What Is The Cost Of Starting A Soap-Making Business In Kenya?

The cost of starting a soap-making business in Kenya is Sh.15,000 – Sh.750,000 on average. The cost of soap-making manually is Sh.15,000-Sh.50,000 on average.

The cost of soap-making commercially is Sh.300,000-Sh.750,000 on average. Commercial soap-making is more expensive due to the use of soap-making machines. The cost might be high but the output of soap is high as well.

The cost of making soap manually is low because minimum equipment is required. This, however, affects the output. Starting a soap-making business may be less profitable if the production is done manually. The cost of soap-making equipment affects the final costs significantly as we will show you below.

The Cost Of Equipment Used In Soap-Making


1. Soap-making machines

The cost of soap-making machines is Sh.100,000-Sh.250,000 on average. A soap-making machine produces a large number of soap in a short time. It is faster and more efficient compared to making soap manually.

How soap-making machines work

I) Mixer machine

The mixer machine is where you add all the ingredients. Here, the machine mixes all the different ingredients into one.

II) Saponification machine

This is the compartment that hardens the soap. The ingredient mixture is transformed from liquid to solid at this point. The soap is compressed, homogenized, and left to process. Saponification takes 24-72 hours to complete depending on the quality of your saponification machine. After this, the shapeless soap is sent to the soap plodder.

III) Soap plodder

A soap plodder is used to shape the soap to its final outlook. The soap is shapeless before being fed into the plodder. The soap that comes out of the vacuum plodder is in long bars. The long bars are then sent to the cutting machine.

IV) Cutting machine

The cutting machine divides the soap into pieces by dicing the block soap. You can set the machine to your preferred size. After the long bar soap is cut into small pieces, it becomes ready for packaging and fit for the market.

2. Mold

The cost of a soap mold is Sh.600-Sh.5,000 on average. This is a segmented block designed to hold the final mixture of lye solution and oil. The mixture is added to a mold and left for 24 hours to saponify. The mold you choose to buy should be able to hold the amount of soap you want to make.

3. Thermometer

The cost of a thermometer is Sh.500-Sh.5,000. Thermometers are used to measure the temperature of the heated oil used in soap-making. When the oil is heated, it should be added to the lye solution once its temperature is at 14°C. The temperature is used for certainty.

4. Saucepan

The cost of a saucepan is Sh.500-Sh.1,500. When making soap manually, your oil will be heated using a saucepan. The amount of soap you want to make will determine the size of the saucepan you purchase.

5. Containers and spatulas

The cost of a container is Sh.300-Sh.3,000 on average. The cost of a spatula is Sh.100-Sh.1,000 on average. When making soap manually, you need at least two containers to do your mixtures. A spatula is used to stir the mixture to the required viscosity.

6. Protective gear (Face mask and overalls)

The cost of overalls is Sh.750-Sh.2,000 on average. The cost of a face mask is Sh.10-Sh.100 per mask on average. Protective gear is important when handling caustic soda (sodium hydroxide), an ingredient used to make soap. It is highly reactive and could cause skin burns and respiratory problems.

The Cost Of Ingredients Used In Soap Making

Soap Making IngridientSoap Making Ingredient
Soap-making oilsSh.500-Sh.1,000
WaterSh.1,000-Sh.1500 per 20 liters
Caustic sodaSh.250 per Kg
PerfumeSh.1500-Sh.4000 per Kg
The Cost Of Ingredients Used In Soap Making

a) Soap-making oils

The cost of oils used in a soap-making business is Sh.500-Sh.1,000 per liter on average. The following are some of the soap-making oil.

  • Olive oil.
  • Castor oil.
  • Almond oil.
  • Coconut oil.
  • Palm kernel oil.
  • Avacado oil.

b) Water

The cost of distilled water is Sh.1,000-Sh.1500 per 20 liters on average. Water is a useful ingredient in soap-making. It increases the dissolution process of ready soap when it gets in contact with water. This is the reason for the slippery nature of soap and soap products. The water used in soap-making should be clean water. This makes the chemical reaction used to make soap accurate. Impurities affect chemical reactions.

c) Caustic soda

The cost of caustic soda is Sh.250 per Kg. Caustic soda is a chemical compound important in soap-making. It is also known as sodium hydroxide. When water is added to sodium hydroxide, it causes a reaction that forms a lye solution. When oil or fats are added to the solution, soap is formed.

d) Perfume

The cost of raw perfume is Sh.1500-Sh.4000 per Kg on average. Perfume is added as an ingredient to make it more pleasant to the market. Different brands use different perfume scents which suit their target market better. Rose perfume will be welcomed by women, for example. There are still soaps that do not need perfume. Laundry bar soaps are mostly scentless with a few exceptions.

