The fragrant lather-giving bar that instantly refreshes us– yes the Soap!- A mandatory thing for all of us. Soaps are made using some natural oils or fats combined with sodium hydroxide and other alkali that bring a good lather on our body cleaning away all the dirt and sweat. Soaps have some colouring and scent added to them.

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What is interesting about them is that each of them is made to suit different needs. Some are meant to act as skin or beauty soap, while others are strict detergents meant to clean clothes, dishes etc. But the primary purpose of soap remains the same; cleaning. So, how are these classified? Here are the two categories of soaps most common around us.

Different Types of Soaps: Making, Working and Usage:

Do you know what soaps are made of? Have you ever wondered why detergents are stronger than your bathing soaps? This article helps you explore what soaps contain, how are they made and the purposes of each type of soap.

1. Toilet Soaps:

Toilet soaps are those that have cosmetic use. Toilet soaps and bathing bars are two terms that are used interchangeably. There are however differences between them. Toilet soaps contain TFM or Total Fatty Matter that are fattier, as compared to bathing bars that contain low TFM. The higher the TFM, the greater their efficiency in cleaning. Based on this, they are classified into three grades.

  • Grade 1: They contain about 76% TFM and are a high-grade milled or homogenized soap and sometimes a combination of both. It gives a good lather and comes in many colours. They are scented.
  • Grade 2: These contain about 70% TFM. These are plodded soaps that will have a smooth and firm texture. They are white or coloured and also have good lathering properties.
  • Grade 3: Grade 3 soaps contain about 60% TFM and have a smooth and firm texture. They are most often red due to the presence of cresylic acid or can also be white or coloured. They also have good lathering properties.

Toilet soaps are further classified based on the many kinds of it.

Laundry Soap:

Laundry soaps come in the form of detergent or liquid soaps. Most detergents contain surfactant, which is a common ingredient across all laundry soaps. However, some ingredients will vary from brand to brand. This might include ingredients for the smell. These surfactants are called surface active agents and have a specific property. One end of the surfactant is strongly attracted to water and the other to dirt or grease. When many of these surfactants attach to the dirt in the clothes, they help to raise it towards the water. The swish of the water, in all its force, will help eliminate the dirt from your fabric.

Guest Soaps:

Guest soaps are those soaps that you get when you check into a hotel. They are small and come with mild fragrance. They are meant for cleaning and are almost always mild on the skin. They are coloured and since they are small, do not have a long life. They also come in many pleasing flavours.

Beauty Soaps:

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The other common kind of soap is the beauty soap. Beauty soaps are meant to act differently keeping in mind your skin type. Therefore, it is always essential that you choose bars specifically suitable for your face type. Some of them are hydrating and will keep the moisture packed for a long time, while others help in fighting acne or reducing melanin production. Some of them come in bottles as liquid gel. However, one thing remains constant, they all fight to remove the bacteria from your skin. Most of them are scented and come in many colours, brands, prices and ingredients.

Dish Soaps:

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Dish soaps are undoubtedly hard on the skin. Some of them come as thick concentrates and have to be diluted well in water, while others come as regular water. Most of these soaps contain refreshing agents like mint and lemon, which together with warm water and scrubbing will help remove oil stains and dirt from your plates. The molecules in the soap attach to the oil and water, thus lifting the dirt to the warm water. They work together to remove the stain and dirt from the plate.

Novelty Soaps:

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Novelty soaps are typically used for decoration. Their major attraction is their form and shape, the color and their smell. Most of these are handmade and have a very pleasing fragrance. While they may not be effective enough like others to fight the bacteria, they sure are cute little stuff that will come in handy when your travel. Some of these are also gifted as gifts.

Medicated Soaps:

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Medicated soaps have a specific purpose. They are mostly recommended by doctors and are used for treating skin related issues or allergies. They ward of bacteria or virus in the skin on regular use. The many medicated herbs or medicinal properties in them come as very useful in the long run. They are made with anti-bacterial agents.

2. Non-Toilet Soaps:

The next kind of soap is the non-toilet soap. These are called non-toilet because they are used for cleaning heavy dirt like hard grease and stains. They are high performance soaps and are hard. They are also known as lithium soaps. Sometimes these soaps are also used as lubricating agents in greases and thickeners. These when used as thickeners will help increase the viscosity of the oil

Different Forms of Soaps That are Popular:

Each type of soap is made with the motive to meet the needs. Some branded soaps exactly encounter the requirements while the other brands fail in doing so. Here are some more terms that are commonly used and those that you hear every day.

