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Instructions on how to Manufacture Detergent and Cleaning Products

Manufacturing Advice


  • 1 Milliliter = 1ml
  • 1 Gram = 1g
  • 1 Liter = 1l
  • 1 Kilogram = 1kg

Approximate Equivalents

  • 1 ml water = 1 gram water
  • 5 ml water = 1 teaspoon
  • 20ml water = 1 tablespoon
  • 1 liter water = 1 kilogram water

Percentage Figures

The formula ingredients contained in this book are shown in percentage figures.

It is quite simple and easy to understand and master.

Use the percentages in the right column of the formula you are manufacturing.

They all add up to 100% and you can easily work out the quantity of a product you would like to manufacture.

Note: Where a percentage figure appears as part of the ingredient it has nothing to do with the percentage of the ingredients that is added to the main mix, an example would be 28% sles (Sodium Laurel Ether Sulfate) this percentage stands for the strength of the material/chemical needed and not the amount, because some are stocked at 25% and a little more will need to be added to the mixture because of a weaker strength in the 25% material/chemical rather than a stronger 28% strength.

Equipment When starting off little equipment is needed. Bathroom and kitchen scales are essential for weighing grams and kilograms of powder and liquid.

  • Plastic measuring jugs – milliliter and liter equivalents
  • Plastic buckets for pre-mixing of some chemicals. An example is Caustic soda (Sodium Hydroxide) before adding to the mix.
  • Mixing stick, preferably a plastic pipe or broomstick type.
  • Ph measuring equipment such as Ph papers or a digital Ph meter
  • 25, 100 to 250 liter drum wherein raw materials will be mixed.
  • A plastic funnel to pour chemicals into containers and to prevent spillage.
  • Powders need to be kept free from moisture therefore drums must have lids.
  • A heat source to heat water to a certain degree as specified in formulations.

Water: Using water of the purest grade is necessary in certain products; in most cases purified water for human use is satisfactory. Water borne bacteria can be troublesome in the manufacturing process, for this reason most products call for use of a preservative.

Ph levels: Where a Ph level is specified in a formula it is important that the desired Ph is attained for the product to be effective. Dishwashing Liquid for example has a Ph of 7. It is important as it gets in close contact with eyes and skin, therefore the Ph level should be neutral 7.

Products applied by cloth and not by hand have a higher Ph for more effectiveness.

Testing Ph levels: The term Ph is used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of a product.

A Ph of 7 is neutral, a lower Ph is more ACIDIC and a Ph that is higher is more ALKALINE.

1 to 5 - Acidic

6 7 8 - Neutral

9 to 13 - Alkaline

A Caustic soda solution is used to raise the Ph. Add small quantities of 100ml at a time to the main mixture of approximately 100 liters and measure Ph again. The closer you get to the desired Ph lessen the quantity of caustic soda that you add.

A Sulphonic acid is used to lower the Ph. Add small quantities of 100ml at a time to main mixture of approximately 100 liters and measure the Ph again.

The closer you get to the desired Ph lessen the quantity of sulphonic acid that you add.

  • Ph papers give a highly accurate reading.
  • Cheaper digital Ph meters can be used as well, make sure to use/read covering instructions carefully.
  • We suggest testing the final product with Ph paper.
  • Remember to hold Ph paper and other meters to your Ph color chart.
  • Repeat stages until desired Ph is attained.

Mixing machinery: When production increases, workshop aids of automatic machinery can be brought in to ease the workload. Bigger containers for mixing of greater quantities of chemicals can be obtained as well.

Other machinery: Eventually, when you progress to the manufacturing of specific viscosity products, you will need a viscosity testing instrument with a yield stress measurement capability. In the formulas we refer to the Brookfield DV-III rheometer. Perfumes, Dyes and Preservatives etc.

Above mentioned is added just before bottling/packaging of final products and after Ph value has been measured and obtained.

Perfumes: Perfumes masks the smell of raw materials/ingredients and is mainly used to make a product more attractive. Perfumes should always be matched with color. An example would be lemon scent with green or yellow as in dishwashing liquid.

  • Small quantities should be added to the main mixture 10ml at a time until the desired smell is obtained.
  • Perfume suppliers would be able to recommend suggestions on perfume types and color.

Dyes: Powdered dyes are extremely concentrated, only a little/minimum quantity is required.

  • Add approximately 5g of powdered dye into a 1 liter container/bottle filled with water and mix.
  • Add this mixture gradually to the main mixture until desired color is obtained.
  • Using this method will control the color additive more easily.

Preservatives: Used to protect products against bacterial decomposition. The most commonly used preservative is formalin.

  • Usually added to the main mixture at 20ml per 10 liters or 200ml per 100 liters (0.2%) of chemical product.
  • Added just before bottling/packaging of final product.

Thickening agents: Thickening agents are available and is used to increase the viscosity (thickness) of products. Thickeners are widely used in the chemical trade to cheapen the manufacturing cost of certain products. This is only suitable for certain products and not for all products.

In most instances your chemical supplier would be able to tell you which thickening agents would be compatible with your specific product.

Salt: Used in certain formulas and in combination with certain compounds (sles is an example) it increases viscosity (thickness). Too much salt however may have a negative effect and would thin the product out or lead to cloudiness of the product, for example; Dishwashing liquid, liquid soap, liquid shampoo and bubble bath etc.