Factors That Affect The Cost Of A Soap-Making Business


1. Licensing

The cost of a single soap-making business permit is Sh.15,000 annually in urban centers. The cost of a single business permit for soap-making in rural areas is Sh.10,000 annually. It is important to license your soap-making business to avoid being fined a larger amount for evasion of taxes.

2. Equipment and material

The cost of equipment in a small soap-making business is lower compared to a large-scale production soap-making business. Small soap-making businesses make soap manually using basic equipment like spatulas, thermometers, containers, and molds. All of this equipment including packaging cost Sh.3,000-Sh.5,000 on average. A large business, on the other hand, invests in soap-making machines that cost Sh.100,000-Sh.250,000 on average.

3. Packaging

The cost of packaging soap will vary depending on the material of packaging you use. In most cases, transparent plastic papers are used for this purpose. This is the most economical option. Developed soap-making businesses use uncoated that has a thin layer of plastic paper as their outer cover. This type of packaging is stylish and easy to brand. The brand will go on top of your package. A catchy brand will draw in customers regardless of the packaging material.

4. Transportation costs

The cost of transporting soap to the target market depends on the scale of your soap-making business. If you make soap on a large scale, you will incur relatively high transportation costs due to the large number of soap. A small soap-making business could choose to sell locally. The cost of transportation, in this case, will be close to zero.

5. Branding and marketing

The marketing cost of a soap-making business bluntly depends on how many people you want to reach. When selling your soap product locally, the marketing cost will be relatively lower compared to a whole county or the country. When selling your soap to the county or country, you have to pay for more expensive advertisements. These include youtube ads, and TV ads among others.

The Cheapest Way To Make Soap In Kenya (Step-By-Step Guide)

1. Avail ingredients and equipment

The ingredients you will need are :

  • Cooking oil or fat
  • Clean water
  • Caustic soda

You will also need the following material:

  • Three containers. One for oil, one for water, and one for mixing.
  • Spatula.
  • Protective clothes e.g overalls and face mask. Sodium hydroxide causes skin burns.
  • Saucepan.
  • Thermometer.
  • Soap mold.

2. Mix Water And Caustic Soda

  • Add clean water to the container.
  • Carefully add caustic soda to the clean water. Ensure you have protective gear on.


3. Heat Cooking Oil Or Fat

  • Heat cooking oil/fat in a saucepan.
  • Heat up to a temperature of 14°C. Use a thermometer to be sure.

4. Mix Oil With Lye Solution

  • Add heated oil to the lye solution with care.

5. Stir The Mixture

  • Use a spatula to stir the mixture. Stir until the mixture becomes a porridge-like suspension. This may take a while but to achieve desirable results you will have to keep on stirring until the mixture feels heavy.

6. Add Mixture To Soap Mold

  • Add mixture to soap mold. Place the mold on a flat surface before doing this to avoid spillage. Using a sub-divided mold would be best so the soap comes out in equal pieces once the process is done.

7. Wait For 24-48 Hours (Saponification)

  • Set your timer to 24 house and leave the mixture for 24 hours. During this time, the soap will harden on its own. The harder you want your soap, the longer you leave it. Do not tamper with the mixture once in the mold.
  • After 24 hours, your soap will be ready.
What oils are used to make soap in Kenya?

– Castor oil.
– Almond oil.
– Avacado oil.
– Olive oil.
– Coconut oil.

Where can I train to make bar soap in Kenya?

– Slim Skills Training College
– Karen Technical Institute
– Nairobi College Of Bread And Confectionery Technology

How can I start a small business for making soap?

– Rent a space or use your home.
– Get a single business permit. It costs Sh.10,000-Sh.15,000 annually.
– Gather the necessary ingredients used to make soap (Water, oil, and caustic soda).
– Gather equipment (Container, thermometer, mold, spatula, overalls, and a saucepan)

How much does it cost to make your own soap in Kenya?

It costs Sh.2500-Sh.5,000. This includes equipment and ingredients. To save up on this, you can use home equipment and ingredients like cooking oil or cooking fat.

Is making soap cheaper than purchasing it?

Yes, the cost of making soap is cheaper than buying it. When making soap for personal use, you can use equipment from home. Ingredients like water can be acquired easily just be sure to use clean water. The other ingredient is cooking oil or cooking fat which will cost you less than a thousand shillings. The cost of caustic soda is Sh.250 per Kg.

Is making your own soap profitable?

Yes. The capital cost of starting a soap-making business is very low compared to other businesses. You can use equipment from home to mix the lye solution with water. This will save you more money and increase your profit margin. Soap is a need for everyone, therefore, you can sell to local vendors or you can sell it yourself. This will save you money on transportation costs.

What are the main ingredients in soap?

Caustic Soda, Clean Water, And Oils Or Fats. Caustic soda is mixed with clean water to make a lye solution. Oil is heated and then added to the lye solution. The mixture is stirred and left for 24 hours. Your soap will be ready after this time lapses.

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