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P.M.B 1526, OWERRI,




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2.3 TYPES OF SOAP....7


3.1 FATS AND OIL (FATTY ACIDS).....................................13
3.2 ALKALIS....17


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4.4.3 CLEAR BOILING AND FITTING.............................................29


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In the general advance of technical knowledge and research during the last
decade, the Soap Industry has notremained stationary. While there has not
perhaps been anything of a very revolutionary character, steady progress
has still been made in practically all branches, and the aim of the present
work is to describe the manufacture of Household and Toilet Soaps as
carried out to-day in an up-to-date and well-equipped factory.
The information contained in this paper is based on research, elaborate
readings and a practical experience in a soap manufacture company.
In the start of the report, soap was viewed from a historical perspective to
throw more light on how much soap has evolved over the years. In addition,
care was made to carefully define in basic and technical terms what a soap is
including how a soap functions.
For a soap maker to comfortable master the art of soap making, the person
must have a little scientific knowledge of the the composition of the soap,
hence the detailed explanation of the raw materials used in soap production
and the reaction needed for soap formation.
At the same time, in the greater part of the report no chemical knowledge is
necessary, the subject being treatedin such a way that it is hoped those who
are not directly engaged in the manufacture of soap, but who desire
ageneral idea of the subject, will find it of value.
In addition an indigenous technology and raw materials used in soap making
is also discussed.

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It has been said that the use of soap is a gauge of the civilization of a
nation, but though this may perhaps be ina great measure correct at the
present day, the use of soap has not always been co-existent with
civilization,for according to Pliny (Nat. Hist., xxviii., 12, 51) soap was first
introduced into Rome from Germany, having been discovered by the Gauls,
who used the product obtained by mixing goats' tallow and beech ash for
giving a bright hue to the hair. In West Central Africa, moreover, the










themselves with soap prepared by mixing crude palm oil and water with the
ashes of banana and plantain skins. The manufacture of soap seems to have
flourished during the eighth century in Italy and Spain, and was introduced
into France some five hundred years later, when factories were established
at Marseilles for the manufacture of olive-oil soap. Soap does not appear to
have been made in England until the fourteenth century, and the first record
of soap manufacture in London is in 1524. From this time till the beginning
of the nineteenth century the manufacture of soap developed very slowly,
being essentially carried on by rule-of-thumb methods, but the classic
researches of Chevreul on the constitution of fats at once placed the industry
upon a scientific basis, and stimulated by Leblanc's discovery of a process
for the commercial manufacture of caustic soda from common salt, the
production of soap has advanced by leaps and bounds until it is now one of
the most important of British industries.
The word soap (Latin sapo, which is cognate with Latin sebum, tallow)
appears to have been originally applied to the product obtained by treating
tallow with ashes. In its strictly chemical sense it refers to combinations of
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fatty acids with metallic bases, a definition which includes not only sodium
stearate, oleate and palmitate, which form the bulk of the soaps of
commerce, but also the linoleates of lead, manganese, etc., used as driers,







(Hydrargyrioleatum), zinc oleate and lead plaster, together with a number of

other metallic salts of fatty acids. Technically speaking, however, the
meaning of the term soap is considerably restricted, being generally limited
to the combinations of fatty acids and alkalis, obtained by treating various
animal or vegetable fatty matters, or the fatty acids derived therefrom, with
soda or potash, the former giving hard soaps, the latter soft soaps. The use
of ammonia as an alkali for soap-making purposes has often been
attempted, but owing to the ease with which the resultant soap is
decomposed, it can scarcely be looked upon as a product of much
commercial value.
In a technical definition, soap is a salt of a compound known as a fatty acid.
A soap molecule consists of a long hydrocarbon chain(composed of carbons
and hydrogens) with a carboxylic acid group on one end which is ionic
bonded to a metal ion, usually a sodium or potassium. The hydrocarbon end
is nonpolar and is soluble in nonpolar substances (such as fats and oils), and
the ionic end (the salt of a carboxylic acid) is soluble in water.
In conclusion, the basic reaction in soap making is between a neutral fat and
an alkali is to produce a soap and glycerol, in which the glycerol can either
be removed or left.

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Historical Perspectives

would appear that soap has been used for personal hygiene and for

washing clothes since the beginning of time. All major religions adhere to
strict guidelines and instructions for maintaining cleanliness in holy sites.
Cleanliness is also found in prayer, signifying purity of body and soul. The
origins of the word soap and the first chemical saponification are obscure.
According to one Roman legend, soap was discovered accidentally near
Mount Sapo, an ancient location for animal sacrifice not far from Rome.
Animal fat mixed with wood ashes (theancient source of alkali) and
rainwater created an excellent soap mixture. Roman housewives noticed that
the strange yellow mixture of the Tibers waters madetheir clothes cleaner
and brighter than ordinary water. Soapmaking became an art during the
time of the Phoenicians (600 BCE) and underwent significant advancement
in the Mediterranean countries, where local olive oil was boiled with the










soapmakingcenter in Europe, followed by Genoa, and eventually Venice. In

Germany, soap was manufactured but not widely used as a cleansing agent.
For several centuries,the industry was limited to small-scale production
using mainly plant ashes containing carbonate; the ashes were dispersed in
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water, then mixed with fat andboiled until the water evaporated. The
reaction of fatty acid with alkali carbonate of the plant ashes formed the final
product The real breakthrough in industrial soap production was made by a
French chemist and physician, Nicolas Leblanc, who invented the process
(Leblanc process, 1780) of obtaining soda (Na2CO3) from common salt This
process increased the availability of alkali at reasonablecost, transforming
soapmaking from a cottage industry into a huge commercial one. Soap,
which had been a luxury item affordable only by royalty and the very rich,
became a household item for the personalhygiene of mainstream citizens as
well. Throughout the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century,
physicians realized the value of soap as a medicinal agent.
Soap was also recommended for preventing skin infections and reducing the
incidence of sepsis originating from minor skin injuries.79. The use of soap
reached its zenith at the beginning of the 20th century, and the maxim
cleanliness is next to godliness held sway.



Soap is a salt of a compound known as a fatty acid. A soap molecule consists

of a long hydrocarbon chain (composed of carbons and hydrogens) with a
carboxylic acid group on one end which is ionic bonded to a metal ion,
usually a sodium or potassium. The hydrocarbon end is nonpolar and is
soluble in nonpolar substances (such as fats and oils), and the ionic end (the
salt of a carboxylic acid) is soluble in water.
The structure of a soap molecule is represented below:
CH3-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2CH2-CH2- C-O Na+
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Soaps are mainly used as surfactants for washing, bathing, and cleaning.
Soaps are water soluble sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids, by treating
them chemically with a strong alkali.



There are many types of soaps depending upon the usage. There are HARD
and SOFT and everything in between soaps. Hardness of soap is often
achieved through the addition of many hardening agents; so many natural
soaps tend to be softer.
The different types of soap are as follows

KITCHEN SOAPS: They are further categorized into two: cleansers and

CLEANSERS: Cleansers are often made with mild abrasives and they
are formulated to eliminate heavy oil or solid particles and hard to
remove stains. The cleaners come in different types depending on the
type of abrasives they contain.