Storage of materials: To ensure no undesirable changes occur to raw materials, it is essential that all containers be kept sealed to avoid contamination.

Powders: It is essential that powders be kept free from moisture. Keep lids of containers properly sealed and out of reach of children and animals.

Liquids: Perfumes, oils, acids and alcohols will tend to evaporate if not kept tightly sealed. Keep out of reach of children and animals.

Deterioration: Some ingredients deteriorate in bright light or even sunlight – your chemical supplier can give valuable advice regarding this.


  • Be especially careful and keep raw materials out of reach of children and animals.
  • Materials should be kept in a safe place that can be securely locked.
  • Keep flammable liquids stored away from heat, open flames and direct light.
  • Make sure to clean spillages carefully.
  • Fire extinguishers are a must in the manufacturing of chemical products, working and storage environment.



  • When materials have made contact with eyes – Flush with water for at least 15 min and seek medical attention.
  • When coming into contact with skin – Flush with water for 15 min if and when irritation occurs.
  • When consumption has taken place – drink a lot of water and induce vomiting. Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Inhalation – Avoid inhaling obnoxious odors/vapors/fumes. Mix products in a well ventilated area.
  • Use PPE (personal protective equipment) at all times when working with chemical materials, this could avoid potential accidents. Steel cap toes, glasses and gloves are recommended.
  • Keep flammable liquids like white spirits, paraffin, xylol, alcohols, turpentine etc. away from open flames, heat source and direct sunlight.
  • Avoid putting acidic materials in metal containers.
  • Raw materials and chemicals should be kept under lock at all times.
  • Regular inspection should be done to all containers holding raw and or final products.
  • Containers should be kept sealed at all times.
  • Keep raw and final materials away from children and animals.
  • Important – take notice of caution labels on raw materials bought, as well as recommendations available through your chemical supplier.

How to find raw material suppliers:

These days it is quite simple to find suppliers. It is impossible for me to list all the suppliers as the book is meant for the international market.

A telephone directory will list companies that sell and specialize in raw material supplies, or you can use the internet and search for chemical raw material suppliers nearest to where you are located as this would be more convenient for you.

Marketing: Marketing of final products are essential and very important. Consumers judge a product by its smell, how it is presented and how it compares with well known brands in the market place.

You may have developed terrific products, but ultimately success hinges on persuading customers to select your products rather than buying from someone else.

For consumers to buy from you, they first need to know you exist and what it is you are selling.

A highly effective sales technique is to convince the consumer to give up his currently used chemical product and try your product on a trial basis.

Quality control: Quality control is most important; the formulas given in the books have been tested over and over and make excellent quality products.

Production costs can be cheapened by using cheaper chemicals or by adding more water and a thickener. Be careful however that the product does not become so diluted that it becomes ineffective, this is usually done to meet a competitor's price, generally done by reducing the percentage of more expensive raw materials proportionately and increasing the quantity of a cheaper raw materials – Be careful, manufacturing difficulties can occur.

When finding a market for cheapened final products, produce it as optional to your quality brand and name it for instance your "economic/economy" brand.

Packaging: A well designed label with a catchy name will sell just about anything. Add an attractive smell where you can, the reaction of most clients when given a sample of any product will be to look at the product (color) read the label and then smell it.

Always make sure that customers get a good first impression.

Marketing products for domestic use, one should familiarize one self with marketing regulations, a suggestion would be to study the equivalent of brand name labels and instructions carefully and use them as a guide.

Containers for your end products are widely available at any plastic store or plastic factory.

Most products can be accommodated in 3 or 4 different size bottles, except where you supply large volumes of a product where 5 or 10 or even 20 liter bottles can be used.

Have a look at similar products sold at your supermarket for more information on packaging.

Mark – ups: It is suggested that one multiply the basic material cost by 5 to get market penetration. On bulk orders of 200 liters or more a competitive price or mark–up would be to multiply the basic material cost by 2 or 3.

Labeling: The following is necessary and should be given on a label

  • A brief description of the product.
  • Where the product can be used.
  • The function of the product.
  • Dilutions if any.
  • How the product can be applied, hand or cloth.
  • Cautions/hazards or first aid if any depending on the product.
  • Any information that is legally required in your area of sales.

An example would be:

Abs brick and concrete cleaner (Product)

An acidic – type product, designed to remove lime and excess cement from slate, face brick, tiles, walls etc.

Can be diluted in a plastic bucket filled with water at 1:10

Pour or mop onto surface, allow 2 to 3 min to act then agitate with a stiff brush, rinse well with clean water.

Caution: Contains acids. Avoid contact with eyes, skin and clothes. If contamination occurs, flush contaminated part with water for at least 15 min in case of eyes flush with water 15 min and seek medical attention. Avoid inhaling fumes and use rubber gloves.

Label Printing: When starting your business you can print your labels yourself, using an inkjet or laser printer, but for a professional looking label you need to have it done at a sign shop where it can be printed with a digital printer onto vinyl or gloss paper. Once your production starts getting higher and you need 1000's of labels, have your labels litho printed at a commercial printer in adhesive sheets or rolls.

Facts regarding customers:

  • It costs 6 times more in time and money to gain a new customer than to keep an old one.
  • Every time a customer goes away satisfied they will eventually generate at least 7 extra customers.
  • It is a proven fact that ninety six percent of customers do not complain when they have a problem. They just do not come back!

Supply only good quality products and your customers will be yours for life.

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