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How To Start Soap And Detergent Production Business

How To Start Soap And Detergent Production Business

Soaps and detergents are two of the fastest selling products in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) category. Just take a moment to imagine a day in your life without soap. It‘s simply unimaginable. The size, fragrance, color and cost may be different, but everybody (rich and poor) uses some kind of soap every single day.


Whether liquid or solid, every soap‘s job is the same; to wash us clean and rid our body of germs. If everybody (except the extreme poor) uses soap every day, imagine the demand and consumption of soap on a continent with over 900 million people, and still growing at a staggering rate every year? Yes, Africa (besides Asia) is the world‘s largest consumer of soap.


Like soaps, detergents are also equally important and highly in demand due to their everyday use in laundry, house cleaning and dish washing. Whether in powder or liquid forms, various types of detergents are used in homes, hotels, campuses and restaurants across Africa. In many parts of the continent, soaps are sometimes favored over detergents for washing clothes and house cleaning.

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International conglomerates like Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Colgate and several others have turned to emerging markets like Africa to increase sales of their soap and detergent brands. There are also a sizeable number of locally grown soap and detergent brands that are doing well on the continent. Africa‘s rapid urbanization, strong emerging middle class and large, fast-growing population contribute to the growing demand for soaps and detergents on the continent.

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Business Concept


Again, the production of soap is something you can begin in your house or backyard to get you started – and you can do this on a shoestring budget. As so often, the idea is to be prepared to start small yet dream and aim big. Important, however, is the packaging and branding of your soap in accordance with the very market you want to attract.


Niche Ideas

Build an African brand of baby care products, which is a true rarity.

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Produce small-sized and nicely packaged soaps for hotels and the hospitality industry at large, but you need to sell very cheap and in bulk to make this work.


Top Countries & Policy Guidance


Soap would sell anywhere in Africa, but you may find well-known brands in some countries where it may be harder to compete.


Action & Tips


We think the best way to get you inspired is to watch soap making clips on YouTube, so you can see how amazingly simple it is.

Be clear which market you are targeting, the mass market of low income families, or the luxury market and hospitality industries – your soap production will heavily depend on this decision.


Success Story

Domitila Silayo – Jatropha Soap (Tanzania)

Domitila Silayo is the founder of Jatropha Soap in Tanzania, which produces handmade soap with medicinal benefits. She had the idea for her company when she visited an agricultural exhibition in 2012 where she was introduced to the use of the Jatropha plant – available in Tanzania – and its medical properties.

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Jatropha Soap is still at its early stages, now producing 1,000 pieces of soap a month. Domitila was one of the winners of the 2013 Anzisha Price for young entrepreneurs and she is using the money to diversify her product line.

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