Soapmaking: a guide

Soaptec has prepared a guide to industrial soapmaking

Industrial soap making techniques have undergone incredible transformations over the last 50 years that have made the process much faster and more reliable than it used to be. The huge increase in demand for solid, liquid and powder detergents for household cleaning and personal care has meant that specialised companies have invested heavily in development and research. 

It is thanks to this great commitment that it is now possible to find plants using state-of-the-art machinery capable of producing ever greater quantities of soap in ever shorter times and of ever better quality. After all, that is the true meaning of the word innovation.

But how is soap made? We all use this product daily, both for personal use and to clean our clothes and domestic spaces, yet how many of us know the process that leads to its production? To enable everyone to find out what soapmaking is all about, the team at Soaptec – one of the world’s leading companies specialising in the design and manufacture of soap making machinery has prepared a short and simple guide suitable even for those with no experience in this field

What industrial soapmaking really is

The production of soap in soap factories is a multi-step process. In particular, we are talking about three main steps: saponification, drying and finishing. As you can well imagine, each phase is characterised by particular processes and chemical transformations that require specific machinery. 

Before delving into the description of these three steps, however, we would like to emphasise that all the information contained herein refers to the industrial manufacture of soap, quite different from the traditional soap manufacture that is still used by household soap makers and small businesses. 

Step 1: Saponification

Soap usually consists of a salt and a long chain acid that are combined in a process known as saponification. The final goal of this first stage of soap making is to transform the raw materials that have been decided upon into neat soap, an intermediate substance obtained by raising the temperature in special machinery. 

The equipment used for saponification includes crutches, reactor columns, saponification reactors and washing columns, all designed and manufactured by Soaptec. There are different types of saponification and our company makes machines suitable for each of them.

Step 2: drying

In this second step the temperature of the substance called neat soap is lowered and much of what water it contains is evaporated. The drying phase is, to be precise, the last of the actual soap making process, although the product obtained at the end of it is not yet ready to be put on the market. 

Here too, several machines are used, including heat exchangers, fine separators and a cylinder cooler. Depending on the type of soap to be produced, it will be necessary to use different equipment

Step 3: Finishing

During this third and final step in the manufacture of soap, additives such as colouring agents and fragrances are incorporated into the substance obtained after drying, and it is then given the shape that is most desired. In short, it is in the finishing stage that the soap becomes what we find on our supermarket shelves. 

Some of the machines from Soaptec that are used for soap finishing are mixers, refiners and laminators. 

Interested in finding out even more detail about how soap is made? Then contact our team by clicking here