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. 


  1. Good morning how are you?
    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.
    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.
    For all this I would ask you one small favour:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Burkina Faso? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Burkina Faso in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:
    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28903 Getafe (Madrid)
    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.
    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez

  2. it is so interesting to see what you're doing in the Peace Corps. I never knew how liquid soap was made, either!