Sunlight Was The World’s First Packaged Branded Laundry Soap


Unilever Ghana came into being on July 14, 1992 when UAC Ghana Limited and Brothers Ghana Limited merged to form Unilever Ghana Limited.

Unilever Ghana is now the largest quoted manufacturing and marketing company in Ghana.

Unilever Ghana today manufacturers and markets two broad category of products:
Home and Personal Care (HPC) and Foods.

Their leading brands include Key Soap, Omo, Lux, Geisha, Frytol, Royco/Knorr, Pepsodent/Close-up, Sunsilk and Annapurna.

History of Sunlight Laundry Soap

Sunlight household soap was introduced by the British company Lever Brothers in 1884.

It was the world’s first packaged, branded laundry soap.

Designed for washing clothes and general household use, the success of the product led to the name for the company’s village for its workers, Port Sunlight.

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The soap formula was invented by a Bolton chemist named William Hough Watson, who also became an early business partner.

Watson’s process created a new soap, using glycerin and vegetable oils such as palm oil rather than tallow (animal fats).

William Lever and his brother James Darcy Lever invested in Watson’s soap invention and its initial success came from offering bars of cut, wrapped, and branded soap in his father’s grocery shop.

This was an early labour-saving device for the housewife as prior to this, commercially made soap was bought in long bars.

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Sunlight soap was eventually supplanted by modern products made from synthetically produced detergents rather than naturally derived soaps.

In 1971, the company rebranded Sunlight as a washing-up liquid in the UK.

The new packaging for Sunlight Lemon Liquid had a large picture of a lemon, and only featured the words “washing up liquid” in small letters.

There were complaints that children might mistake the product for lemon squash and drink it.

The matter was discussed in the House of Lords. The company responded by changing its packaging.

In several markets (e.g., Belgium and the Netherlands) Sunlight soap has survived as a personal wash product rather than a laundry detergent.

Sunlight is still used in some markets as a brand by Unilever (the successor of Lever Brothers).

In Sri Lanka, Sunlight laundry soap has a market share of more than 75%, and won the “brand of the year” award in 2004.

In South Africa, the brand is used for bath soap, dishwashing liquid, washing powder and fabric conditioner.

The brand was also used in the Philippines during the 1990s as detergents.

It was discontinued until it was revived in 2015 as a liquid dish-washing detergent traded alongside the Surf line.



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