Palm oil soap production

Income generationMicro Enterprise

I read issue 26 and was very interested in the subject of self-financing projects. In my work as a community health nurse I visit many homes. One successful example of a self-financing project I have observed is soap-making. Here is the method they use:

  • Soap-making uses dangerous chemicals. First keep children away and protect your hands with rubber gloves or plastic bags.
  • Weigh 1.5kg of caustic soda.
  • Measure 4 litres of cold water and pour into a large plastic or wooden bowl.
  • Pour the soda into the water very carefully and allow it to dissolve and cool. (Be very careful. This mixture can burn the skin – wash off immediately. Avoid breathing the fumes.)
  • Pour 16 litres of palm oil into a pan (22 measures using a standard 720ml bottle) and heat until the oil changes colour from red to yellow or white and then allow to cool.
  • Pour the oil very carefully into the caustic soda solution, always stirring in the same direction to avoid splashes, until a thick blue paste forms.
  • Pour the paste into a wooden frame (100cm x 65cm x 3cm in height) lined with cloth on a level surface.
  • Level off the soap and allow it to harden before cutting into bars (wire is useful).
  • Allow to harden for seven days before handling and using.

Nzangya Hussa, Infirmier C S – Boneleko, Communauté Baptiste du Zaire Nord, BP 63, Bangassou, Central African Republic.