Curious, I decided to go to that impeccable source of all knowledge (well, not really, but you get the idea), the Internet. And I found a few facts, claims, and images of beautiful felted soap. And the how-to's as well.
What exactly is felted soap? Well, felted soap is promoted as a washcloth and soap all in one. Basically a few layers of animal fiber are wrapped around a bar of soap and felted with hot water and agitation. Most people use wool; I used alpaca and angora.
One or two of the webpages I looked at claimed that soap was felted in centuries past. I did some digging but couldn't locate any actual proof of that. If anyone can point me towards anything regarding that, I'd really appreciate it.
Anyway, I decided to try it out. I have to admit, it did sound a little odd, wrapping a bar of soap in fiber and then showering with it.
Here is what I discovered:
The claims were that felted soap lasted longer than unfelted. The reality? It's all completely TRUE! I felted a bar of regular Ivory soap with some alpaca and angora over six weeks ago. I think half the bar is still there. And yes, as a matter of fact, I do shower everyday.
The claim is that the felted soap dries out faster after each use and prevents the glycerin from dissolving as quickly. Not sure about either of those. I never remember to go back to the shower and check how quickly the felted soap dried out. And I never did it with regular soap, either. I mean, I have other things to do besides check how quickly the soap is drying. I just know that the felted bar of soap is lasting a really long time. (UPDATE: My felted bar of regular Ivory soap lasted just over three months.)
There is the claim that felting the soap makes it easier to handle and hold onto. Also completely true. I think I have dropped my soap three times in the past six weeks.
And a final claim is that the animal fibers used to felt the soap are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, whatever. I'm not sure whether any of this is true, but I can definitely say that unlike with washcloths after a couple of days of use, there is absolutely no yucky smell with felted soap. Just the smell of the soap.
So felted soap really is a washcloth and soap all in one. And yet, it is much, much better. I will never look back.
|One of my first felted bars. The gray fiber is angora; the rest is alpaca.|
If you can't wait until I get our own directions posted, here are two websites to check out.