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  Substandard Soaps  



This page was written years back to expose the deliberate efforts made by The Indian Soap makers Association / its members to lower the quality of Toilet Soaps.

It was expected that surfers would grasp the fact that there can be unstated / understated facts with reference to Shampoos, tooth pastes and so.  Visitors to this page have missed / chosen to ignore the message. So this page is shortened with effect from 3rd February 2016. 


What is a  Soap?

Toilet Soap is the reaction product of a vegetable oil / glyceryl fatty acids, say coconut, Palm or Olive Oil and caustic Potash / alkali - roughly 5 kgs of oil reacted with one kg of caustic gives Soap, the Potassium salt of a long chain Fatty Acid. 

Oil is 5 parts to 1 part Alkali. That is, Oil / Total fatty matter / TFM is about 83%. 

TFM means Total Fatty Matter


Toilet Bars are inferior in Quality -2 proofs

'Godrej Soaps has always believed in providing its consumers with high quality products. The company has taken a conscious decision to manufacture & market only high TFM toilet soaps as against low TFM bathing bars which are being marketed by many FMCG companies in the Indian market'... 

 Business World 30-6-93 to 13-7-93 page 82 'Froth without Substance’

 "if the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) implements its norms, nearly 80% of the Soaps produced in the country each year [3.8 lakhs tonnes in 1992] would be declared Substandard and fail to qualify as Toilet Soap.".... Why norms and standards if you cannot enforce them?


Emolliency / suppleness / TFM

Emolliency means the ability to soften, supple, smooth, lubricate, less itchy, etc. Vegetable Oils are very good Emollients. Low TFM / total fatty matter means the emolliency is compromised. 

Toilet Bars and Soaps

Bath / Toilet / body washing Soaps with less than 60% TFM, are now called Toilet Bars. Dove is a toilet bar


The biggest soap seller starts the downtrend

Toilet bars, an inferior version of Toilet Soaps, are sold more in India after 1993

Hindustan Unilever lowered the TFM of some high volume soaps - Business World, 1993

Hindustan UniLever’s Brands

 TFM % in 1985

 TFM % in 1993

Percentage drop / reduction in TFM 
















The Soap makers and BIS colluded to fool the Public. The perfidy continues for 20 years now. No one is ashamed. 


Is Dove an inferior product ?


Hindustan Unilever tried to clear one consignment of 'Dove' Soaps that came from Dubai. They paid  lower Customs Duty applicable perhaps to second level of soaps. The Customs Department, going by the claim of 'high quality soap for Dove in advertisements' demanded 'higher tax amount / rate of duty', as applicable for high quality soaps, for clearing the consignment. This happened in 1998. 

Hindustan Unilever 'convinced' the Customs department that the lower amount paid is correct, They did not pay extra duty or any fine. These are correct published details, as I can recollect.  

What do all these say?


Duping    Dove Advertisement - April 2016

[Advertisement - National Geographic Channel - 2050 hours - 6th April 2016: This advertisement is shown in many other TV Channels as well]

Message: The pH indicator paper does not turn Blue with Dove Toilet Bar. So it is not alkaline and harsh like some other soaps. In the background, one can see 5 other soaps without wrappers. I noted the oval shaped Mysore Sandal soap. 

We are fooled / insulted

Hindustan Lever lies brazenly

The pH paper can only indicate the acidity or the alkalinity of the product. It is not at all a measuring scale to assess the harshness of a product on the skin. 

So Lever misrepresents a 'chemical test' to mislead / confuse the public. It is a cheap practice

pH of the blood is about 7.4, and it is slightly alkaline. Does it mean harsh, because it is alkaline? Ascorbic Acid may test acidic with pH indicator papers having 5 to 9 pH range. Would that mean acidic or risky? No, it is our Vitamin C. 

Absurd measurement tool

All that glitters are gold [major premise]. The bulb glitters [minor premise]. The bulb is Gold. [conclusion]. I recollect this example from my 1960 Elementary Logic studies. In this example, the major premise is wrong / fallacious. So, even if the minor premise is right, the conclusion is wrong because of the fallacy of the major premise

Lever's major premise is that pH paper is a measurement of harshness. If that is accepted, which is what they want the Public to accept quietly, all the inferences based on a such a false premise will be erroneous and can only benefit Hindustan Lever

The loud mouthed media, the consumer outfits and others normally remain mute. Lever is a big advertiser and the media would normally keep mum. You have to be aware of that. I have only noted this disgusting exhibition on many matters in the last 50 years


Look who is talking

Let us take a Surf or Rin detergent cake made by Hindustan Unilever to wash a handkerchief. Let it be cleaned in 2 litres of water. The washed waste water will have a pH of 8.5 Just recollect that it is Hindustan Lever talking about pH for the safety of our skin. Let us rinse the hand kerchief again in 2 litres of fresh water. Even that rinsed waste will measure nearly 8.5 pH. You may have to wash it again. For a bigger apparel like Shirt, the 3rd washed waste will have neutral pH

[ I did this test 6 years back when Lever advertised earlier this 'pH' paper gimmick]

Hindustan Lever, by the pH test and 'harshness' message only tell me that they are unreliable - hypocritical, mercenary product seller. They are not bothered about our hands getting spoiled by harsh, alkaline Surf / Rin bars. 

Our hands can get spoiled a bit when we use detergent cakes like RIN. They can become a bit rough and susceptible to feel pain easily. Apply a bit of oil after the use of detergent cakes. 


Additional Comments


For a purse snatcher, burglar and such other minor thieves, the punishment increases with every subsequent offences. I do not know why similar yardstick should not be used for Corporate offenders. I have not got a satisfactory answer to this question in the last 47 years. 


Can you take Unilever's message in face value ? 


1. Hindustan Lever, as a major sellers of Soaps in India, had a part in the lowered quality of Indian Toilet Soaps. 

2. They blabber about a pH test for Dove. Why did they not do it for their Surf and Rin Washing bars. 

3. Pepsodent claimed 102% anti bacterial activity. Till date it has not been proved. Refer Toothpaste liars

4. Dove soap quality - refer Bombay Customs notice mentioned earlier in this page

5. Amaze - The over claim reached absurd heights. Brain boosting power was a claim. Sharad Yadav stated in the Parliament that Lever has been asked to withdraw the claim

They are habitual offenders. They mislead the public with some colourful bluff. But they have never been punished. The fooling goes on  Refer Hair Strength page


There are uncountable paid pipers in India. Mere Bharat Mahan



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Personal website of R. Ranganathan M.Sc., [ MBA - IIMA]    Main / original content: around 2000: last minor modification, Apr 19,  2016