Soap making business is very lucrative and challenging. The industry is highly saturated however there is room for more products. This is because the consumers are more than the products available in the market. Manufacturers hardly meet the demand leaving room for low to medium investors.
How to start soap making business
To start soap making business there are few things to consider. Things to consider are startup funding, factory location, staff, equipment, raw materials, company registration and taxes.
Things to consider
- Business plan
- Feasibility study
- Factory location
- Raw materials
The size of the enterprise or production capacity will determine the amount of funding. Acquire funds through target savings or borrow from family and friends. Secure long term low interest loans from commercial banks in your area. Other find sources are crowdfunding, venture capitalists, partnership.
Soap making is done in a safe secure environment with adequate utilities. Make sure the production area has utilities like electrical power, water, good ventilation and storage facility.
The number of staff depends on the type of machinery and production capacity. Hire machine operators for large scale automated/semi-automated equipment. Others are factory manager, driver, receptionists, and casual labor. However small scale home production is practicable by one person.
Soap making equipment
Things to consider before starting soap production safety, handling of the corrosive materials. Therefore make adequate provision starting the venture then purchase all the chemicals and equipment. Type of equipment needed are gas burner, wooden paddle, blending stick, thermometer and wooden cast. Others include molds, cutting implement, soap making chemicals, protective wear
Some of the equipment you need are
- gas burner, industrial home burner or kerosene stove
- A preparation Tank, it could be a large nonstick stainless steel pot. The blending tank could be fitted with a stirrer
- wooden Paddle
- Wooden blending stick
- Weighing Implement is very important because you need to make precise measurement
- Weighing Scale
- Wide mouth jug to use when pouring the mixture
- Thermometer to measure the temperature of the solutions
- Wooden Cast where the liquid soap would form and harden
- Some Molds
- Cutting implement or very sharp knife
- Leather glove to handle the chemical
- Face mask to avoid breathing in the fumes
From the above list, soap making though easy is serious business. Adequate care is needed even before you mix your chemicals together.
Now you have gathered all the equipment, next you need to buy the chemicals that go into soap production. If you have kids make sure the chemical are properly labeled and kept SAFE.
Where there is no access make sure you buy just enough to use the entire liquid in one preparation so no chemical is left unused.
What exactly is soap, it is a compound we use every day and we have become utterly dependent on the product. The foaming and cleaning agent helps use run are lives with the minimum of ease. We are so used to it that it is hardly noticed.
But if we take stock of how much we spend on our cleanliness yearly we would be surprised. What if you can make the compound at home and save costs by only spending a little on raw materials or packaging?
You keep some for home use and sell to small departmental stores or neighbors. You will reduce the huge amount you spend on toiletries. You also find yourself making some money, who say it cannot turn into a major business.
Soap is a cleaning agent that has a long hydrocarbon tail that dissolves grease made from fat and natural oils with a mix of reacting agent that is soluble in water. I think I have covered the basic description of the compound.
Soap come in various shapes and sizes, cleaning ability and aroma/colors. it becomes easy to handle after it has been cured a process whereby the forming soap is left for close to a month before usage after this period it is safe to use and can last for several years.
Soaps general use includes washing dishes cutlery, clothes, and personal hygiene. Others are to clean dirty surfaces, washing our car.
They are also used in other industrial applications giving the compound a pride of place in our lives.
How do we make soap?
Warning; The chemicals that goes into soap production slightly hazardous. They are highly toxic, dangerous and can cause severe bodily harm if not carefully handled.
It is not advisable to try making soap if you are under 18 years have poor coordination, the chemical reactions are extreme and great care is needed. Now that I have separated the men from the boys we can proceed with soap making.
Some raw materials
The major raw materials needed should be purchased a few days before mixing them into a soap solution. The following chemical are needed
*Palm Kernel Oil PKO
The Palm Kernel oil is edible plant oil derived from the Elaeis gulneenis or commonly known as the Palm tree is native to Africa. The palm kernel oil should not be mistaken for another derivative of the palm tree with is the palm oil which is also edible.
