The History of Soap Making

The exact history of soap making tends to be debated by many historians. Over the years, some folklore has gradually evolved into "factual" occurrences. On this page; I will give you only the known truth in a time-line format.

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2200 B.C. - Although it is believed by many that soap's history actually began around 2800 B.C. in Babylonia (where historians found a barrel containing a soap-like substance) unarguable proof of soaps existence was first provided by a 2200 B.C. Mesopotamian clay tablet with an actual soap recipe inscribed on it. This ancient soap making technique described mixing potash and oils to form a cleaning agent.

1500 B.C. - Egyptian manuscripts describe a matter created by combining animal fats and vegetable oils to create a soap-like substance. The ancient documents go on to explain another type of soap that is used in the production of wool.

200 A.D. - The very first allusion to soap making in literature occurred by a famous Greek physician named Galen.

600 A.D. - soap making guilds were formed and the modern formula for soap that we use today was created.

900 A.D. - soap started to be produced commercially and sold for .3 Dinars per bar.

c1700-c1800 A.D. - During the industrial revolution, soap began its production in factories and stopped being produced in the home kitchen.

Currently - Soap is being produced in the same way as it was centuries ago after the industrial revolution. As almost all people in this modern age purchase and use commercially manufactured soaps, the history of soap making is at somewhat of a standstill.

Some people, known as natural homemade soap makers, have a goal to revisit history, and construct the wonderful, natural and moisturizing soap of old without the harmful chemical additives that commercialization has brought forth.

Return from the history of soap making to how to make soap. Return to the soap making resource home page.