History of Soap

Have you wondered How Soap is Made? The History of Soap is actually quite interesting.

Soap is made from combining fats and oils with an alkali. When mixed with water, soap loosens and attracts dirt, allowing it to be washed away.

The earliest known soap-like material was found in the excavation of ancient Babylon and dates back to 2800 B.C. Fats were boiled with ash according to inscriptions found on clay tablets. There are records that show that the Egyptians bathed regularly. In the 8th century, soap making gained popularity in Italy and Spain and gradually spread throughout Europe.

History of Soap
According to some sources, the word soap is derived from ancient Roman story. Animals were sacrificed at Mount Sapo. When the rain washed the animal fat and ashes down unto the banks of the Tiber river, it was found that the clay enabled washing with less effort. “Sapo”, however, is a Latin word which means “soap” and was borrowed from a Celtic or Germanic language.

Modern soap making involves either a hot or cold process. Handmade soap is usually made with the cold process and is still very popular these days.

Most cleaners labeled soap these days are actually detergents. Detergents do not contain any soap and are chemically synthesized from raw material. The demand for detergents grew as ingredients for soap became scarce in World War II.


  1. Anonymous says

    History of Soap Making

    The history of soap making might take us back to almost 2800 B.C. The first finding was done by the archaeologist when they discovered a clay cylinder which was covered by something like soap. This was found out from the remains of the Mesopotamian civilization. The archaeologists were astonished by their finding when they decoded the message which was on the excavated cylinders. It was actually the method of soap making, which described it as boiling of fats along with ashes. But another matter which was left half way was the soap like substances that was seen covering the cylinder. As the cylinders did not indicate the use of this substance the archeologists were left helpless.

    Apart from the Mesopotamian civilization, the archeologists gained more information on soap making from excavations of different civilizations. One such information was received from the Mesopotamian civilization from the artifacts of Pharaoh in different ways of making soap. History of soap making travels a long way. It is also indicated informations received from various books like the medical text which was written by Papyrus. History of soap making also explains different methods of making soap. One such method was to combine vegetable as well as animal fat along with alkaline salts. The substance received finally could be made use of while bathing or it can even treat skin problems.

    History of soap making also lets us know about another fact that the method of soap making was introduced in holy books like Bible also. It was conveyed that the Israelites mixed vegetable oils and ashes to make a substance which was similar to a hair gel. Later in the second century A.D it was the famous physician Alexandria who coined out the commercial use of soap by recommending soap to be used as topical treatment for patients to keep them clean.

    In Greece and Rome people started to use soap to clean themselves. First they rubbed oil all over their body and scrapped oil off with pumice stones or oil instruments, but later soap was used instead. The Gauls and Germans mixed ashes and animal fats and decorated their hair with the substance they got out of it.

    After Renaissance, the Europeans started using soaps widely and for personal hygiene and cleanliness. The way it was made was very similar and did not have any change. The idea of soap making was adopted from the earlier findings. The formula for making soap espoused during the time of Renaissance was very similar to the method adopted early during the American colonist’s time. During these times, first the lye was collected by allowing water to drip along the wood ashes and this substance was mixed with vegetable or animal fat. This was the procedure adopted in soap making.

    The Arabs were wise as they made soap from vegetable oil such as some aromatic oils like thyme oil and vegetable oils. From then the sodium started to be used in soaps which is denoted as NaOH which was first used by them and had a great demand in the market. Later soaps started to be introduced in places like Kufa in Iraq, Nablus in Palestine and even Basra in iraq. Soaps which are famous today are progenies of the soaps which were used by the Arabs long years back. In the early period Arabs made scented soaps in which some of them were hard whereas others were in the liquid form. The Arabs even used special soaps for the purpose of shaving and they were sold widely in Arabia. Some of the recently discovered manuscripts has the importance of soaps and the procedure involved in making soaps in detail. A manuscript discovered recently has in it the method for soap making. It says that sesame oil when mixed with sprinkle of potash, alkali and some lime together and boiled and then cooked could be used as soap after they are poured into moulds and waited till it sets which becomes a hard soap.

    Even today the basic method of making soap is the same as that was used decades back. Due to the excavation of soap like material around the clay cylinders during exploration of Ancient Babylon is the greatest evidence which is available. This interesting discovery lets us know about the time when soap making was introduced, which was almost in the 2800 B.C.

  2. Anonymous says

    Soap is amazing! This was so unexpected to know that soap includes so many products! Now I know that bubbles have so many other ingredients besides soap too……..

  3. mel mira says

    soap is a good product of technology.i use too make soap,a carrot soap and its good to use specially to my skin.it can create you a good and shiny skin.

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