The palm oil is an unhealthy fat based red liquid used for cooking and frying just like ground nut oil. Palm oil is gotten from the fruits while palm kernel oil is gotten from the nut or a seed extract.
Coconut oil is an edible oil extract from the kernel of coconut it is a fatty compound that has been harnessed for industrial usage for health and skin issues as well as a controversial aid in weight loss programs.
The coconut is obtained from the coconut tree which predominantly grows by sea by beach front and close to abundant water like swamps. The coconut oil is a major ingredient in soap production; it gives the soap better quality and lathers. You also need an alkaline solution to make soap.
Soda ash is an anhydrous sodium carbonate; some people put this compound in soap but not always necessary.
*Dyes and Perfumes
Dyes are used to give the soap some coloring while perfume is to add pleasant aroma.
You are required to measure the ingredients precisely if you want to achieve soap production and not a viscous agent.
Coconut Oil 24 Ounces
Olive Oil 24 Ounces both substances are usually the same measurement
Vegetable Shortening 38 Ounces
Essential Oils 4 Ounces
Distilled Water 32 Ounces
The work area is necessary because of the compounds you are dealing with. If you have an aerated barn or outhouse you can fit it with a gas burner and a table where you can produce the soap.
Some people use their kitchen but unless you have done it before and know what to expect. I don’t see it as a prudent idea.
In your work area place the material needed are stainless steel bowl, gloves, safety goggles, scale to weigh compounds. You need a wide mouth kettle to pour concoction, plastic pitcher, wooden paddle to stir 2 thermometers to measure the temperature simultaneously, towels plastic molds and the chemicals.
Your soap molds can be bought from a specialty shop or supper market or online. Prepare the mold by lining with parchment paper then pour the solution into the mold, liquid soap is very dangerous so perform this act with care.
With both gloved arms pick up the mold shake and drop to seal any air pockets that may hide inside the mixture. Cover the mold with cardboard or cover the readymade molds with its lid, cover with thick cloth or towels to allow saponification of the soap, leave the liquid compound for about 36 hours.
The soap begins to solidify by becoming a gel like substance then after about 14 hours becomes solid let’s say the process takes 48 hours. To know if your mixture was proper the top layer should be covered with a light white ash substance but if it has a layer of oily liquid it is dangerous and a waste of your time.
The compound with this film of oil shows that the compound did not bind properly and are still in there raw dangerous state.
What causes bad soap mixture is when the 2 separate mixtures are not mixed when they are at the same temperature or during the mixing process they are under mixed
Curing the soap
Congratulations if you soap has a white flaky substance on its surface that means you have successfully made soap, now you turn the block upside down so the soap falls unto a cutting surface, check you soap carefully so there are no holes or patches where raw chemicals may still reside.
The next step is to cut the soap with a sharp knife or use a binding wire/string. Then place the soap on a clean surface and leave for 3 weeks turn over and leave another 3 weeks.
It takes about 6 weeks for the soap to go through the saponification process and get cured. A perfectly made soap is tough hard and foams well and can be used for house hold chores like washing dishes and dirty surfaces.
If you are making the soap for commercial purposes you can create a package with the components clearly written on the label, the choice of pricing is up to you, if you are using it only for home use find a cardboard box and store your soap.
Soap is an important item in our entire home learning how to make the product would help you in the long run save some money because the amount of soap you produce could last up to 6 months’ worth of supply.
When embarking on this venture remember care and common sense is important because you are handling a volatile liquid. Soap works well with either hot or cold and is ideal for washing plates, pots and pans giving the humble compound a very important role in our everyday lives.
Company registration and taxes
Register the business as a sole proprietorship or limited liability company. Register taxes, join relevant unions or associations and pay local government levies. Make sure the product is safe and certified by the national food and drug regulatory body.
The business is easily scalable, highly competitive and rewarding. Sell the products to supermarkets, local stores, online, retailers and wholesalers. To succeed make sure the product is high quality, registered and standardized. Include an attractive packaging, date of production, NAFDAC number, and content.
From the Author
The Information provided is just a guide and should not be regarded as an expert opinion. The author will not be liable for any accidents while using any corrosive substance in the preparation of the soap.