Handmade Soaps:

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Are a bit costlier as they are made not with ease but with some difficulties. These soaps are not rich in chemicals and are a little harmful to the skin when compared to the rest. They are unique, in the sense that they are handmade and thus come with a lot of effort.

Bath Soaps:

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is an umbrella term for all the kinds of soaps that are used for the skin. Say, they could be used to clean the entire body. Some of the bath soaps are specifically used for face and there are yet others for the body. Like we said, bath soaps come in the form of gel too and are refreshing.

Bar Soap:

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is simply a term that is given to soaps that are shaped as a bar. They can be a beauty soap, a laundry soap or even novelty soap. They are just a term classified with respect to the shape.

Liquid Soaps:

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are manufactured for both the body and hands. Liquid soap is an umbrella term and comes as soaps meant for laundry, dishes and body. All of these have different cleaning agents, that work differently on the object to which it is put to use. The best part about them is that they can be readily carried and will last a very long time.

Milk Soaps:

Another soap kind is based on the ingredients they are made with. Milk soap is one such. They nourish and pamper the skin; most milk soaps are slippery to use and leave a smooth look after usage. Goat milk soaps are used for infants. The tender skin of the baby is more likely to get affected by the usage of harsh soaps. Goat milk soaps are mild and wouldn’t cause react bad on baby skin.

Essential Oil Soaps:

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Soaps like vanilla soap, peppermint soap, tea tree soap, lemon grass soap, sea weed soap, etc. has the oils of those herbs or plants. These are flavored soaps and they impart good fragrance, coupled with some nice refreshing feel. These soaps give better results when used for specific purposes. Similarly animal soaps are made with animal fat as raw material.

Sandalwood Soaps:

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Likewise, there are also soaps made with luxurious ingredients. Sandalwood soap has the sandalwood oil in it and it can help fixing the problems in the skin. Same is with almond soaps; it has the oil of almond in it. Almond oil is known to nourish the skin and impart a young look. Chocolate soaps are made with the extracts from cocoa and help in keeping your skin moisture locked, thus preventing dryness.

Vegetarian Soaps:

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Here is another uncommon kind; the Vegetarian soap, one that is made of vegetable oil or fat. For some skin types, soaps with animal fat or some other oil in the soap can harm the skin. People with those skin types can use these soaps.

When these soaps are put to proper use, the result is a fine positive outcome. Most of them differ by brand and as such, each of them comes with various exotic ingredients, specific to the country of manufacture.

How Do Soaps Work and How to Choose Them?

Soap when used with some water breaks the oil into smaller bits that is capable of dissolving in the water. The molecules of the soaps have two ends, where one end is called hydrophilic and that love water; the other end is called hydrophobic and that hate water.

  • Soaps can be chosen based on the requirements. For a person with sensitive skin, milk soaps are a better choice as they are mild and soft. Brands matter a lot in choosing the soaps, using soaps of some brands can end with side effects.
  • Soaps can also be chosen with the aspect of pH levels. The pH level of the skin should be maintained well to have a good skin, so the soaps that maintain the proper pH level should be chosen.
  • Perfumed soaps give good smell on usage, but it is not the perfume that matters but the quality of the soap.

Choosing is a very importing thing because it works on the skin, being wise can protect the skin from unwanted side effects.

Additional Tips:

  • Handmade soaps are usually not harsh and harmful, so it is better to use handmade soaps for highly sensitive skin.
  • It is a must that the kitchen soaps are chosen over suggestions from those who have used it.
  • Liquid soaps generate more lather than the hard soaps but it is not advisable for regular usage.
  • Do not use soap more than twice a day, as it can reduce the pH level gradually.
  • Cover Soaps Upon Usage.
  • It is advisable that each person has their own soap.
  • The quality of the soap has to be noted prior to usage.
  • Too many people using the same soap can result in skin infections.
  • Soaps with more chemical content in them bring down the texture of the skin on regular usage.
  • Separate soaps could be used for the face, hand and body.

Soaps are a blessing in disguise. The entire pack does a lot of things. They keep you clean, leave you feel refreshed, give out positive and mild odours and help in fighting off bacteria. They come in a lot of variants, brands and shapes, thus giving you a lot of options to choose from.


About Tejaswi

Tejaswi, a Master of Business Administration graduate, is our senior content writer, specializing in travel and lifestyle products. She is quite creative in her approach. Tejaswi ardently follows the latest news and present market trends and makes sure her readers are always up-to-date. In-depth research and follow-ups on any topic along with unique and knowledgable pieces of writing, is what makes her stand apart. Besides writing, Tejaswi also loves cooking, listening to music, and traveling.