What is Soap?

To go even deeper let’s look at what soap actually is. The Dictionary explains what soap is as a substance used with water for washing and cleaning, made of a compound of natural oils or fats with sodium hydroxide or another strong alkali, and typically having perfume and coloring added.

Today there are very little true soap on the market. Most body cleansers, both liquid and solid, are actually synthetic detergent products. Detergent cleansers are popular because they make suds easily in water and don’t form gummy deposits. Some of these detergent products are actually marketed as “soap” but are not true soap according to the regulatory definition of the word.”

“To meet the definition of soap in FDA’s regulations, a product has to meet three conditions:

  1. What it is made of: To be regulated as “soap,” the product must be composed mainly of the “alkali salts of fatty acids,” that is, the material you get when you combine fats or oils with an alkali, such as lye.

  2. What ingredients cause it is cleaning action: To be regulated as “soap,” those “alkali salts of fatty acids” must be the only material that results in the product’s cleaning action. If the product contains synthetic detergents, it is a cosmetic, not a soap. You still can use the word “soap” on the label.

  3. How it’s intended to be used: To be regulated as soap, it must be labelled and marketed only for use as soap. If it is intended for purposes such as moisturizing the skin, making the user smell nice, or deodorizing the user’s body, it is a cosmetic. Or, if the product is intended to treat or prevent disease, such as by killing germs, or treating skin conditions, such as acne or eczema, it is a drug.



Natural soap is one made of oils, fats and butters that have been mixed with lye. A completely natural soap should also be coloured naturally as well, to adhere to the definition of a natural soap. Soap is made through the process of saponification. This is where lye (a mix of either Sodium Hydroxide or Potassium Hydroxide and water) is mixed with oils, fats and butters to turn the oils into salts. It is a chemical reaction where the triglycerides of the fats and oils react with the lye.

Commercial soaps are mass produced by large multinational companies, with factories all over the globe. This mass-production can result in environmental waste and degradation as well as poor living conditions for thousands of people worldwide.


With all the glossy advertising that companies produce trying to convince people to buy their soaps, it can be hard for people see the benefits of handmade soap, but the differences between handmade soap and commercial soap are vast.

First off, commercial soap is not even real soap when compared to the way soap has always been made. Commercial soap is actually made up of detergents, fragrance oils and chemical hardeners and all its moisturizing glycerin is usually stripped out for use in more expensive products. This is why many people now see soap as harsh and drying when, in reality, it should do the opposite.

Handmade soap has fewer ingredients that are often higher quality and purer and the glycerin produced in the saponification process is always left in, making these soaps a soothing salve for tender skin.

The fragrance oils used by commercial soap manufacturers to produce strange, unnatural scents like ‘Fresh Meadow’ and ‘Floral Bounty’ can contain many harsh chemicals and carcinogens. This is a jarring difference from the naturally sourced essential oils used by most soap makers. These oils are pure and high-grade and offer many benefits beyond just smelling good. Handmade soap is ultimately a much better option for your skin. Any skin type can benefit from its use, but people who suffer from skin conditions like rosacea, sensitivity, folliculitis and psoriasis can see amazing results from using handmade soaps that have been carefully made with natural ingredients to produce certain results. Commercial soaps, on the other hand, are all fabricated to do one thing, which is produce a high lather that strips moisture from the skin, and have a heavy scent made from chemicals.


There are many benefits to using commercial-grade cleaning products in your business. Firstly, they can help to eliminate the dirt and debris that may pose a safety hazard. Products like foaming soaps, and other cleaners, can also help to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.

When you present a clean building to customers, you can improve their experience and the chance that they’ll return to do business again. In a tidy workplace, your staff is also likely to thrive and be more productive.

Commercial soaps are just one item in your supply of facility products that can help bring the above benefits and more below:

  1. Save on Your Purchase of Commercial Soaps

If you choose to purchase facility products such as gritty foam soap in bulk, you will reap cost savings. In addition, commercial supplies tend to cost less per unit when compared to home products. This means you’ ll be able to get more products for a lesser spend.

  1. Benefit from Commercial Products

Commercial products are made for business environments. Heavy-duty hand soaps, for example, can help to remove dirt and bacteria that are potentially harmful from the hands of customers, guests, and employees. In busy and high-traffic facilities, this can contribute to limiting the spread of germs and reducing the risk of illness.

