So if you've read my other Vocals on here, you know that I'm a big component of being clean. I've written about washing and showering and as important as those things are, what you use to wash your skin is equally as important.
Soap. There is so much soap on the market. From bar soap to liquid soap, soap is such a vital part of one's daily hygiene. Since you use it (daily I hope), you probably don't give it a second thought to its history. All you know or care about is that it is used to wash and you've got options.
Well, there is so much more to that bar or liquid soap than meets the eye. Here are some fun soap facts:
1. Soap has been around for over 4,800 years. It has been noted that the ancient Egyptians used a substance that was similar to our modern soap.
2. The name “soap” is derived from the fictional Mount Sapo, which is a fiction mountain said to be near Rome and is mentioned in an ancient Roman legend.
3. In the nineteenth century, Italy, Spain and France were the soap capitals of the world. They loved them some soap!
4. In 1865, An American by the name of William Sheppard received a patent for the first liquid soap. It was not like the liquid soap we know today, but rather a viscous, syrupy substance. The soap was mainly used in hospitals and restaurant kitchens.
5. In 1927, P&G was one of the first soap brands to spend money on advertising by sponsoring radio broadcasts and advertising its soap products to housewives.
6. In 1964, An American entrepreneur by the name of Robert Ridgely Taylor invented and developed hundreds of variants of the common bar of soap at his own kitchen table.
7. In 1980, the same Taylor invented liquid soap. This new soap could easily be pumped from the bottle using a dispenser. He called it, "Cream Soap on Tap." The soap was sold as a luxury product in beautiful ceramic dispensers that very soon became a huge success!
8. He was also the creator of Softsoap and had a dispenser developed with a plastic cap to cover the pump. This meant no additional packaging was needed and the product was able to be be put on store shelves as is.
9. In 1989, a man from Taiwan named Guey-Chuan Shiau invented the automatic soap dispenser. With it, Shiau sought to improve hygiene in public toilets. Today, automatic soap dispensers are found in more and more public toilets. Who knew those things have been around that long?
10. The most expensive soap in the world cost $2800 and is because it is a single bar of Qatar soap produced by a family-run business in Lebanon. It is a bar infused with gold and diamond powder, hence, is why it’s so pricey.
11. Bar soap is the most environmentally friendly and biodegradable ingredient in the world. It is made from alkali and animal fat (tallow).
12. Soap used to be for the rich. During the 1500s-1700s, soap was revered among the rich. The switch from animal fats to vegetable oils was vital in the history of soap. It produced a better smell, and the Silk Road company, a famous soap company at the time, globalized two types of soap: Syrian Aleppo soap and Spanish Castile soap. These factors made soap a coveted and expensive item.
13. Procter and Gamble created the first perfumed ivory soap.
14. Most soap today isn't real soap. After discovering a synthetic cleaning product, German chemists created detergents as a soap alternative in the early 20th century. Compared to true soaps that have a gummy deposit, detergents are smoother and easily create suds. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are very few “true soaps” on the commercial retail market. So if you want true soap, you'll have to go the homemade route because homemade soap makers are more likely to go searching for detergent free ingredients to make soap out of.
So now that you know some quick facts about the soap you use, my hope is that you enjoy your favorite soap even more.