How to start a home detergent business

Home detergent business. Every home and business needs detergents for cleaning. The demand for cleaning detergents has been steadily rising as more households and businesses come up.

This is good news for aspiring entrepreneurs because it is possible to make these detergents and take advantage of this demand.

Liquid detergent as the name implies, is simply soap in liquid form. Home made liquid detergents have become popular and increased competition in the soap industry which was traditionally dominated by bar soap and other factory manufactured detergents.

collection of plastic for cleaning


One reason being that liquid detergents are more versatile and multi-purpose. They can be used for various tasks such as washing dishes, clothes, floors, windows, cars and almost all other uses. This has made them very popular in homes and businesses such as hotels and restaurants, offices, car wash yards and even schools.

They are also very easy to make. You can make liquid detergents and sell to schools, homes, hotels, car wash yards and other businesses that clean.

Making liquid detergent is very simple and requires very few items. With a little training and experience, almost anybody can make these detergents.

Basically, soap is made by combining fats and oils with a chemical (Sodium Hydroxide, also known as ‘Caustic Soda’). Caustic Soda is a white solid substance that easily dissolves in water. It is available on the open market where it is often sold as pellets, granules or flakes.

Depending on the effect you want to achieve, you could include interesting stuff like herbs, honey and other substances that are known to soothe, smooth and heal the skin.

Apart from the ingredients you need to make detergent, there are basic tools that you will need too. They are so basic that they are easily available all over.

You will need simple items such as bowls and spoons, buckets, wooden ladle and packaging containers for your finished product. With a budget of about Ksh.2,000 you should have these items.

Brown wooden spoon with grains

Detergent Ingredients

Some of these ingredients have complicated chemical names but we will use their common trade names. The ingredients should cost you about Ksh.1000 – Ksh.2,000 and can be bought from chemical shops all over town, Kariobangi light industries or industrial area.

The quantity of the chemicals are bought according to the quantity of detergent you want to make. If you want to make 100 liters, just ask the dealer to give you ingredients for that quantity.

Detergent making is a chemical process and may be a danger to your safety. Remember to use hand gloves to protect your skin from coming into contact with the chemicals.

Person in gloves pouring detergent

Mixing Instructions

  1. Pour the Ung Erol in the container that you intend to use preferably with a capacity of 50 litres or more.
  2. Add Ufacid, industrial salt and caustic soda and mix with the wooden spoon until the salt is completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth and fine.
  3. Add more water and stir further to make the paste more dilute. Ensure you add water in small quantities to prevent too much foaming.
  4. Add colour and perfume or fragrance and continue stirring to the required thickness. You can use lemon drops as fragrance.
  5. Once thickened, pour the mixture into a clean container and set aside for about 2 hours.

There may be slight variations to these instructions depending on the type or quantity of liquid detergent you intend to produce.

NOTE: You can also check out for tutorials on YouTube.


When your detergent is ready for the market, you have to make a decision on what packaging quantities and designs you will use depending on your market.

Plastic containers come in various sizes such as 300ml, 500ml, 1L, 5L, 10L, 20L or more. Most detergent making businesses prefer the 10L or more containers since they are more popular with businesses such as hotels and restaurants, car wash yards, schools, churches and other businesses.

clear plastic bottles

Households mostly buy in smaller quantities of 500ml, 1L and 5L. You can buy empty plastic containers from shops in town and industrial area.

Branding the containers with your contact details can be a good idea especially for marketing. Print labels of different sizes and stick to the containers. Simple business ideas that require little capital to start

Sales and Marketing

Liquid detergent business is very simple to start and start up costs are also very low. The major task is in marketing the products.

Your marketing plan should involve visiting schools, churches, households, businesses, shops and offices around you to tell them about your products.

A good strategy is to make small samples and distribute to potential clients for free with your contact as you tell them about your products.

You are likely to face stiff competition therefore, put a lot of effort in marketing.

Packaged liquid detergents have the following average market prices;

  1. Ksh.25 – Sh.40 (500ml)
  2. Sh.250 – Sh.300 (5L)
  3. Sh.450 – Sh.500 (10L)
  4. Sh.1,000 (20L)

Bear in mind that these figures are estimates from several dealers and may vary depending on location, who is selling and who is buying.

Use popular flavors such as lavender, lemon and mixed fruit to sell more. Quality should also be upheld by making properly concentrated detergent to attract and retain customers.

Many liquid detergent sellers make profits of about Sh.1,000 – Sh.5,000 per day and make products 3 to 4 times per week but get more orders at the end of the month.

In a day most make and sell between 20L to 30L of detergent.

The process of liquid making is tedious and requires patience and passion. Make sure you have gathered enough information before you set up your liquid detergent business.

Final Word

We all need soap. Whether in the rural areas, towns, prisons, schools, hospitals – every person needs some soap in one way or another.

So you can try out this idea and see how far it will take you and even venture into the manufacturer of flavoured soap, bathing soap and so forth.

You can start small today and aim for the sky.

This article was first shared in the PROFITABLE BUSINESS IDEAS WhatsApp group Written By: Justine Nyachieo (Business Man & Mentor +254754839228) and Timothy Angwenyi,(Business Consultant +254701711058).


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