When Was Soap Made? The Sudsy Origins.

The origins of soap date back to ancient times. It is believed to have been discovered accidentally when animal fats combined with ashes from fires used for cooking. Soap has come a long way since its early days as a basic cleaning agent. Today, soap comes in many different varieties, scents, and forms designed to make us feel clean, refreshed, and nourished. To fully understand the story behind soap and its sudsy origins, let’s dive into the history of this product.

The first soap?

According to historical records, the first soap was made in ancient Babylon around 2800 BC. The Babylonians discovered that when the fats of animals and ashes from fires mixed, a substance was produced that could clean skin and clothing.

Ancient Egyptians and Greeks

The ancient Egyptians and Greeks also made soap by combining animal fat and vegetable oil with alkaline salts. They used this soap for personal hygiene, as well as for cleaning clothes and household items. The Greeks also believed that bathing with soap was essential to maintaining good health.

Roman Empire

During the Roman Empire, soap was primarily used as a medicinal product, not as a cleaning agent. The Romans made soap by combining animal fat with ash from plants or salt. They used the soap to treat skin diseases and soothe wounds. The word “soap” comes from the Latin word “sāpō”, which means “soapwort”, a plant commonly used to make soap in Ancient Rome.

Soap in the Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, soap was made using animal fat and alkali, which were boiled together in large pots. The resulting substance was then poured into molds and allowed to cool and harden. Soap was still primarily used for medicinal purposes and was not yet a common household item.

The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution marked a significant change in the production of soap. In the 18th century, soap-making became an industrial process, with companies producing large quantities of soap using chemicals such as lye and sodium carbonate. The invention of the washing machine in the late 19th century led to an increased demand for soap, and companies began to produce soap in various scents and colors for consumer use.

Modern Soap-making

Today, soap-making is a popular hobby, with millions of people making their soap at home using natural ingredients such as essential oils, coconut oil, and shea butter. There are also companies that specialize in producing natural, handmade soap that is both gentle on the skin and environmentally friendly. The variety of soap available today is vast, with scents ranging from lavender to peppermint and forms that include bars, liquids, and even gels.

Soap around the world

Soap is a prevalent product around the world, with each region having its traditional recipes and ingredients for soap-making. For example, African black soap is made from plantain skins, cocoa pod ash, and palm oil. In India, Ayurvedic soap is made using natural ingredients such as coconut oil, aloe vera, and neem. In Japan, Yuzu soap is made using the juice of the Yuzu fruit, which is known for its refreshing citrus scent.

Benefits of soap

Soap is an essential part of our daily lives, and its benefits are numerous. Here are just a few:

  • Cleanses the skin of dirt and bacteria
  • Keeps the skin hydrated and moisturized
  • Helps reduce skin irritation and inflammation
  • May help prevent acne and other skin conditions
  • Can be scented to lift the mood

The future of soap-making

The future of soap-making looks bright, with many companies focusing on producing natural, sustainable, and eco-friendly soap products. Soap-makers are also creating unique scents and forms of soap, from soaps that resemble cupcakes or fruit to soaps that glow in the dark. As consumers become more aware of the impact of their choices on the environment, the demand for eco-friendly soap products is likely to grow.


Soap has come a long way from its days as a simple cleaning agent made from animal fat and ashes. Today, soap serves a myriad of purposes, from cleansing the skin and treating skin conditions to lifting our mood with a pleasant scent. As we continue to evolve and seek out products that are both effective and non-toxic, the future of soap-making looks bright.


When was soap first discovered?

Soap was first discovered in ancient Babylon around 2800 BC.

What is soap made of?

Soap is typically made of animal fat or vegetable oil, combined with an alkali such as lye.

What are the benefits of using soap?

  • Cleanses the skin of dirt and bacteria
  • Keeps the skin hydrated and moisturized
  • Helps reduce skin irritation and inflammation
  • May help prevent acne and other skin conditions
  • Can be scented to lift the mood

What is the difference between handmade soap and commercial soap?

Handmade soap is typically made using natural ingredients, such as essential oils and coconut oil, while commercial soap is often made with synthetic ingredients and chemicals that may be more harsh on the skin.

What are some natural ingredients used in soap-making?

Natural ingredients commonly used in soap-making include coconut oil, shea butter, essential oils, and aloe vera.


  • https://www.soaphistory.net/
  • https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/history-of-soap-making-517166
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323380
  • https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/magazine/2019/03-04/history-of-soap-human-civilization-cleanliness/

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