What’s the history?
The earliest known evidence of soap use are Babylonian clay cylinders dating from 2800 BC containing a soap-like substance. A formula for soap consisting of water, alkali and cassia oil was written on a Babylonian clay tablet around 2200 BC.
The Ebers papyrus (Egypt, 1550 BC) indicates that ancient Egyptians bathed regularly and combined animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts to create a soap-like substance. Egyptian documents mention that a soap-like substance was used in the preparation of wool for weaving.
The Arabs made the soap from vegetable oil such as olive oil or some aromatic oils such as thyme oil. Sodium Lye (Al-Soda Al-Kawia) NaOH was used for the first time and the formula hasn’t changed from the current soap sold in the market. From the beginning of the 7th century soap was produced in Nablus (Palestine), Kufa (Iraq) and Basra (Iraq). Arabic soapmakers were the first to color and scent soaps, and wrote instructions on how to mold, cure and cut hard soap.
The word “soap” appears first in a European language in Pliny the Elder‘s Historia Naturalis, which discusses the manufacture of soap from tallow and ashes, but the only use he mentions for it is as a pomade for hair; he mentions rather disapprovingly that among the Gauls and Germans, men were more likely to use it than women