DETERGENTS: Dish detergents are made to remove tough grease and

release the solid dirt particles in the foam that is produced by the
detergent. There are two types of detergents; machine dishwater
detergents and hand dish water detergents.

LAUNDRY SOAPS: Laundry soaps are formulated to eliminate grease,

solid particles and organic compounds from clothes. They can be found
in liquid, powder and gel forms.

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CLEANING SOAPS: Cleaning soaps have different formulations to clean

grease and soils. The difference between cleansers and cleaning soaps
is that cleaning soaps dont contain harsh abrasives.

PERSONAL SOAPS; this kind is made in many forms and special

formulations for specific personal hygiene needs. One type of the
personal soap is the anti-bacterial soap that is made to prevent
bacteria and viruses from spreading. There are also body and hair
soaps that have a mix of ingredients that cleanse both the skin and

NOVELTY SOAPS: Novelty soaps are specially manufactured for the

kids and include the soaps in the shape of various items, such as
rubber duckey. There are made not only to clean dirt and grime but
also for amusement and enjoyment as well.

PERFUMED SOAPS: Perfumed soaps are produced by adding a few

additional ingredients and perfumed.

GUEST SOAPS: Guest soaps are miniature soaps that are made and
shaped into attractive shapes and they are basically designed for the
use by guests either in main bathrooms or in separate guest
bathroom. Popular and commonly used shapes are flowers, sea shells
and rounds.

BEAUTY SOAPS; Beauty soaps are produced to feature attractive

fragrances, and ingredients for a variety of skin types. They can
feature glycerine or special oil blends

MEDICATED SOAPS: Medicated soaps and original soap are very

similar. Unlike original soap, medicated soaps have the addition of
antiseptics and disinfectants.

GLYCERINE: Glycerine is a normally produced process of soap

production. Soaps which have glycerine in them tends to make ones
skin feel moister.

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ingredients and usually some form of alcohol to alter the process which
is also conducted at higher temperatures. Not all transparent soaps
are glycerine soaps.

LIQUID SOAPS: Liquid soaps are difficult to produce and many of the
commercial soaps are just in fact detergents.


Properties of Soap

Both soda and potash soaps are readily soluble in either alcohol or hot
water. In cold water they dissolve more slowly, and owing to slight
decomposition, due to hydrolysis (vide infra), the solution becomes distinctly
turbid. Sodium oleate is peculiar in not undergoing hydrolysis except in very
dilute solution and at a low temperature. On cooling a hot soap solution, a
jelly of more or less firm consistence results, a property possessed by
colloidal bodies, such as starch andgelatin. In the case of soda soaps the
colloidal character increases with the molecular weight of the fatty acids.
Soda soaps are insoluble in concentrated caustic lye, and, for the most part,
in strong solutions of sodium chloride, hence the addition of caustic soda or
brine to a solution of soda soap causes the soap to separate out and rise to
the surface. Addition of brine to a solution of potash soap, on the other
hand, merely results in double decomposition, soda soap and potassium
chloride being formed, thus:-C{17}H{35}COOK + NaCl = C{17}H{35}COONa + KCl


Hydrolysis of Soap

The term "hydrolysis" is applied to any resolution of a body into its

constituents where the decomposition is brought about by the action of

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water, hence when soap is treated with cold water, it is said to undergo
hydrolysis, the reaction taking place being represented in its simplest form
by the equation
2NaC{18}H{35}O{2} + H{2}O =NaOH + HNa(C{18}H{35}O{2}){2}
The extent of dissociation occurring when soap is dissolved in water depends
upon the nature of the fatty acids from which the soap is made, and also on
the concentration of the solution. The sodium salts of cocoa-nut fatty acids
(capric, caproic and caprylic acids) are by far the most easily hydrolysed,
those of oleic acid and the fatty acids from cotton-seed oil being dissociated
more readily than those of stearic acid and tallow fatty acids. The
decomposition increases with the amount of water employed.
The hydrolytic action of water on soap is affected very considerably by the
presence of certain substances dissolved in the water, particularly salts of
calcium and magnesium. Caustic soda exerts a marked retarding effect on
the hydrolysis, as do also ethyl and amyl alcohols and glycerol.


Detergent Action of Soap

The cleansing action of soap is determined by its polar and non-polar

structures in conjunction with an application of solubility principles. The long
hydrocarbon chain is of course non-polar and hydrophobic (repelled by
water). The salt end of the soap molecule is ionic and hydrophilic (water
All soaps and detergents contain a surfactant as their active ingredient.A
surfactant is generally a chemical substance that effectively reduces surface
tension so that water can spread and wet surfaces this enables cleaning
process to effectively take place. Surfactants perform other important
functions in cleaning such as loosening, emulsifying (dispersing in water)
and holding soil in suspension so that it can be washed away. Surfactants
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can be used to remove acidic soil; this ability of the surfactant is provided by
its alkaline nature. Surfactants are classified by their ionic properties in
water: anionic (negative charge), nonionic (no charge), cationic(positive
charge), amphoteric(either positive or negative charge). Soap is an anionic
In a more technical explanation, a surfactant is an ionicspecie consisting of a
long, linear, non-polar tail with a cationic or anionic head and a counter
ion. The tail is water insoluble and the head is water soluble - a difference in
solubility which has two important implications. Firstly, this makes the
surfactant molecule a wetting agent: the tails migrate to align themselves
with the solid:water interface, lowering the surface tension at that point so
that it penetrates the fabric better. Secondly, it allows the oily dirt particles
to form an emulsion with the water: the tails of many surfactant molecules
surround an oily dirt particle, forming a micelle with a drop of oil in the
centre and the ionic heads of the surfactant molecules pointing outwards and
hence keeping the micelle in the polar solution.

Fig 2.6 detergent action of soap

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Disadvantages of soaps

For cleaning clothes and for other purposes, soap has been largely replaced
by synthetic detergents. This is because soaps have two rather serious short
comings. One of these is that, in acidic solutions, soaps are converted in to
fatty acids. The fatty acids unlike soap (sodium salt of fatty acids) do not
ionize much. Lacking the split personality, they cant emulsify the oil and dirt
that is they do not exhibit any detergent action. What are more these fatty
acids are in soluble in water and separate as a greasy scum.
The second and more serious disadvantage of soap is that it does not work
very well in hard water. Hard water contains certain metallic ions,
particularly magnesium, calcium and iron ions. The soap anions react with
these metal ions, to form greasy, insoluble curds. These deposits make up
the familiar bathtub ring. They leave the freshly washed hair sticky, and
forms kettle fur.

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There are three main ingredients in plain soap - oil or fat (oil is simply liquid
fat), lye (or alkali) and water. Other ingredients may be added to give the
soap a pleasant odour or colour, or to improve its skin-softening qualities.
Almost any fat or non-toxic oil is suitable for soap manufacture. Common
types include animal fat, avocado oil and sunflower oil. Lye can either be
bought as potassium hydroxide (caustic potash) or from sodium hydroxide
(caustic soda), or if they are not available, made from ashes. Some soaps
are better made using soft water, and for these it is necessary to either use
rainwater or add borax to tap water.



