Soap and Lotion Making from Natural Tree Oils

Why to choose this solution?
Trees such as shear nut tree, Eucalyptus tree, coconut tree and palm trees provide natural oils, which can be used for making soaps (laundry, bathing and liquid soap), Vaseline cream, lotions, and body creams. Using these natural oils have also health benefits to treating skin disorders, certain diseases, and repelling mosquitos. Soap making plays a big role in environment conservation because efforts are now being made to conserve these trees, from which the oil can extracted and be used to generate income. It can also be a good activity for small case business of a Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA). Good for both children and adults.
Savings per day or production:
Using soap reduces household expenditures on soap because for an average family a bar can be used for three weeks compared to other ordinary soap which lasts for about two weeks.
Cost in money and in own time to construct:
It requires little investment to start. One may need approximately USD 57 (USh 200,000) as start-up capital to start making soap for a small business. The soap making process takes 45 minutes, after which the soaps need three weeks to get dried. Then you can package and label them. The different products from natural oils costs between USh 2,000 - 50,000 (USD 0.54-14).
The soap can last for over 3 years since it is made out of natural tree oils and no preservatives are added.
Maintenance needed:
Needs be stored in a cool dry place.
Resources needed in use:
Buckets / basins and water.
Problems and limits:
Inhalation of caustic soda fumes during the soap making process can be dangerous to human health. Therefore, it is necessary to use masks or scarf and gloves during the soap making.
Where and how can you get it or make it?
In Uganda, JEEP is making soap and JEEP also trains communities in soap production.
Skills needed to produce, install. maintenance, use:
The ingredients are shea butter, coconut oils, caustic soda, water, and herbs like Aloe Vera, rosemary, pawpaw leaves. Equipment needed are measuring weight, bowls and a spoon to mix and heat, and molding trays. About 5 liter plant oil makes 45 soap bar weighing 120 grammes.
How to use it:
How to maintain it:
Climate effect (if any):
It is environment friendly and it is playing a big part in environment conservation because efforts are now being made to conserve the trees where the oils come from.
Where it is used and how many users are there?
In general, bar soaps are very popular. They are used in almost all most homes in Uganda. Over 1000 communities extract and use natural oils from trees and use them. About 100,000 people in Uganda are using the natural soaps. Most women groups have registered as manufacturer of products out of these natural oils.
Why is it successful?
It is successful because it requires small investment to start and materials are locally available from indigenous trees in Uganda. Additionally, soap is on a high demand everywhere in the world. It is also a good activity for a small scale business, and as a Village Savings and Loans Association activity.
If you can make it, a short description, typical problems, materials needed.:
How to make it (if possible):
How is it delivered and by whom?
Business model is production by skilled persons with a few employees that sell to traders, shops, markets and directly to. Trained small organised groups can help to maintain quality. JEEP has supported and coordinated organising and training such groups in rural and urban centres.
Successful financial model
Support for development, training of small organised groups in soap making and branding with labelling.
What policies and strategies helped the success?
Government efforts to conserve the trees from which natural oils come from. Subsidising prices so as it is affordable to many people. Advertising it by emphasizing that it is made from natural tree oils, educating people about the health benefits and encouraging people to take it on as a VSLA activity.
More info: and
JEEP, 7 Miles, Gayaza Rd, Kyanja, Kampala, P. O. Box 4264, Uganda. Phone: +256 (414) 578 316. E-mail:, Web:
Name of the association uploading the case:
When was the case uploaded? (YYYY-MM-DD):