Soap vs. Detergent

When you decide to purchase soap to use you need to be very careful to make sure that what you are buying is actually soap and NOT detergent. I have been asked many times why I make such a big deal about the fact that I sell soap, real soap – after all you can buy it at the drug store.

It is possible to buy soap at the drug store, or even at some of those specialty stores at the mall, but more often then not what you actually end up buying is a detergent bar and not a bar of soap.

So what’s the difference, you may ask. Aren’t they all the same? Not at all. Detergent bars have more in common with dishwashing detergent then they do soap. Soap is defined as the natural process of mixing fats with an alkali solution and the resulting product is soap. Detergents are made with surfactants and other ingredients that are not found in soap. Next time you are at the drug store pick up a bar of what you think is soap take a look at the package. Does it actually say the word soap, or does it say beauty bar, deodorant bar, or cleansing bar? None of those are actually soap. They contain detergents and are there for not allowed to be called soap. Do you really want all those harsh chemicals on your skin? Then they have to add extra chemicals to soften your skin. So then you have more chemicals on your skin then when you started.

Soap contains natural skin softening agents as a result of the soap making process. Glycerin is made when they alkali solution is mixed with the oils, and glycerin has long been known as a skin softening and moisturizing compound. The other way soap makers make their soaps so that they soften and moisturize the skin is by adding extra oil to the raw soap (just after the alkali solution and fats are mixed and before it is poured into a mold) which does not turn into soap but remains to add moisture to the skin. You can also create a bar that is more gentle to the skin by the specific oils that you use.

I make bar soaps, not detergents. I feel that there is a big difference between the two and I hope you understand more about them too.


Feel free to post questions in the comment area under this topic and I will do my best to answer them.


4 Responses to “Soap vs. Detergent”

  1. Rouble Says:

    A detergent is a material intended to assist cleaning. The term is sometimes used to differentiate between soap and other surfactants used for cleaning. As an adjective pertaining to a substance, it means cleaning or having cleaning properties detergency indicates presence or degree of cleaning property. Soap is an anionic surfactant used in conjunction with water for washing and cleaning that historically comes in solid bars but also in the form of a thick liquid. Soap, consisting of sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids is obtained by reacting fat with lye in a process known as specifications. The fats are hydrolyzed by the base, yielding alkali salts of fatty acids and glycerol.

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  2. bodybym Says:

    Comments above obtained and copied directly from Wikipedia.

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