the soap absorbed too much water, it was deemed a soft bar of soap that would disappear in the shower. The Soap Guild suggests an absorption rate of 5-15% is average. Some of the bars absorbed up to 45% and still others totally disintegrated.
This process looks easy. It wasn’t. Cutting and weighing and screwing the bars took hours. Hand screwing the hooks in caused some feelings of numbness and carpal tunnel onset.
We had to tongue test every bar for lye bite. It was horrific. Eighty bars of soap tasted terrible. I almost threw up multiple times. We did this in a public restroom with the manager coming in every 25 minutes telling us to leave immediately. It was the ultimate negotiation trying to get her to let us stay in the bathroom. “Please, just another 30 minutes? Under what circumstances could we stay another 30 minutes?”
It is amazing how badly we rated some of the bars for lather and residue. Those same bars scored poorly on the water absorption test as well, absorbing much more than the suggested 5-15% rate. The fact that, scientifically from a water-absorption rate, these bars were poor coincided impressively with our subjective ratings on lather, residue and feeling when using. It showed us that science matched gut instincts, at least with goatsmilk soap.
The winners will be announced tonight. We’re excited. Harriet and I don’t know who wins. We just know what the random # is. After 12 hours of testing, we can’t wait to see who the winner is!