10 Fun Facts About Soap

It’s easy to tell when people start using Rae’s Premium G3 Beauty Soap — they generally cannot stop talking about soap! And sure, we realize that with its amazing moisturizing formula — packed with goodness such as grape seed oil, Ganoderma lucidum and antioxidant-boosting glutathione — this is certainly more than just your average bar of soap.

But there’s actually a lot more to a humble bar of soap than meets the eye. So, let’s take a look at some fun and interesting facts about the history of soap:

  • The earliest recorded evidence of the production of soap-like materials dates back to around 2800 BC in ancient Babylon. A formula for a soap-like substance, consisting of water, alkali, and cassia oil, was found written on a Babylonian clay tablet that dates back to around 2200 BC.
  • The ancient Egyptians are believed to have bathed regularly and used the combination of animal and plant oils with alkaline salt to produce a soap-like substance.
  • Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder wrote of the Phoenicians using soap as early as 600 B.C.
  • Early soaps were generally used for cleaning clothes and for curing animal hides.
  • It was the Romans who are thought to have first begun using soap on their bodies as part of bathing, and thus spread their soap-making skills across Europe.
  • By the eight century, soap was common in France, Italy, and Spain, but the rest of Europe rarely used it until the 17th century.
  • Soap production began in England around the end of the 12th century. Soap-manufacturers had to pay a heavy tax on all the soap they made.
  • Early soap makers simply boiled a mixture of wood ash and animal fat. A foam substance formed at the top of the pot, and when cooled, it hardened into soap.
  • Around 1790, French chemist Nicolas Leblanc patented a method of making lye from an ordinary salt, replacing the wood ash as an element of soap. Another French chemist, Eugene-Michel Chevreul, discovered the chemistry behind the relationship of glycerin and fatty acids and put the soap-forming process (called in English saponification) into concrete chemical terms in 1823.
  • Soap was manufactured with industrial processes by the end of the 19th century, though people in rural areas continued to make their own soap at home. By 1890, many different types of soap were offered by the five major companies that emerged in the soap industry, these being, Colgate, Morse Taylor, Albert, Pears, and Bailey.

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