If you’re looking to start a business that has a limitless market then this one is for you. This domain includes main categories such as soaps, washing powders and synthetic formulas. The purposes for such products can be put into two broad classes namely, home and industrial uses. Locally, the informal sector is currently where the action is and you can claim your spot in it by starting this business. I even know someone who actually conducts training for those interested in detergents making (and also beverages). I’ll provide their contact details at the end of this article. So let’s get into how you can start your own detergents business in Zimbabwe.


The smartest idea here is not to focus on just one product – diversify. You can simply ensure each of the following broad categories is represented e.g. toilet cleaners, shampoos, foams, soaps, washing powders, scouring powders, gels, floor polishes, engine cleaners, just to mention a few. You must ensure you get adequate training so that you produce consummate products. You have to do thorough market research owing to the fact that this industry is experiencing an ever-increasing number of new entrants. Due to this high-level competition with already established players (small, medium or large scale) and new players, you must be creative and innovative. I’ve noticed that most people conducting this business pay little attention to packaging; packaging is crucial to standing out as a brand. Invest in colourful and top quality packaging that demonstrates a certain level of sincerity. The other important aspect is to also invest in making your products fragrant. Most products that I have encountered actually have foul smells which can be a huge turn-off.

Key Requirements

This is a business one can conduct at home – home industries. The idea is to create a working space that is self-contained, that localises any odours that might be produced in the process. Some tend to actually set up their work areas in garages or they build makeshift structures in their backyards. So you’ll need to see whether you’ll build a work area from scratch or you transform an existing structure into a work area. Depending on the training you would have received you’ll now be privy to the key ingredients you need and also the related production hardware needed. Then you’ll also need protective clothing. You shall also need to source packaging material; I’ve already underscored its importance.

Human Resources

Your HR needs will be determined by your scale of operations. Basically, this is a business you can start off with your family members and maybe an extra hand or two. Once the business grows then more people can be brought onboard. Notice I’ve been using the working principle of starting the business at home – provided, of course, there is adequate space. The whole crux is to ensure you keep startup costs at a minimum so as to increase the prospects of significant profit margins.


You shall need to get professional training to acquire the necessary skills. You shall also have to acquire ingredients, related hardware (in some cases, small scale machinery). I also pointed out to create a working space – that might entail costs. So there are several requirements that’ll need some significant amounts of money to start the business. However, you can always find ways of improvising so as to eliminate or reduce some costs.


Despite the relatively high competition, the market is there. I highlighted some ways in the approaches, which you can use to stand out. Packaging and fragrances – invest in those attributes so that your brand outpaces other brands. Have a distinctive brand name and brand identity. You must also put in the work towards marketing your products; leverage on the internet and social media. The other marketing strategy to use is cultivating referrals through word of mouth. You can even find ways of incorporating network marketing principles to push your products into the market. Specials, promotions and discounts are some of the easy ways to outdo your competitors. The bottom line is you must be enterprising enough to thrive despite the competition – think outside the box.


Business registration must be the first and foremost thing. Then due to possible environmental implications of such a business, you must seek guidance from the local authorities. Also, ensure that you get professional training and you use genuine ingredients from reputable sources. Getting those two aspects wrong can lead to lawsuits stemming from consumers adversely reacting to improperly formulated products. You must also ensure that you comprehensively label your products citing any ingredients that people might be allergic to.

Most people end up buying international brands despite their costs due to their quality. If you can invest in producing top quality home-grown products you can become preferable. This line of business is possible to structure in such a way that your products can end up being competitively priced and within the reach of most low-income earners. If you are wondering where you can get training to make detergents, her name is Sakhile Siwela, resident in Bulawayo. She runs a Self Help Empowerment Project where she offers courses in the making of toilet cleaners, hair shampoos, dishwashing liquids, engine cleaners, bubble bath foams, washing powders, pine gels and floor polishes. She also offers courses in making concentrated drinks, freezits, jam and tomato sauces. You can contact her on siwelasakhile@gmail.com or +263716841289, +263778135767 and +263786049544.