The fats (from animal) and oils (from vegetables) are the differentiating
ingredients of the soapmaking process. Until 1904, most soaps were made
with tallow (the rendered fat of cattle) and lard (the rendered fat of pig).
The invention of hydrogenation process in 1904 allowed conversion of liquid
vegetable oils to solid or semi-solid fats (such as margarine) and thus
releasing the soap industry from its reliance on tallow and lard.

Each fat or oil is made up of distinctive mixture of several different

glycerides. In a triglyceride molecule, three fatty acid molecules are
attached to one molecule of glycerine. There are many types of glycerides;
each type consists of its own combination of fatty acids.

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Fatty acids are merely carboxylic acids with long hydrocarbon chains. The
hydrocarbon chains length may vary from 10-30 carbons (mostly12-18). The
non-polar hydrocarbon alkane chain is an important counterbalance to the
polar acid functional group. In acids with only a few carbons, the acid
functional group dominates and gives the whole molecule a polar character.
However, in fatty acids, the non-polar hydrocarbon chain gives the molecule
a non-polar character. There are two groups of fatty acids: the saturated
and the unsaturated. Beef fat contains mainly the saturated fatty acid while
olive oil contains the unsaturatedfattyacids.
Soap is a function of acids and fatty acids are functions of fats and oil. In the
simplest sense, oils that are solid at room temperature are hard whereas
those that are liquid at room temperature are soft. The degree of hardness
and softness differs according to their sources and other parameters. Oils
that are hard contributes to hardness and/or lather in soap. Oils that are soft
contribute to conditioning. Oils are made up mainly of a variety of fatty
acids. The main conditioning fatty acids are oleic (1 unsaturated bonds),
linoleic (2 unsaturated bonds) and linolenic (3 unsaturated bonds). The more
unsaturated bonds, the better the conditioning and the more easily it is
absorbed by the skin, but the softer the oil is in soap, the more prone to
oxidation. Making soap therefore means choosing a combination of oils with
different degrees of hard/soft, conditioning and leather, to get the particular
product that fits you best.Soaps are water-soluble sodium or potassium salts
of fatty acids. Soaps are made from fats and oils or their fatty acids, by
treating them chemically with a strong alkali. The fats and oils used in soap
making come form animal or plant sources, each fat or oil is made up of a
distinctive mixture of several different triglycerides. In a triglyceride
molecule, three fatty acid molecules are attached to one molecule of
glycerine. There are many types of triglyceride each type consist of its own

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particular combination of fatty acids. The fatty acids are the components of
fats and oils that are used in making soap.
In soap making the properties of the fats and oils are important; the fatty
acid composition in oil determines its properties. The acids may be
distributed at random in the triglycerides. In the soap making, its the fatty
acid content that matters the most. The chain length (C number) is usually
cited and helps describes the molecules properties in relation to others in its
same series. Saturated fatty acids contain no double bonds. They are stiff
molecules which tend to increase the melting point of oils.
Saturated fatty acids themselves are solids at room temperature. As they
increase in size from lauric to stearic, the melting point of the oil increases.
Saturated fatty acids in soap have good cleaning properties and support
foam. The longer chains also tend to harden soap. Unsaturated fatty acids
are liquids. They tend to have good cleaning power, but lather poorly. These
fatty acids also tend to make milder soaps.
The chief fatty acids in soap making are lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic
acid, stearic acid oleic. They are obtained from mutton, tallow, beef tallow
(animal fats), palm oil, and palm kernel oil. Joy, Lux, Delta and Carex soap
have more percentage of lauric acid. Lauric acid is saturated fatty acids
whose single bond helps in soap hardening. It also has good cleansing agent
and supports foaming. The percentage of plamitoleic acid is between 0.002.20 percent. This acid is unsaturated. It makes soap to be mild, have good
cleaning power but foams poorly. It was seen that palmitic acid can be
saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, the C16 and C16:1 respectively.
Stearic acid i.e. the C18 has three members the oleic acid C18:1, the linoleic
acid C18:2 and the linolenic acid C18:3. The stearic itself is a saturated fatty
acid while the other three are unsaturated fatty acids. They help increase

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mildness in soap.The most common fats and oils used are tallow (beef or
mutton/beef blend), coconut oil, and palm kernel oil.

3.1.2 The contributions of some fatty acids to the quality of

Lauric Acid will add hardness to your bar, promotes a fluffy lather and
cleans very well... almost too well. Large amounts of lauric acid will create
an excessively drying product as your natural skin oils will be stripped
because of its amazing cleansing abilities. Just try not to go overboard with
ingredients like coconut oil, Babassu oil or palm oilthat have large amounts
of lauric acid in them.
Linoleic Acid will add conditioning and moisturizing properties to your soap
bar. Some also report that a silky feel is added to their product when using
ingredients high in this acid. The only thing to really watch out for is DOS
(dreaded orange spots) as it tends to go rancid more quickly then the other
fatty acids. Just be leery of using too much of an ingredient that has a high
content of linoleic acid, especially if you want your bar to last a long time.
Linolenic Acid will add conditioning properties and moisturizing properties
to your soap creating a very mild finished product.
Oleic Acid will also add conditioning properties and moisturizing properties
to your soap. It will not produce a very good lather though. Some say that
oleic acid is what gives your bar that slippery feel.
Palmitic Acid will add hardness to your bar and a creamy/stable lather.
Careful though... too much can be over drying!

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Ricinoleic Acid will add conditioning properties, a fluffy lather and some
creamy/stable lather! This fatty acid is prominent in castor oil and is great
for adding a luxurious lather to the finished product even if only used in
small amounts.
Stearic Acid will offer many of the same characteristics as palmitic acid.
Once again, you'll gain hardness to your bar and add a creamy/stable lather.
Myristic Acid will add hardness to the bar, offer good cleansing properties
and adds a nice fluffy lather. Again, because of its cleansing abilities, too
much myristic acid will produce somewhat of a drying product.

The manufacture of alkali was at one time carried on in conjunction with
soap-making, but of late years it hasbecome more general for the soap
manufacturer to buy his caustic soda or carbonated alkali from thealkalimaker. Alkali is an inorganic chemical compound that functions as a
base(the opposite of an acid). Although alkali is sometimes used as a
synonym for base, it is generally regarded as a more limited term, with
several meanings. In chemistry, the term is applied to the hydroxides and
carbonates of the alkali metal (lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, and
cesium) and of ammonia. It is also applied to the hydroxides and oxides of
the alkaline earth metal (beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, and
In industry, the term alkali usually refers to soda ash (sodium carbonate),
caustic soda (sodium hydroxide), or baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), but
it may also refer to lime potassium hydroxide, or other bases.

