Bar soap is an essential household material every household uses daily. It’s of regular and constant demand in market place, mini shops and complex. Just as food, shelter and clothes, It’s also indispensable, water.

Soap making business is a lucrative business in Africa it offers reliable and constant revenue for young business men and women who are producing and those marketing soap wholesale and retail.

There are different types of soap which include bathing soap, laundry soap, detergent and so on. We are going to look into laundry soap otherwise know as Bar soap now. There are various methods of soap production it could be COLD or HOT.

Definition: Bar soap making is basically the reaction of fats or mixture and an alkali metal e.g. caustic soda in oil. This process is called “saponification”. This is the process of bringing oil and caustic soda soda together to form soap. This takes place between 12-24hrs for curing. This is because it is hand-made and not machine-made. In this process, there is no heat is applied to speed up the action and so the product is allowed to cure (this is the point in which the soap has stayed enough and is ready for use) naturally. 


There are several materials that are used for bar soap making which includes;

  • Palm Karnel (PK) oil (two liters)
  • Color 
  • Sodium silicate 125g
  • Foaming agent 125g
  • Soda ash (1kg)
  • Kaoline (125g)
  • Caustic soda (1kg)
  • Mixer  Ø Mould
  • Cutting and stamping machine

Figure 1: Bar soap



  • Palm Kernel  oil: serves as a neutralizer mainly contains fats and oil
  • Caustic soda: This is also known as sodium Hydroxide which serves a major item needed for soap formulation 
  • Sodium silicate: is used as shining agent for brightness in soap and building agent expansion.
  • Colorant:  a coloring agent added to a soap to improve its attractiveness or beauty.

NOTE: while choosing colors, the ability for it to dissolve in oil is considered in soap making because some dissolves in water. 

  • Perfume: this adds scent to the soap e.g. lime, jasmine lemon, lavender, rose citronella etc.
  • NOTE: some perfume react to heat and caustic soda.
  • Water: they used for the mixing process.


We are going to separate the procedure into two stages (Pre-production stage and Production stage)


  • To prepare the caustic soda solution, measure 1kg of caustic soda and add three (3) liters of water to it and allow to stand for 24hours
  • To prepare the soda ash solution, measure 1kg of soda ash and add two (2) liters of water and allow standing for 12hours


  • Measure Two (2) liters of palm kernel oil into a bowl and add colorant of your taste to it. Stir the mixture very well to to allow the mixture dissolve well.
  • Add 125g of sodium silicate to the mixture.
  • Add forming agent (125g) and stir it very well. 
  • Measure 125g of kaolin powder to make slurry separately (mix with some quantity of water to form a solution) 
  • Add one liter of caustic soda stir very hard.
  • Add some quantity of perfume to your taste to the mixture.
  • Finally, pour the mixture to the mold and allow to stand for 12hours. 


  • Must form very well and easily
  • Must be strong solid and durable.
  • Should have an attractive scent or perfume
  • Must not itch hand or body

There are several methods of producing bar soap, the commonest one are:

Melt and pour process: this is a very simple method of bar soap production. Here already made prepared soap (pre-made soap) is provided as a base and all that is required is to melt it and add ingredients of your choice then pour the outcome into a mold.

Cold process: this is the most complex of all the processes. What is required in this process is that all the materials and formula for making the soap is provided. After the production you allow the soap to cure for about 4-6 weeks. This is because heat was not applied to speed up the reaction. The period of waiting for the soap to bake is called saponification.

Hot process: this is just the same thing as cold process, but the difference is just the application of heat to speed up saponification process. Stir the mixture whenever you add ingredients then heat the batter (that which comes out as a result of the mixture).


  • Never allow caustic soda to touch your body, because it is very dangerous to the body. 
  • Always put on your hand gloves during mixing of chemicals 
  • Always adhere to other safety measure  while handling chemicals.

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