You will agree with me that the number of soaps available in the market has no number. This is to tell us that there are many types of soap available in the market, each with a different purpose. Soaps can be used for personal hygiene, dish-washing, laundry, pet cleaning, etc. There are hard soaps and soft soaps, and there are also those that fall in between. The hardness of soaps can be attributed to the amount of hardening agents in its recipe, and the main categorization of soaps is according to its usage.
Soap can be made from fats and oils, sodium hydroxide, and water. Soap making can be as simple as dissolving sodium hydroxide in water, melting fats together, adding the sodium hydroxide solution (lye) to the melted fats, and stirring. It can also get complicated, but not necessary.
Today, I do like to quickly run over the type of soaps that we have. The different types of soaps include:
- Kitchen Soaps
As the name suggests, these soaps are intended for use in the kitchen. They can be further categorized into two types:
Cleansers: The main purpose of cleansers is to get rid of solid particles, heavy oil, and hard-to-remove stains. They are usually filled with mild abrasives.
Dish detergents: These are made to wash off grease thoroughly and to capture solid particles in its foam. Hand dishwashing detergents tend to produce more foam than machine dishwashing detergents, which allows it to get rid of greasy substances much better.
- Laundry Soaps
Laundry soaps are made to get rid of solid particles, grease, stains, and other dirt and compounds from clothes. They are formulated to work in almost any condition and water temperature, but they are most effective when used with warm water. Laundry soaps come in powder, liquid, or gel forms.
- Industrial Soaps
Industrial soaps are formulated especially for car wash and auto centers as well as for production line clean-ups. Since they are made for big tasks, these soaps generally come in large gallon drums that are linked to specialized pressure cleaning systems.
- Personal Soaps
Personal soaps are made for personal hygiene purposes. There are many kinds of forms and formulations depending on your specific needs. For example, if you wish to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses, you can go for antibacterial soaps. There are also hair and body soaps that can be used for both the hair and the skin.
- Perfumed Soaps
These are just normal personal soaps with added perfume. Some manufacturers would even provide a different design for these soaps to make their product line more varied. However, the perfume in soaps can actually be a source of skin irritation for people who have allergies.
- Novelty Soaps
The target market of novelty soaps is the children. These soaps usually come in the form of various kiddie items such as a rubber ducky or soap-on-the-rope. While novelty soaps are really cute and amusing to look at, it can still clean the body as effectively as personal soaps can.
- Medicated Soaps
Medicated soaps are not very different from personal soaps, but these also have disinfectants and antiseptics.
- Guest Soaps
Guest soaps are typically small soaps with various forms and shapes. They are usually small and round, and sometimes they have flowers or sea shells for designs. These are the soaps that you usually see in hotel rooms and guest bathrooms.
Soap making has indeed come a long way, and from the ancient times people with different cleaning needs have led to the production of soaps that have specific purposes.