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Alkalis have chemical properties that are typical of all bases. Nearly all
alkalis are solid at room temperature, and are soluble in water. In
concentrated form they can cause burns.
Alkalis react with fat and oils to produce soaps. The qualities of the soap
depend to a large extent on the particular alkali used. For example
potassium hydroxide is used to make highly soluble liquid soaps and
shampoos, while sodium hydroxide is used to make less soluble bar soaps.
Pioneer women made soap by cooking beef tallow with lye, an alkaline
solution they obtained by soaking wood ashes in water.
Alkalis are soluble salts that are effective in cleaning fabrics and removing
dirt without excessive rubbing. A soluble salt of an alkali metal like
potassium or sodium, alkalis are good grease removers as they form
emulsion, a mixture where oily or solid particles are held in suspension. The
particles do not separate from the remaining liquid and hence they are not
redeposit on the surface being cleaned. Earlier, the alkali used in soap
manufacturing process, were obtained from the ashes of plant, but
nowadays they are produced commercially. Today, the term alkali describes
a substance which, is a base (chemically) and which reacts with an acid to
neutralize it.
When oil is mixed with an alkali, it forms glycerin and a sodium salt of fatty
acid. The fatty acids required to manufacture soaps are supplied by tallow,
grease, fish oils and vegetable oils. The characteristics of soap such as
hardness, lathering qualities and transparency may vary depending on the
combinations of alkalis and fats used as ingredients. Alkaline cleaners can
also be used to remove oil from an oil based paint, by drying it and causing
it to peel or crack.
Acidic oils and alkaline solutions are prime ingredients in soap making. To
produce a perfect bar of soap, oil and alkalis should be in perfect balance.
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The unsaponifiedare known as free fatty acids, which add to the

moisturizing characteristics of high quality soaps. However if these oils are
used in excess, the soap will not lather and will have a shortened shell life.
The use of excess alkali in soap makes it harsh and drying to the skin.


Sodium hydroxide: also known as caustic soda is an inorganic compound
with the chemical formula NaOH. It is a white solid and highly caustic
metallic base and alkali salt which is available in pellets, flakes, granules and
as prepared solutions at a number of different concentrations .Sodium
hydroxide forms an approximately 50% (by weight) with water. Sodium
hydroxide is soluble in water, ethanol and methanol. This alkali is
deliquescent and readily absorbs moisture and carbon dioxide in air.
Sodium hydroxide is used in soap as an alkali that reacts with acid (fatty
acids) in a reaction known as neutralization to form a salt of fatty acid
compound known as soap. Sodium hydroxide is used in the manufacture of
solid bar soaps. The caustic soda or sodium hydroxide used in soap making
is first diluted with water in a 50: 50 concentration. The amount of caustic
soda to be used industrially to produce soap is usually calculated for a
particular quantity of fats and oil. But small scale soap producers usually use
instinct and experience to add the amount of caustic required.
Potassium hydroxide: potassium hydroxide is an inorganic compound with
the formula KOH, commonly called caustic potash. Along with sodium
hydroxide, this colourless solid is a prototypical strong base. KOH is
noteworthy as a precursor to most soft and liquid soaps. Potassium can be
found in pure form by reacting sodium hydroxide with impure potassium.

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Potassium hydroxide is usually sold in pellets. Its dissolution in water is

strongly endothermic, meaning the process gives off significant heat.
The saponification of fats with KOH is used to prepare the corresponding
potassium soaps which are softer than the more common sodium hydroxide
derived soaps. Because of their softness and greater solubility, potassium
soaps require less water to liquefy, and can thus contain more cleaning
agent than liquefied sodium soaps.

Water: Water intended for use in soap-making should be as soft as
possible. If the water supply is hard, itshould be treated chemically; the
softening agents may be lime and soda ash together, soda ash alone,
orcaustic soda. There are many excellent plants in vogue for water
softening, which are based on similarprinciples and merely vary in
mechanical arrangement. The advantages accruing from the softening of
hard water intended for steam-raising are sufficiently established and need
not be detailed here.
Salt (sodium chloride or common salt, NaCl): salt is a very important
material to the soap-maker, and isobtainable in a very pure state. Brine, or
a saturated solution of salt, is very convenient in soap-making, and, if the
salt used is pure, willcontain 26.4 per centsodium chloride
Most soaps include additional ingredients, such as scents and colors, for
enhanced variety and character.However, most allergic reactions are caused
by natural or synthetic colorants and fragrances.Scents, typically added just
before soap is poured into the mold to minimize exposure to heat and lye,
areproduced in one of the following three ways:
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(a) Perfume oils are produced using the enfleurage technique. In this
method the fresh flower petalsare sealed in lard between two glass panes.
For several weeks, the old petals are removed daily andnew ones are
applied, until the lard is saturated with perfume oil. The lard is then melted
and frozeninto a paste which is mixed in alcohol to dissolve the perfume oil.
The alcohol is then removed bydistillation, leaving a fragrance oil.
(b) Essential oils, used by most soapmakers, are typically produced using
the less expensivedistillation process. Since a large quantity of stronglyscented petals is required, they must be bothabundant and easily accessible
for example, one hundred pounds of rose blossoms produce about ounce
of rose fragrance, while the same amount of lavender blossom yields about
two pounds oflavender oil.
(c) Synthetic scents, similar to those used in candle making, can be added
to the liquid soap also.Finely powdered aromatic spices such as cinnamon,
cloves, and nutmeg, when mixed with a little oil,can be added to the finished
liquid soap just before pouring into moulds. Likewise, pure flavoringessences
such as vanilla and almond can be added in small quantities.









consistent results is more difficult thanadding scents. Food coloring, with the
exception of yellow, is not very stable and tends to be bleached anddistorted
by saponification. Vegetable dyes, traditionally used to color fabric, are
highly unstable in the presenceof alkali and will produce unpredictable











turmeric,saffron and curry which produce various shades of cream to peach.

Cinnamon and cloves yield a wide range ofcolors from caramel to deep
chocolate. Synthetic aniline dyes, similar to those used in candle making,
willadequately color soap. However, there have been some concerns
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expressed about the toxicology of such dyes.Most traditional soapmakers

dont add any color.
Fillers and other stuff
Besides colors and scents, soapmakers often add a variety of fillers. Bran,
cornmeal, maize, and oatmeal arecommon fillers in cosmetic bars. Gently











delaydegeneration of such additives in soap, small amounts of antioxidants

may be added to soap. Naturalantioxidants are wheat germ oil or Vitamin E
oil. Many soap recipes include ingredients from natural cosmeticssuch as
oatmeal face mask, beeswax, paraffin and lanolin cleansers. Whether the
properties of theseingredients remain unchanged after saponification is open
to question.
To make mass-produced hard tallow/lard soap appropriate as a face cleanser
emollients or superfats can beadded to soap. Vaseline, lanolin, and cold
cream are all softening agents. Coconut oil is another superfat that isoften
used for its quick, abundant, though somewhat thin, lather.
In laundry soap, the most common fillers used in Nigeria are Calcium
carbonate also known in technical words as Calcium trioxo carbonate (iii),
CaCO3. The more the filler is added to the soap, the less the lather of the
soap. So care should be taken in the quantity of the filler to be put.

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The word Saponification is derived from the latin word saponins,

meaning soap though the word has a wide application, for example, in
papermaking, many components of wood pitch may become saponified
under alkaline papermaking conditions
Saponification is a process that produces soap, usually from fats and lye. In
technical terms saponification usually involves base (usually caustic soda
NaOH), hydrolysis of triglycerides (which are esters of fatty acids) to form a
sodium or potassium salt of a carboxylate. In addition to soap, such






materials are those that can convert to soap.

