Who Invented Soap?

Michel Eugene Chevreul, a French chemist, was the first person to make soap from fats, glycerin and fatty acids in 1811. The same method is used today with some make up changes. Although soaps existed before that, they did not resemble our current soaps.

soapThe Babylonians are the first civilization in the recorded history to use ‘soaps’. It was around 2800 BC but their documents don’t us give a clear picture as to why the ‘soaps’ were used. An Egyptian medical document of 1500 BC, however, talks of a soap-like substance which was used for washing. The soap of the Egyptians was more like a paste and less like a solid brick.

The ‘soap’ gets its name from a mountain Mount Sapo, whose ash was supposed to have some magical cleansing properties, according to a Roman legend. As the Roman Empire grew, along with it were raised bathing houses. Soaps were common in those bathing houses. They were simple gel made from wood ashes and clay etc. By the 5th century AD the Roman Empire had virtually ceased to exist and with that stopped the development in soaps. There would be no development till the Renaissance.

Nicolas Leblanc made soap from sodium carbonate in 1791. That was 20 years before the birth of the modern soap. Since than, the soaps have essentially remained the same.

Category: Inventions

3 Comments on “Who Invented Soap?”


Kelsey wrote:

How did wood ashes and clay make soap? did it get all bubbly like it does now?

Jocelynne wrote:

Thanks for all the info! really helped me with my science fair project!

Elle wrote:

Thanks for all the helpful info! really helped with my science fair project!

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