9 Main Varieties of Soaps | Cleansing Agents | Laundry Work | Home Science

This article throws light upon the nine main varieties of soaps used in laundry work. The soaps are: 1. Bar Soaps 2. Neutral Soaps 3. Toilet Soaps 4. Disinfectant Soaps 5. Solvent Soaps 6. Shaving Soaps 7. Soap Solution 8. Soap Flakes 9. Soap Powders.

Variety # 1. Bar Soaps:

These are hard soaps which are generally used for cleaning of very dirty fabrics. They are used by rubbing on fabrics. Bar soaps are also sometimes used for the preparation of soap solution for cleaning of fabrics. This type of soap is less expensive. It is better to buy large quantities of Bar Soap and after cutting it into squares, store it in a cool dry place.

When this is done the soap piece becomes hard and there is less wastage of soap when it is used for rubbing on fabrics. Some of the bar soaps usually contain a small amount of resin which increases the lathering properties. Some bar soaps and other cheaper household soaps are of dark colour due to the presence of resins results in decreasing their cleansing action.

Variety # 2. Neutral Soaps:

These are white in colour which have free alkali. These are very much expensive. These soaps have best cleansing properties.

Variety # 3. Toilet Soaps:


A good quality toilet soap is free from an excess amount of alkalies which would harm the skin. They are delicately coloured and scented. These are soft soaps. Nowadays a number of toilet soaps are manufactured by different soap factories. So good brand soaps must be purchased with much care.

Variety # 4. Disinfectant Soaps:

In addition to other ingredients of soap, 3 to 4% of carbolic acid is added while preparing this soap. The germicidal ingredients in this type of soap add little to its cleansing quality. When strong disinfectants are added to soap they must be added in very small amounts to avoid irritation to the skin. All soaps have some germicidal action. These are also known as medicated soaps. For the treatment of the skin, sulphur soaps, tar soaps, and carbolic soaps are sometimes used. These soaps have antiseptic properties.

Variety # 5. Solvent Soaps:

These are made by dissolving soap in a grease solvent and can be purchased in solid, powdered or liquid form. They are more effective because the use of solvent enhances the cleansing properties. They can be used for cleaning of expensive fabrics.

Variety # 6. Shaving Soaps:

These are available both in solid and liquid form. Shaving soaps are neutral soaps which are free from alkalies and have no harmful effect on the skin. These are expensive than the ordinary soap.

Variety # 7. Soap Solution:


Bar soap may be used to make soap solution, for washing of fabrics. This solution gives sufficient lather, even more than Bar soap. For the preparation of this solution, grate the soap. Boil the grated soap in water for a few minutes until a clear liquid is obtained. Avoid its over boiling. Cool it and store it. Scraps of soap can be saved and converted into jelly.

Variety # 8. Soap Flakes:

Soap flakes are prepared by flaking a fairly hard, good quality soap which has free alkalies. These can be used instead of soap solutions. They are convenient and effective in use. They are pure soap and safe to use on any fabric. These have best cleansing properties and may be used for cleaning of expensive silk and woolen garments. Today soap flakes can be purchased which are soluble in cold water. They are convenient to use and have a greater advantage in that they are suitable for washing coloured fabrics also which might run in warm water.

Variety # 9. Soap Powders:

Hard soaps are used for making of soap powders. Many of the soap powders are a mixture of powdered soap and other ingredients like soda, borax, perborate or silicate. A large variety of soap powders are available today. They consist of powdered soap and sodium carbonate. The amount of soap present may range from 5% to 30%.

In cheaper varieties sodium bicarbonate, sodium silicate and french chalk may be included. In some of the soap powders soda, borax, perborate or silicate are also mixed. Most soap powders nowadays also contain optical white or bluing agent which helps in cleaning white fabrics. Soap powders must be used carefully, according to the direction on the packet.

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