Why is it Important to Know the TFM Value on Your Soap?

total fatty matter of soaps

Buying soaps is a trivial experience for most of us. We go to the nearest stores or supermarkets and get the soaps that we like. Consumers usually don’t put in a lot of thought and time while buying soaps. If people had to, they would probably check the price, brand, packaging, and ingredients (at times, the presence of natural ingredients). Thankfully times are changing and consumers are conscious as well as aware. Though, expecting them to know every minute detail would be a little too much. With myriad soaps available these days, it becomes confusing to find the suitable soap. A significant aspect that many are unaware of is Total Fatty Matter or TFM. There is no need to be puzzled as we will unravel what it is and things you need to look for when procuring soaps.

Before we move towards the total fatty matter, it is crucial to be aware of some fundamental aspects. 

As naturally occurring fat or fatty acids and alkali react, it results in sodium salts of these fatty acids known as soaps. The reaction enhances the cleaning process and enables water to easily remove oil and dirt from skin, hair, clothes, etc. In simpler terms, they are cleaning agents that lift away sweat and dirt. 


What is Total Fatty Matter?

The total fatty matter is one of the crucial characteristics that define the quality of soaps. It is the total quantity of fatty matter, primarily fatty acids, present in soaps. 


To understand the importance of TFM value for your skin, you need to know the meaning of toilet soaps and laundry soaps.

Laundry Soaps

  • Laundry soaps are detergent bars that help in washing clothes. 
  • They comprise tar/petroleum
  • They have low TFM content.

Toilet Soaps

  • Toilet soaps are nothing but soaps used to clean our bodies. 
  • They comprise fatty acids/vegetable oils.
  • They have high TFM content.


Role of Total Fatty Matter for Your Skin

The TFM quantity describes the quality of soaps. A higher quantity in a soap implies that it is highly hydrating and least harmful to the skin. Such soaps do not cause much dryness. In contrast, less TFM means that the soap is damaging to the skin. It rips away all the moisture present in the skin, making it dry. It results in skin that’s sensitive and may develop rashes, skin breakdown, and infections. 

One should look for the content of total fatty matter in a toilet soap based on one’s skin type. You can talk to a dermatologist to help clear your doubts and concerns regarding this.  


How Can You Check TFM on Soaps?  

There are three toilet soap categories classified by The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) based on TFM in the soap (1)- Grade 1, Grade 2, and Grade 3. 

Grading TFM (in percentage)
Grade 1   These are soaps with a minimum of 76% TFM content
Grade 2These are soaps with a minimum of 70% TFM content
Grade 3These are soaps with a minimum of 60% TFM content

Fact to Remember
Toilet soaps must mention their TFM content as part of their ingredient list. It is compulsory.


Grading of Laundry Soaps

Grading TFM (in percentage)
Grade 1These are soaps with minimum 62% TFM content
Grade 2These are soaps with minimum 50% TFM content


Should We Assume Every Toilet Soap to Have High TFM Content?

High TFM quantity in Toilet soaps makes it a superior option, but that doesn’t mean every toilet soap in the market has it in high quantity. The reason for this is cost. TFM can turn out to be expensive for manufacturers. Hence, they opt for fillers to add weight. 

A Quick Reminder The higher the amount of TFM in a soap, the better it would help cleanse and hydrate your skin. Always choose Grade 1 soaps because they contain high total fatty matter and are gentle on the skin. Look for soaps that have TFM not less than 75%.  

It’s a Wrap

Buying soaps can be considered insignificant. We hardly pay much attention to it, but taking care of the external body is equally essential. Choosing a good quality soap is crucial to achieving healthy, supple, and deeply cleansed skin. To know more about Total Fatty Matter and the right soap for you, connect with a dermatologist. 


  1. How much total fatty matter is good for your skin?

To begin with, a soap that has a higher TFM value is always the best. Bureau of Indian Standards has categorised soaps into Grade 1, 2 and 3. While shopping, always look for Grade 1 soaps that have a minimum of 76% TFM.

  1. What makes total fatty matter important?

It is a parameter that determines the quality of soap. The good quality ones have a high TFM percentage and the ability to make skin soft and deeply cleansed. 

  1. What are toilet soaps?

Toilet soaps have better moisturising and cleansing properties. These soaps comprise animal fat or vegetable oils with an alkali such as sodium hydroxide. 



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Chaitali Nayak

A writer and a skincare fanatic, Chaitali believes that words and kindness can transform the world. She has a master’s degree in Advertising & Public Relations and has worked for various advertising agencies and digital marketing firms. With the help of expert dermatologists at CureSkin, she works towards creating content that helps eliminate misinformation related to skincare. The aim is to educate yet bring something exciting and new every time for the readers. When not busy writing, you can find her talking to her plants, eating, drawing or watching movies.