The Soap Making Business

Any substance that is made from a mixture of natural oils and fats with an alkali is considered as soap. Soap is a surface-active agent generally used for washing. Washing, because soap is basically ineffective without water. The use of soap (or any natural soap-cleaning agents) has always been associated with man’s inherent instinct to keep his body, his clothes, and various other washable belongings clean.

Soap making started in the 18th century by boiling a crude mixture of animal fat, lye from wood ash, and salt until it became sticky and hard. Later, manufacturers added certain chemicals and permissible additives to improve the quality of soap; some as builders, other as whitening agents. Color (water soluble dyes) and fragrance are also added to make the product, especially toilet soap, more appealing to consumers

Today, soap products are prepared in various types, shapes and sizes. Even the ordinary laundry soap is produced now in the form of bars, cakes, flakes, liquids, gels or pastes.

If you are interested in manufacturing soap products from detergent laundry soap to herbal soap, you should study the technology appropriate to each type. It is also essential that you acquaint yourself with the basic requirements to be met in soap making. For example, an ordinary soap should be made from alkali and fats and oils (fatty acids), a moderate amount of matter insoluble in alcohol, and permissible additives. The finished product should neither bear any objectionable odor nor leave objectionable odor on fabrics and dishes after washing them and rinsing thoroughly with hot water. The soap should form suds or lather in a clean moderate hard water (less than 180m ppm CaCO3) when tested.

There are also a prescribed standard size for bar soaps, i.e., basic size of 120 grams, with multiples in a single bar or four units in a single bar of 480 grams.

In addition to the requirements prescribed in existing laws and regulations, the packing material of soap should be marked with the following information:

  • brand name of the product
  • quantity of individual bars contained
  • net mass (marked net mass is the average net mass of individual bars at time of packing)
  • name and address of the manufacturer
  • country of origin, e.g., “Made in the Philippines”.

This guide will introduce you to the basic procedures in making various kinds of soap.

Qualities of a Good Soap

A good soap s biodegradable when it does not contain chemicals that cannot be reverted to their natural elements. Neither does it contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment or cause undue destruction to the environment.

  1. A good soap dissolves easily and remove stains from clothes, human skin or any material being cleaned.
  2. It dissolves in water and produces enough suds.
  3. It gives a clear and sparkling kind of cleanliness.
  4. It gives a pleasant smell.
  5. A good soap does not leave sticky traces on the clothes or on the skin.
  6. It has a color that is even and does not streak.
  7. It disinfects or kills germs.
  8. It does not damage the fibers of textiles.

Basic Ingredient of Soap

Fat or oil and alkali taken from lye are the basic ingredients of soap. Fat serves as the foundation of the soap and alkali produces the chemical reaction that makes the mixture hard and gives it cleansing ability.

Fat taken from plants like coconut, palm and cottonseed are called soft oils. Animal fat from pigs and cows are called hard fats. Hard fats do not produce many suds, but this type of fat solidifies and hardens easily. The soft and hard oils can be mixed to make the soap produce more suds and solidify with the right hardness. Additives can also be mixed with the soap ingredients. Some of these additives are coco diethanol amide (CDEA), sodium carbonate, naptha, kerosene and rosin. Fragrances or essential oils fro lemon, patchouli, lemon grass, citronella and rose are also usually added.

For more info, contact:

DOST Central Office
DOST Bldg. Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig
Telephone: (632) 837-20-71 to 82
Fax: (632) 837-8937



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