In the market it is possible to find different forms of solid soap; the
wide differences are the Soap Noodles and the different type of Soap Bars
They are small cylinders of soap with a variable diameter from 8 to 10
mm and a length of about 20 mm or little bit more. The biggest soap noodles
industries are located in Malaysia and Indonesia, thanks to the big palm oil
plantations cultivated in the Countries. Other big soap noodles industries are
located in South American Countries, where the raw material is animal fat,
however in the last decade also in these countries the soap factories started
to use vegetable soap noodles.
Soap Noodles are mainly produced using full boiled saponification plant
in case of oils and fats or neutralization plant if the raw materials are the
fatty acids. In the last few years it is easy to find on the market SWING soap
noodles that are cheaper then semi boiled soap noodles.
Toilet soap noodles are extra-white or off-white and have a TFM of 78%,
while laundry soap noodles have a TFM of 72%.
In developing countries low quality soap noodles are used to produce all
types of soaps. The colour of these noodles is yellowish up to brown (depending
from the raw materials) and the TFM can decrease up to 50%. Some soap
industries sell filled soap noodles that are used for laundry soap
manufacturing since these noodles already includes fillers.
The actual tendency is to produce stamped and bandless (without side
band) soap bars, with attractive shapes and colours. In Turkey and other
countries the last trend is the production of toilet soap bars with stripes of
2 colors, while the production of marbled or striated soap is decreasing in
general. Toilet soap bars are usually wrapped and have a weight range of 75 -
150 grams. A small but attractive market niche is the production of big oval
toilet soap with a weight of 250 - 350 grams; it is easy to find these soaps in
USA and some European countries.
There are a lot of small soap bars on the market, with a weight range of
10 - 50 grams. These soap bars are called Hotel or Guest soaps. They have two
mainly shapes: rectangular or round. The hotel soap bars are always packed;
soap wrapper and soap flow pack are used for rectangular hotel soap bars, while
pleat wrappers, stretch wrappers and also flow pack are used for round soap
Laundry soap bars are produced in different ways and with an infinite variety of shapes.
The oldest type of laundry soap bar has a
cubic soap, stamped on 6 faces, with a weight of 300 - 400 grams. This type of
laundry soap bar was produced in France and was called Marseille Soap. The
production process of pure Marseille soap is the full boiled saponification plant
and the raw materials used in the past was animal fats and oils. Today the
cubic soap bars are still produced in France, but it is not a mass soap, but a
niche where high quality and expensive raw materials are used, like olive oil
and special perfumes.
In French-speaking African countries, like
Cameroun and Ivory Coast, big saponification plants are used to produce semi
boiled laundry soap bars with a cubic shape and brown color due to the crude
palm oil that is saponified without bleaching.
Actually the more diffused laundry soap
bars in developing countries, are semi boiled filled soap bars, where fillers
are used to reduce the costs (oils saving). In some African countries is
possible to find long filled soap bars with a weight of 1 Kg and a length of 30
cm. In some countries of central and south America, the laundry soap bars are
produced using detergent powders, so they are not natural but synthetic soap.
In developed countries the laundry soap
bars manufacturing is decreasing, due to the liquid and powders synthetic soap
used in the washing machines.
Laundry soap bars can be stamped by means a
soap stamping machine; usually the cheaper laundry soap bars are just cut
and printed by means a soap cutter with two engraving rolls.
During the last years in developing countries it is easy to find soap
bars called multipurpose soaps. They are low quality soap bars that are used
for all purpose: toilet and laundry soap bars. Usually these soap bars are not
stamped, bust just cut and printed, to save cost in manufacturing process.