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Solid Soap Production using Plantain Peel Ash as Source of Alkali



The making of soap using vegetable matter (plantain peel) ashes was examined. All the factors that could cause blackness in the colour of the soap, when the water extract of ashes derived from vegetable matter was reacted with palm oil/palm kernel oil blend, were studied with a view to remedying them. These remedial procedures included a clearer filtration in the extraction stage, which removed virtually all black particles from the extract; elimination of any metallic ions in the ash extract, which could colour the resulting soap, and bleaching of the oil blend. The saponification stage of the soap making process was also changed from those of previous practices since some of the previous saponification processes led to charring of the soap and hence caused it to be black. A neat soap, which was milky white in colour, was obtained when the improved ash extract was reacted with the bleached oil blend. This was also the colour of two other soaps made from pure potassium hydroxide and pure sodium hydroxide alkalis, respectively and the same bleached oil blend. It was concluded that solid soap, which was not black, could be made from ash-derived alkali. This is the first reported case of such an attempt.

(Journal of Applied Sciences & Environmental Management: 2002 6(1): 73-77)