In soapmaking, vegetable oils and animal fat are the main materials that
are saponified. These greasy materials, triesters called triglycerides, are
mixtures derived from diverse fatty acids. Triglycerides can be converted to
soap in a one or two step process. In the traditional one step process, the
triglycerides are treated with strong base (example lye), which accelerates
the cleavage of the ester bond and releases the fatty acid salt and glycerol.
23 | P a g e

The process is the main industrial process of producing glycerol. If

necessary, soap may be precipitated by salting it out with saturated sodium
The saponification value is the amount of base required to a fat sample. For
soap making the triglycerides are highly purified but saponification also
includes the other base hydrolysis of unpurified triglycerides.
4.1.2 The essential reaction involved in soap making
The essential reaction involved in soap making happens basically in two
1. The first stage is known as hydrolysis. In the hydrolysis stage, the
triglyceride is broken down from the glycerol backbone into three
fatty acids and a glycerine molecule. This dissociation is as a result of
the presence of the lye which increases the alkalinity of the water
thereby encouraging the dissociation.
Reaction (in words)
Triglyceride (in presence of lye) + water=glycerine + 3 fatty

2. The second stage is the saponification proper. In simple terms, at

this stage, the sodium or potassium molecule replaces the hydrogen
molecule from each fatty acids to form the salt of the acid, and this
salt is known as the soap. The glycerine does not react at this stage.
It is either it is removed or it mixes with the resultant soap to
enhance moisturizing property of the soap.

Reaction (in words)

Fatty acids + Lye = soap + water
24 | P a g e

The reaction in terms of chemical structure is represented below


There are three main conventional methods of soapmaking. They are
generally used in both large- and small-scale soap production units. These
methods include semi-boiling, full-boiling and cold processes, and will be
discussed in this chapter.

4.3 Semi-boiling Process

The process, although not suitable for the production of toilet soaps, can be
used to produce laundry and all types of soft and liquid soaps. The process
does not permit the removal of waste lye which contains the glycerin
produced in the soapmakingprocess, and hence the glycerin, which tends to
decrease the hardening property of the soap but improves the cosmetic

25 | P a g e

properties, is retained in the finished soap. However, the method has some
advantage over the other two since large quantities of good soap can be
produced within a short time. The use of the method also allows a high
percentage of fillers to be incorporated in soaps, thus increasing the soap
bulk. In Nigeria about 70% of the laundry soap and all the traditional
potassium soaps produced by the small-scale producers employ the semiboiling process.

4.3.1 Processing Method

The soft and hard oils or their blends are very suitable for this process which
involves melting the oil or fat and running a weak 9-10% caustic soda
solution into the oil, and boiling the mixture. In all 14-15% of the weight of
the oil is the quantity of caustic soda required for the saponification of the
oil. Thisweight of caustic soda is dissolved in ten times its weight ofwater to
obtain a 9% solution. When the caustic solution is run into the oil,
saponification starts when an emulsion is formed as the soap is stirred. More
caustic solution is then run in to prevent the mass thickening. After sufficient
solution is added bit by bit to complete the saponification, boiling of the
mass continues until the soap is clear.
During the boiling process moderate heat is maintained and each addition of
caustic soda solution must be allowed to react with the oil before the next
addition is made. A hasty addition of the lye in the initial stages of the
process may retard the saponification, or at the final stages of the
saponification may result in the graining of the soap, while judicious addition
will keep the mass in a form of smooth homogeneous emulsion. If the soap
shows any signs of separation or graining, further water or oil is added to
bring the mass to a homogeneous state. The end of the process is easily
recognized by an experienced soapmaker. However, crude tests can be
made to determine when saponification is completed. The ribbon test

26 | P a g e

involves taking a small sample of the soap from the pan and cooling it.
When a little quantity of the cooled soap is pressed between the thumb and
forefinger, the soap should come out in the form of firm shiny ribbons with
slight opaque ends and be clear when held against the light. If the cooled
sample draws out in threads, there is an excess water present in the soap,
and further boiling is required to evaporate more water. If the opaque ends
appear and vanish, the soap is oily and requires more caustic, while if the
soap is grainy, or turbid and somewhat white, it indicates a high level of
unreacted caustic, and requires more oil. A physical test - the taste test
can also be done to determine the level of caustic. This test involves cooling
a small quantity of the soap, and tasting with the tip of the tongue. A very
sharp bite indicates too much caustic in the soap, while no bite at all
indicates a high level of unsaponified fat or oil. A good soap should give a
faint bite onthe tongue.
After the completion of the boiling process, the fire is withdrawn, and the
soap allowed to cool in the boiling pan with occasional stirring. At this point,
perfume and colour can be stirred into the soap, if required, and the final
soap poured into soap moulding boxes. It is then allowed to stay for 24-36
hours to harden, after which the moulds are emptied and the solid soap
block cut into the required sizes and stamped. Or after boiling, the soap is
discharged in an air cooling compartment where it is cooled for about 24
hours, it is then put in a vacuum dryer where other additives are added,
before it is cut and stamped.

4.4 Full-boiling Process

The process, popularly used by large and some small soap industries is the









treatment of fats or oils with an appropriate amount of alkali and removal of

waste lye from the soap at the end of the process. The process produces
27 | P a g e

hard and firm soaps, though it takes a longer time than the semi-boiling
process, and is mostly used for the production of laundry soap and soap
bases for toilet soaps. The process consists of four stages, namely
saponification of the oil with alkali, graining out of the soap. boiling on
strength (or clear boiling) and fitting.

4.4.1 Saponification Process

The process is started by putting the melted oil into the boilingtank and
running a weak (9.10%) caustic soda solution into theoil. The mixture is
then boiled to start the saponification. Thebeginning of the saponification is
denoted by the formation ofan emulsion. When saponification has started
caustic soda of higher strength isfrequently added in small quantities with
continued boiling.
Sometimes it proves difficult to start the saponification andin such cases a
small quantity of soap scrap may be added toinduce the saponification.
Rapid addition of caustic alkali inthe initial stages can also entirely delay
saponification in whichcase water should be added and the boiling continued
till theexcess alkali is taken up for the saponification to proceed. The
end of saponification can be crudely determined by the ribbonand taste
tests already discussed in Section 4.2.1. Whensaponification is completed,
the soap becomes firm and drywith a permanent faint caustic taste on the
tongue whencooled. The soap, which now consists of imperfect soaptogether
with water in which is dissolved glycerin and any slightexcess of caustic
soda, is then ready for graining out.