  1. Encourage Hand Washing in the Workplace

When antibacterial soaps are readily available, you can help ensure your sinks are ready for hand washing. Encourage hand hygiene in your workplace by ensuring soap products are fully stocked in your restrooms, kitchens, and other sink areas.

  1. Order Heavy-Duty Hand Soaps on a Worry-Free Schedule

Tasks such as ordering antibacterial soaps and cleaning supplies can be left with a facility management company. They can arrange scheduled deliveries to ensure that you always have products on hand. This will result in one less task for you to handle.

  1. Focus on Your Business Operations

Ensuring smooth business operations should be your main focus. When you work with a provider of facility products, both you and your team can focus on core operations. You can rest easy knowing that you will be stocked on supplies that support having a clean, tidy workplace.


  • Parabens: otherwise known as chemical preservatives, these harmful ingredients are found in majority of commercial soap and beauty products.

  • Phthalates: known to cause cancer, this additive is often used as a ‘plasticizer’- a fancy word for an ingredient used to produce plastic.

  • Petrochemicals: made from petroleum, these chemicals should be considered unsafe for humans because little is known about the longterm effects they have on our health

  • Synthetic Perfume: artificial perfume scents, although they smell nice, are linked to allergies and hormonal issues. As well, synthetic ingredients such as perfume are likely to cause skin conditions and to aggravate existing issues such as acne.

  • Artificial Colouring: commercial soaps are packed with artificial dyes that have been known to cause health problems and illnesses in humans.


  1. Real Soap Instead of "Fake Soap"

Many products that are advertised or displayed using terms like ‘cleanser,’ ‘body bar,’ ‘body wash,’ ‘beauty bar,’ ‘skincare bar,’ and even ‘deodorant soap’ are actually detergent based products, and not really soaps at all.

  1. Natural Soap is Highly Moisturising

One of the benefits of using real soap is that one of the by-products of the production process is glycerine. Glycerine is an excellent skin moisturiser because it attracts moisture to itself in and around the skin. Traditionally made soaps contain glycerine, and so they hydrate the skin during bathing, whereas many commercially manufactured soaps can dry skin out. Why? Because store-bought, commercial soaps usually undergo a process designed specifically to remove the glycerine.

  1. Better Ingredients Used

When a company manufactures hundreds of thousands, or even millions of bars of soap at a time, part of the profit margin is gained from mass production, and part is gained from using the cheapest products available – and these are often synthetic substitutes for the real thing. Many believe that these synthetic products can sometimes be damaging to the endocrine, reproductive, respiratory and immune systems – not to mention the potential damage they do by drying out your skin. Commercial soaps are known to regularly contain Parabens, Sulphates, and Triclosan, which are thought to trigger allergies, to influence hormone levels, and possibly increase risk of some cancers. Natural soaps, however, usually use natural ingredients like olive and coconut oils, shea butter, and grass-fed tallow. These are believed to be very healthy and nourishing for the skin.

  1. Cruelty-Free and Animal-Friendly

Another great benefit of natural, organic soaps is that you can rest assured they are not hurting any animals in the testing or production phases. Ingredients are almost always exclusively plant-based (some soaps use animal fat as an ingredient, thought this is rare), are organic, and do not require large-scale factories and other facilities that cause widespread environmental damage.

  1. Wider Choice

As mentioned above, organic soaps are normally made in small batches by a local producer. Small batches not only mean easier control, but also a wider variety of products. Each batch is easily changed to a new scent or style without having to retool large factory equipment. These soaps are therefore easily customisable too. Colour, shape, size, grainy or smooth texture, scent, batch size, and other features are frequently changed to provide maximum choice for the consumer. You can even buy organic soaps in coffee, cinnamon, peppermint, or fruit scents!

