Friday, February 3, 2012

How does one make liquid soap?!

I can honestly say that I have never thought about how liquid soap is made. I simply go to the store, buy, use it, then repeat the cycle.

WELL, upon moving to Burkina Faso, that definitely changed!

Soap making is a great way to increase the income of women in the developing world. True, in some areas, the soap market has been flooded, so one may not be able to demand as high of a price, but it seems to me that the women are still happy.

I recently started working with a mothers group at my neighborhood primary school. They, like most people, are interested in increasing their income. I personally enjoy and prefer income-generating activities (IGAs) because you it is easier to track your progress and see results from all your labor.

I doubt I have peaked your curiosity about soap-making, but you're going to have to read my step-by-step (that probably left a few common-sense related steps out) guide and look at my pictures nonetheless. I LOVE my MOMS! They are incredible, and even if I don't understand a fraction of what they are saying (because it is in Moore), I still look forward to phone calls asking about soap-making...

Here we go....

1) Gather your materials... You'll need a bucket that can hold at least 15 liters, one kilo of tansigex (no one really knows how to spell this, but its the chemical we use that starts the soap-making process), a cup to take water out with, two buckets that can hold at least 7.5 liters of water, a kilo of rock salt, and a big wooden spoon! (Note: everything should be plastic or wood... DO NOT use anything metal!) 

2) Dissolve one kilo of salt into 7.5 liters of 

3) Whip the tansigex  until it looks like marshmallow fluff. This usually takes about ten minutes if you are working with one kilo- fifteen seems to be sufficient for up to three kilos of tansigex.

4) Starting with the salt water, add in water one liter at a time (alternating salt water, regular water) until all water is used. While you are mixing it is VERY important to add the water in in small quantities, and stir until the contents of the bucket are homogeneous (the same). Totally learned the hard way that this is necessary.

5) After all water is mixed you, cover your bucket, and let sit over night. 

6) [When you come back the next day] Uncover bucket, and add perfume(specific to soap-making, not the type you wear) and coloring. 
7) Bottle, and then you are ready to sell, Sell, SELL!

So there you have it... This is how to make liquid soap!

Until the next time, 

Happy blogging, 

Ebben Wiley

Oh, and sorry about some of the action shots... taking candid photos here is an art that I have yet to perfect.