About soap making (part 1)


Soap is the salt of a fatty acid. This salt is the product of the combination of an acid and alkali and it is different from the type of salt we eat.

The acid used in soap making is known as fatty acid, while the alkali is generally sodium hydroxide or caustic soda. 

Saponification is the process of making soap, when the fatty acid is mixed with the alkali it produces a tablet of salt and glycerine which is the soap.

How soap cleanses

When soap combines with water it acts as a surfactant, The surfactant has water soluble and oil soluble parts. Due to this property, soap molecules can surround grease or dirt particles and bring them into the water to be washed away.

Why you should make your own soap

Glycerine is a bye product of soap making and it’s function is to soothe and clean without irritation.

Commercially made soap are made in a cost effective way, making this type of soaps able to clean but hash on the hand and skin because it lacks glycerine.

Making your own soap helps to regularise the soap making ingredients to your advantage.

Soap making ingredients

Basic materials used for soap making are fat and sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) with the addition of essential oils and fragrances to personalize your soap.

Fat can be animal or  plant fat. Fat of cow, goat, buffalo is ok. Suitable fat from plants include the various types of cooking oil such as 

Olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, sher butter, sunflower oil etc.

Colouring ingredients include;

Cocoa powder,


Bentonite clay


Curry powder


Fragrance ingredients include;






Other ingredients for health benefit includes


Coffee grounds


Olive stone

Apricot stone 



 and many more.

To add moisturizer to soap you can add glycerine. Some glycerine is already produced in the saponification process.

Beeswax is an ingredient to to harden the soap, salt can also be added to hasten it.

Borax and sugar are added to give the soap bubbles.

Types of soap

Novelty soaps: 

These soaps are made for children. They are mild on the children’s skin.

Perfumed soaps: 

Strong scented soaps

Guest soap:

As the name implies, they are small sized soaps used in hotels, motels, guest houses by guests in the bathroom. They can be taken home by the guests.

Beauty soaps:

These soaps are special soaps that beautify the skin by removing wrinkles, spots, makes the skin clearer and so on.

Medicated soaps:

These soaps are designed to treat all kinds of skin infections, such as acne, pimples, prickly heat, eczema and so on.

Translucent soaps:

These are soaps containing glycerine. These types of soaps are very gentle on the skin.

Transparent soaps:

A special type of soap that feels better against your skin when compared to other soaps.

Liquid soaps

As the name implies, these types of soap come in liquid form. As with solid bar soaps, some are suitable for bathing, others for washing clothes and others for washing dishes.

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