The history of soap’s beginnings

Posted on Mar 5, 2021      233

What was soap like before?

The need to keep one’s body clean has been present since the beginning of human civilization. Already the primitive people discovered the washing properties of ashes.

It is believed that the word soap (in English “soap”) got its name from the ancient Roman mountain Sapo. At one time, the ancient Romans made sacrifices on that mountain. There after the victims were burned, animal fat was accumulated and mixed with the ash from the fire. Streams of rain washed this mixture into the Tiber River, in which the laundry was washed. One day the aborigines noticed that the mass of fat and ash was more effective in washing the laundry. This is how soap was born.

The forgotten recipe for soap was rediscovered by the Arabs. Daily ablutions were a sacred procedure for these people. The Arabs were the first to discover the secret of hard soap. The famous Arab scientist Jabir Ibn Hayyan is considered being its creator. Using goat fat, potash (that is a dry residue that is steamed from the solution of wood ash), lime oil, seaweed ash, he could create a hard soap.

Thus, animal fat, ash, salt and soda were the basic compositions of soap of that era. However, such soap was only suitable for washing laundry. But liquid soap based on soda and wood ash was widely used for cosmetic and medical purposes. For example, hair was styled with it.

Thanks to the evolution and development of many technologies, other substances with a detergent effect, flavorings, dyes and powders were added to soap to give it certain properties. It is impossible to say definitely that this is a good thing, because now when choosing soap in stores you have to carefully look at the composition.

Teg:   soap  ash  fat