4.4.2 Graining Out

The object of this is to separate the waste lye (which is amixture of glycerin
produced during the soap boiling processand excess caustic soda solution)
from the soap. This is broughtabout by the use of common salt in the dry

28 | P a g e

form or as brine.The term graining is used here because after the

introductionof the salt, the homogeneous soap has the appearance ofgrains.
During the graining process, brine of relative density1.2 is added to the
boiling soap and boiling is continued. Toomuch brine must not be added at a
time. Usually the total saltused is 840% by weight of the oil used, depending
on the typeof oil. Less salt is required for tallow and palm oil while moresalt
is needed for coconut and palm kernel oils. As the salt isadded and the soap
allowed to boil and stirred, the soap isgradually thrown out of the solution,
and loses its transparentand homogeneous appearance, becoming opaque
and grainy.
The graining is comp!ete when the soap is practically free fromfoam and
floats as neat soap on the lye. At this stage, a sampleof soap taken from the
tank consists of distinct grains of soapand a liquid portion which will easily
separate. The boiling isthen stopped and the excess lye allowed to settle for
severalhours or overnight.It is necessary to cover the boiling pan and allow
slowsettling of the lye over a longer period of time to give the soapmass
enough time to separate into four layers, namely, a smallbottom layer of
brine with impurities, and excess lye, a secondlayer of soap containing some
salt and water, a third layer ofclean transparent soap (neat soap), and a top
layer of a thincrust of soap. The bottom layer of brine is drained out whilethe
second and top layers can be removed and converted intobar soap by boiling
with water.The third layer of neat grainy soap is either worked out with
atrowel to break the grains to obtain homogeneous soap, orboiled with a
small quantity of water to bring it to a smoothhomogeneous form and
cooling after draining into soapmoulds. When the soap is sufficiently cooled
in the soapmoulding box, it is taken from the mould, cut into the
requiredsizes and stamped ready for use.

4.4.3 Clear Boiling and Fitting

29 | P a g e

The object of clear boiling and fitting is to obtain a pure soapsuitable for the
making of toilet soaps, by removing the lasttraces of impurities from the
grained soap. In the clear boiling,complete saponification is attained and the
soap is hardened.
During the process, the bottom layer of the soap is drained outafter the
graining. The content of the boiling tank is thenboiled with strong caustic
solution of relative density 1.21 to 1.26. More solution is added as it is
absorbeduntil the soap is again grained, and is then allowed to boilsteadily.
As the boiling continues, complete saponificationtakes place, and the boiling
is stopped. The grained soap is leftfor some hours to allow the settling of the
excess lye which isthen drained off.The soap is then boiled with a little water
to make it smoothand homogeneous. This boiling process is called
fitting.During the fitting operation, samples of the soap are takenfrom time
to time to determine the quality of the soap and theend of the operation. If
the soap is good, a small quantity takenon a trowel should slip off from it
without adhering to its sides.If the soap adheres, too much heat was used
for the fitting,and a little lye must therefore be carefully added to the
soapand boiled again until the desired condition is attained, and theboiling
stopped. After the fitting, the boiling pan is coveredand allowed to stay for
2-6 days depending on the quality ofsoap in the pan. On complete settling,
the content of the pandivides into four layers consisting of a top layer of a
thin crustof soap, a second layer of good settled soap containing
about6043% of total fatty matter (TFM), a third layer of darkersoap with
TFM of about 30%, forming about 15-20% of soapin the pan, and a bottom
layer of spent lye containing glycerinand which can be extracted.

4.5 Cold Process

This process involves the treatment of fat or oil with a definite amount of
alkali and no separation of waste lye. Although it is possible with great care
30 | P a g e

to produce neutral soap by this process the soap is very liable to contain
both free alkali and unsaponified fat. The process is based on the fact that
the glycerol of certain low fatty acids oils (e.g. nut oils like) coconut and
palm kernel oils) readily combine with strong caustic soda solutions at low
temperatures, and generate sufficient heat to complete the saponification
reaction. Coconut oil is the chief oil employed but sometimes tallow, palm oil
lard, cotton seed oil, or even castor oil can be blended with coconut or palm
kernel oil to make the soap, with slight temperature change to render the
blend liquid. Soaps made with these blends resemble, in appearance, milled
toilet soaps.
In this process, it is very necessary to use high grade raw materials. Oils
and fats should be free from excess acidity because caustic soda rapidly
neutralizes free fatty acids forming granules of soap which grain out in the
presence of strong caustic solution, and since the grainy soap is difficult to
remove without heat increase, the soap tends to become thick and gritty
and sometimes discolours. The caustic soda being used must also be pure,
i.e. must contain as little carbonate as possible, and the water must be soft
and all other materials carefully freed from particles of dirt. The process
involves stirring into the milled fat or oil in a tank, half its weight of caustic
soda solution at a temperature of 24C for coconut and 38C to 49C for the
blends. The running of the caustic solution into the oil must be done slowly
and continuously. When the solution is being run into the oil the mixture
must be stirred in one direction. When all the caustic soda solution has been
run into the oil and the mixture stirred for 30-45 minutes, chemical reaction
takes place with the generation of heat, finally resulting in the saponification
of the oil. The content of the tank looks thin at first, but after some few
hours it becomes a solid mass. The edges of the soap become more
transparent as the process advances, and when the transparency has

31 | P a g e

extended to the whole mass, the soap is ready, after perfuming to be poured
into moulding boxes for hardening, cutting and stamping.
A little caustic potash solution used to blend the caustic soda solution greatly
improves the appearance of the soap, making it smoother and milder.
If filling agents are to be incorporated in the soap this is done after the
running in of the caustic solution. For laundry soaps, silicate of soda, talc
and starch are chiefly used. However, it is quite possible to make a soap of
45-50% TFM without any filling agent being added, simply by using a
weaker caustic lye.

The traditional process of pan boiling in large open kettles is timeconsuming and requires relatively large amounts of energy. The process
involves a number of distinct stages starting with the initial boiling or
preliminary saponification. Once this saponification has been completed a
soap layer is formed when salt is added. The soap layer, known as 'neat'
soap, consists of about 65% real soap with about 35% water and contains
traces of glycerine, salt, etc. Boiling continues with the careful addition of
further quantities of caustic soda to ensure the removal of excess fat and
other impurities. The pan is then allowed to stand to facilitate the complete
separation of the soap layer from the residual liquid. The soap is further
washed to remove excess salt when it is available to be processed by a
variety of different methods. This forms the basis of the production of
commercial bars, flakes, granules and powders. Cosmeticand toiletry











specializedbranded products, e.g. toiletry and bath tablets, baby soaps, etc.
32 | P a g e

The processing of soaps from neutral fats also results in the formation of
glycerineand this valuable raw material can be recovered from the residual
liquid left after the boiling process. Normally a proportion of glycerine is
retained within the soap layer; this is considered essential to produce a
high-quality product.

While pan boiling is still widely used, it tends to be the method of
manufacture favored by the smaller specialized producer. Continuous
process production is considered to have many advantages, being much
quicker, taking up less space and using less energy. The switch to
continuous process also facilitates the use of fatty acids in place of neutral
fats although both raw materials are used extensively. The resulting base
soaps tend to have characteristically different odourprofiles;often leading to
interesting discussions regarding which is the 'best' product.
The fats are first converted into fatty acids and glycerine by high pressure
at 5000C in a continuous, fat-splitting process. There are companies
specializing in this operation which sell fatty acids and purified glycerine to
soap base manufacturers.
FIG 4.1

33 | P a g e


There has always been a great deal of interest in soaps which have no
animal content. For cultural, religious and economic reasons vegetablebased products are widely used throughout Africa and Asia, and one has
34 | P a g e

seen a rapid improvement in the quality of these alternatives. The

techniques for production mirror those of animal-derived soap bases but the
availability of ever-increasing volumes of palm oil, palm kernel oil and
coconut oil has led to a significant reduction in costs, when compared with
the historic differentials that existed between these different types of base.
Indeed forward projections might indicate that the availability of animal
derived materials might, at best, remain fairly static but the availability of
alternative vegetable raw materials is set for a significant increase over the
next 10 years driven by the levels of production in the Far East. Palm oil
fatty acid and palm stearin are the principal raw materials thatreplace tallow
and its derivatives in vegetable-based soaps, whilst the minorconstituents
remain the fatty acids of either coconut oil or palm kernel oil. Fatty acids
are tending to replace the neutral oils, and palm oil in particular is quite
dark in colour compared with tallow and is liable to make the final soap
base a creamy yellow colour.
As indicated previously, the selection of good-quality raw materials is
essential for the production of a soap base with good colour and odour.