  1. Unique, Handmade Product

Mass-produced commercial soaps are made for efficiency of production, which means many, many, units of the exact same size and composition. Focus is on profit, often at the expense of the health of the consumers who pay for them. Organic bars are different in that they do vary slightly from bar to bar, just as natural ingredients vary slightly depending on a given year’s weather and other conditions. Where they do not vary, however, is in the lack of harmful ingredients and the abundance of healthy ones that are in each bar

  1. Better for the Environment

Organic soaps do not produce harmful environmental poisons or toxins. The soap breaks down more easily after use and does not harm the water cycle or the wildlife that shares the water in our rivers, lakes, and the oceans. This eco-friendliness would be a strong argument for using organic soaps, even if all else was equal. Add to it the great quality and efficacy of the soaps, and the pleasure you get from a more unique product, and they are a clear winner.

  1. Rich in Antioxidants

Since the ingredients used in organic soaps include many that are natural antioxidants, and since the process doesn’t extract these substances for other purposes, organic soaps can actually help to repair the skin by reducing inflammation, keeping skin hydrated, and therefore helping the user to have young-looking, healthier skin. The gentler pH levels of organic soaps (usually between 9 and 10) help care for your skin in the long term, as well as keeping you looking and feeling clean and fresh now.

  1. They Don't Use Preservatives

Organic products do have a shorter shelf life, but that is for good reason. The preservatives used in non-organic products tend to be toxic to humans or the environment. It sometimes comes down to a choice: do you want the product to be able to sit, unused, on a shelf for a long time, or do you want it to be healthier for the user? The answer is clear.


It’s hard to think of a disadvantage associated with organic soap after reading all the benefits it can bring. However, organic soap does have disadvantages in certain circumstances.

Some people may have issues with organic soaps due to the presence of essential oils they are allergic to. This can cause different reactions that may vary based on the person.

The most obvious outcome is contact dermatitis when it comes to soaps. Some of the symptoms of this condition include dry or scaly skin and a burning sensation. Sometimes, symptoms may appear after a few hours or even days.

Most people experience a bad reaction to an essential oil when it isn’t appropriately diluted. If you’re experiencing a harmful effect on your skin after trying an organic soap, discontinue its use and wait a few days before trying a different option.

Peppermint, lemongrass, tea tree, and lavender are amongst the most common essential oils known to cause allergies. The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to make sure that the essential oil has been correctly diluted.


When it comes to producing high quality soap there is one important rule is to use only quality ingredients. Even with natural soaps, sometimes the ingredients are not as good quality as they could be. We encourage you to take a look at the label of whatever soap you are using now, or on the soap you see for sale in the local store. Pay particular attention to the ingredients and take some time to do a little bit of research! Keep in mind that your skin is highly absorbent and whatever you put on it is going to be absorbed by it. Once you take a closer look at those ingredients you might think twice before using them on your skin! Even if you are already buying natural soap, you still need to look at the ingredients to gauge the quality of what is being used. Where to get it?

Natural soaps are handmade in small batches. Most soapers use the traditional cold process method of making soap. Each recipe is hand prepared, hand cut, inspected and packaged individually. You can get handmade natural soap in Kuching from these shop;

  1. The Bare Soap (Facebook: The Bare Soap)

  2. Zao Handmade Soap

  3. Borneo Soap

  4. Kuching Mamas Handmade Soap Education And Retail

While, the commercial soap are available at any cosmetic stores, watson, guardian and any retail stores.


  • Carpenter, William Lant; Leask, Henry (1895). A treatise on the manufacture of soap and candles, lubricants and glycerin. Free ebook at Google Books.

  • Donkor, Peter (1986). Small-Scale Soapmaking: A Handbook. Ebook online at SlideShare. ISBN 0-946688-37-0.

  • Dunn, Kevin M. (2010). Scientific Soapmaking: The Chemistry of Cold Process.

  • Clavicula Press. ISBN 978-1-935652-09-0.

  • Garzena, Patrizia, and Marina Tadiello (2004). Soap Naturally: Ingredients, Methods and recipes for natural handmade soap. Online information and Table of Contents. ISBN 978-0-9756764-0-0/

  • Garzena, Patrizia, and Marina Tadiello (2013). The Natural Soapmaking

  • Handbook. Online information and Table of Contents. ISBN 978-0-9874995-0-9/

  • Mohr, Merilyn (1979). The Art of Soap Making. A Harrowsmith Contemporary

  • Primer. Firefly Books. ISBN 978-0-920656-03-7.

  • Why should you care about the soap you choose? Retrieved from