In the very early days the basic soap would be separated and it might have
been coloured and/or perfumed by adding materials directly to the liquid
soap. After mixing, this liquid soap would have been run into large block
moulds to solidify. Once solid the block would then have been cut by wire
into blocks of soap of the desired size. Some simple decoration might also
have been applied by pressing an engraved block into one face of the
tablet. There is still a market for bar soaps as laundry and scrubbing soaps;
these are produced in a manner similar to the early method. The basic
liquid contains approximately 63% of soap and this mass is coloured and
perfumed as above. The mass is then run onto a large chilling roller and the
35 | P a g e

semi-solid soap is scraped off in the form of ribbons which are passed
directly to an extruder where the soap emerges as a continuous bar. This
bar is cut into blocks by an automatic wire cutter. The blocks are then
passed through a conditioning tunnel to harden the surface prior to
stamping and final packaging. In this form the soap block is still very soft
and is prone to surface damage. The tablets still have a high level of
moisture and will gradually harden as they are stored. It was often the
practice to leave soap bars to dry out for some time after purchase, to
ensure that they lasted longer when they were used

4.9The milling process

The next significant advance in processing was the introduction of milling
prior to extrusion to produce a better-quality, more consistent regular bar.
The base material is checked to ensure that there is no significant excess of
salt and the level of free caustic alkali is reduced to a minimum.
At this time one does have the opportunity to introduce other additives.
Suitable preservatives are added to the liquid soap to guard against
rancidity; individual producers will have their own particular favoured
combination of preservatives. Normally, this will include the capacity to
chelate any trace of free ferrous metal that might be present from the
process, along with a suitable antioxidant to ensure no degradation of the
fatty constituents. The liquid soap would again be run onto a large chilling
roller and converted into semi-solid ribbons which are then passed through
a drier when the moisture content of the base would be reduced to
approximately 13%. The dried ribbons can then be used to produce the
finished bars. A pre-weighed quantity of base will be introduced to a ribbon
36 | P a g e

mixer and other ingredients will be added either in liquid or powder form.
These will consist typically of titanium dioxide, which acts as an opacifier,
perfume and pigments or dyestuffs to achieve the desired end-product. The
soap mass is mixed to ensure that all of the additives are evenly coated
onto the soap ribbons. This is then passed through a roll mill a number of
times or, alternatively, a series of roll mills to produce a homogeneous soap
mass in which the additives are evenly distributed. This mass is then passed
to an extruder where it is compressed into a continuous bar of soap which
can be cut into individual billets prior to stamping and final pack-off. The
process involves no external heat; in fact it is necessary to remove some of
the heat generated by the process by having water cooling both of the
rollermills and the barrel of the extruder. The surface finish of the bar can
be enhanced by applying heat to the extruder head, which in turn heats up
the surface layer of the bar as it passes through the extruder plate. The
continuous evolution of processing techniques has modified and in many
cases replaced some of these steps as modern production methods move to
greater speed and efficiency. A modern soap plant will probably use a
continuous saponification process with in-line washing of the soap to
remove much of the glycerin (a valuable by-product). The liquid soap will
then be passed through an in-line heat-exchanger prior to being sprayed
into a vacuum drier when the soap is deposited on the walls. It is then
scraped off and is passed through an extruder refiner to emerge as a noodle
product ready for the next stage of processing.Mixing and milling will have
been replaced by in-line dosing of perfume, the colouring system and any
other additives and the use of multi-screw extruders/refiners. The final
extrusion is carried out in two or three stages with the use of vacuum
between each stage. The final extruded bar is cut automatically and fed into
high-speed multicavity pressing equipment, linked directly to packaging
machines capable of line speeds in excess of 300 tablets per minute for a

37 | P a g e

regular-sized bar. Whatever combination of processing techniques is used

the finished bar should have a good, consistent texture and be capable of
being moulded into a wide variety of shapes from the simple rectangular
bar to the most highly sculptured novelty soap.


Soap is a very versatile basic material which is capable of accepting a
highlydiverse range of liquid and solid additives. The only real limitations
are placedon additives that might degrade the product chemically, might
cause physicaldamage to the process equipment or might cause harm to
the process worker orend-user. Outside of these limitations the choice is
endless. Even relatively highlevels of additives (up to 20% ) are possible
with the correct choice of base soapalong with specialized processing but
these would probably be restricted tohighly fragranced soaps.As always the
quality of the basic raw material has a significant effect oncolour and
fragrance and it is essential to choose the correct grade of soap forthe










delicatelyfragrancedpastel coloured soap if the base material is creamy

yellow in colourwith a strong odour.As soap is a relatively harsh chemical
(pH 10) the skill of the perfumer isrequired to ensure that the final
formulation will have excellent stabilitythroughout the life of the bar. It is
also essential that the perfumer has access tothe actual base material that
will be used as different soap bases react in slightlydifferent ways. This is
even more noticeable when one compares the performanceof the same
perfume in bases produced from neutral fats with bases producedfrom fatty
acids.Similarly the choice of pigment or dyestuff has to be made with
greatest careto ensure that the finished product has adequate stability.
Although the use ofpigments is probably preferred because of their greatly
38 | P a g e

increased stability, particularlyto light, it is often necessary to make use of

a limited range of approveddyestuffs because of the restrictions forced upon
the producer by particular regulationsin certain countries. Japan is a typical
example.The addition of other fatty/oily materials is often undertaken to
provide asuperfatted product with improved lathering properties and
enhanced skin feel. These products can be introduced either into the liquid
soap prior to drying or atthe mixing/dosing stage. The original choice of
such materials would have beenrestricted to petroleum-based products (oil
and/or jelly), lanolin and fattyacids/oils such as coconut.More recently the
wide availability of other fatty chemicals has presented thesoap formulator
with a bewildering choice of options.
A typical formulation for a regular toilet soap would be:
Soap base
Titanium dioxide 0.2-0.4%
Perfume 0.5-1.0%
In more luxurious formulations the level of perfume could rise to 4.0% and
theywould also incorporate superfatting agents as mentioned above. These
types ofsoap become increasingly difficult to process and invariably require
hand pressingto ensure good finished tablet quality.
Perfume, colour and superfatting systems will represent the


additivesone might expect to find in regular soap tablets but the way in
which the markethas become ever more diverse can be demonstrated by
the availability of soapsthat contain antibacterial materials to enhance
deodorant claims. Soaps withmild abrasives such as pumice, oatmeal,
maize meal, groundnut kernels andeven herbs, dried flowers and dried
39 | P a g e

seaweed, are natural products gaining muchfavour within the marketplace,

as are pure soaps that contain no additives at all.As pointed out at the
beginning of this section soap is a highly versatile materialand it is likely
that many more, as yet untried, additives will find their wayinto soap in the

4.9.2 Problems encountered in soap making

40 | P a g e

Equipment and Plant for Laundry Soapmaking
6.1 Caustic Soda Storage Tanks
This is a tank in which caustic soda solution of the requiredstrength is
prepared and stored for use when needed. The tankmay be rectangular or
cylindrical in shape, but made of astrong and thick material to withstand
attack from causticsoda.

6.2Soap-boiling Tanks/Saponification vessel

These pans may vary in size and material depending on the maximum
volume of soap to be boiled and the process being used, but they are
normally made of mild steel or cast iron or galvanized materials of suitable
gauge. Generally, the pan hasa cylindrical body with a truncated conical
base (to effect easydrainage of the hot soap), and a drainage pipe fitted to
thebottom of the pan.
For saponification vessels, there are coils.The coils are having holes,
steam is injected from these holes. When soap is obtained by full boiled
process layers of soap and spent lye separates out. The spent lye is at the
bottom and soap is at the top. Spent lye is drained from the valve at the
bottom of the vessel. After the lye is drained, soap starts coming out of the
valve. Since the heating of the soap mixture is with the help of steam there
is no chance of soap getting burned. Better quality of soap is obtained with
the help of this vessel.

41 | P a g e

FIG 6.2:A


Soap obtained after Saponification consists very high portion of water.
is removed by drying soap. For quicker drying the soap is made into soap
chips on a soap chipping machine. The chips are dried in open air if the
requirement of soap is less. If the requirement is more the soap is dried in
The soap can also be dried by continuous vacuum spray drying process when
the production requirement is very high


The neat soap from the saponification section is taken into the soap feed
tank after being filtered.
tered. The soap is then sprayed into the spray drier where
desired vacuum is maintained by the vacuum system. As the soap is flashed
into the vacuum chamber from the soap nozzles the moisture is removed.
The soap sticking to the walls of the spray drier is scrapped with the help of
adjustable scrapper. The dried soap falls into the duplex vacuum plodder.
The soap noodles come out of the top noodle plodder. Vacuum is maintained
within the chamber
hamber connecting the plodders.
42 | P a g e


Sigma Mixer is used to mix soap noodles or soap chips with perfume, color
and other additives. Sigma Mixer has two shafts. The shafts have Z shaped
stainless steel blades rotating in two troughs of Sigma Mixer. The blades are
rotating at different speed for maximum efficiency and homogenization.









mechanism or by tilting the mixture. The shaft is mounted on heavy duty

bearings. The mixing machine is lined with thick sheet of stainless steel.
Supporting structure is made from mild steel angles, channels and flats. The
mixture is driven by gearbox.


6.4 Soap Moulding Boxes

These are wooden or metal frames into which the boiled soapis run for
cooling. The boxes are rectangular in shape and thenumber of boxes used by
a soapmaker depends on the volumeof soap normally produced in the unit.
43 | P a g e

The sides of the framescan be made to be taken apart for easy removal of
the driedsoap, or can be permanently nailed. If the latter is used
polythene sheets are used to line the box before the boiledsoap is run into

6.5 Soap Cutting Tables/Machine

After the soap is hardened and taken from the soap mouldingbox, it is in the
form of a solid rectangular block which needs tobe slabbed and further cut
into bars or tablets as required. Thisis done using a cutting table. The
wooden table is fouror six legged, with a cross bar running width-wise across
itscentral line, and boards 9cm high running length-wise along
each side. On one side of the table along the cross bar are two
or three suspension wires kept taut by a butterfly nut on top of
the cross bar. The gap between any two wires is arranged togive the
dimensions of the soap slab when cut. Similar sets ofsuspension wires are
arranged on the other side of the table tocut the slabs into bars or tablets.
The soap block is cut into slabs by manually pushing theblock against the
suspension wires.


44 | P a g e

6.6 Stamping Machines

To give a commercial finish to the cut soap tablet, the soap ismoulded into a
precise shape and an inscription or trademarkof the manufacturer put on
one or both surfaces of the soapusing a stamping machine.

6.7 Plodders
The plodder, also called an extruder, is a compressing machinewhich
compresses and binds the milled soap ribbons into asolid bar suitable for
cutting and stamping. It consists of ahopper set onto a strong metal conicalshaped cannon-liketube which tapers towards the nozzle, and in which a
single ortwin screw is moving and propelling the soap to the conical end.
When the soap is fed into the compressionchamber, it is forced through a
perforated metallic disc, andsubjected to high pressure to be compressed.
The soap finallyemerges through the nozzle to which an attached cutter
ofsuitable shape cuts the extruding polished and neat soap barinto the
required length. The nozzle is equipped with acartridge electric heater
providing temperatures between 50-55C to allow the soap to be easily







thermostatprovided at the top of the heating chamber to avoid the soap

becoming blistered if the nozzle is too hot, or being of poor anddull
appearance if the temperature is low.

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6.8 Other Equipment and Tools

Apart from the plants and equipment described in this Chapter. Certain
useful items are also required in the generalart of soapmaking. These items
include a weighing scale forweighing raw materials; rubber gloves and boots
to preventbodily contact with caustic soda* solutions; enamelled,galvanized
or plastic buckets or containers to hold caustic sodasolution, water and oil; a
plastic sheet for lining the soapmoulding box; and a stirrer if stirring soap is
to be donemanually during the boiling process

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1. Gunstone, F.D. (2005). Vegetable Oils (ed) in Baileys Industrial
Oil and Fat Products. 6th Edition, Vol. 1. Edited by Fereidoon
Shahidi. John Wiley &Sons, Inc. pp. 224-225.
2. Housecroft, C.E. Constable EC (2006). Chemistry: An introduction
to organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. 3rd Edition. Pearson
Education Limited, England. pp. 684, 704.
3. Eke, U.B., Dosumu, O.O, Oladipo, E, and Agunbiade, F.O. (2004),
Analysis of locally produced soap using shear butter oil (SBO)
blended with P.K.O. Nigerian journal of science, vol. 38, 19-24.
4. Jones L, Atkins P (2002). Biochemistry: molecules, matter, and
change.4th Edition. W.H. Freeman and Company New York. pp.
531, 874.
5. Kochhar SL (1998). Economic Botany in the Tropics.2nd ed.
Macmillan India Ltd. McGraw- Hill
6. Encyclopedia of science and technology (2007). vol. 16. 10th
Edition. McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. New Yorkpp. 586-587.
7. Dunn, Kevin M. (2010). Scientific Soapmaking: The Chemistry of
Cold Process. Clavicula press
8. Garzena, Patrizia, and Marina Tadiello (2004). Soap Naturally:
Ingredients, methods and recipes for natural handmade soap.
John Wiley & sons, Inc.

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