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Author Topic: Who invented soap? What did ancient humans use? Was it safe/Did it work?  (Read 2380 times)

Offline Musicforawhile

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I wouldn't mind trying more natural sources to clean with  :D
« Last Edit: 10/11/2014 18:06:35 by Musicforawhile »


 

Offline alancalverd

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Soap has been around for at least 5000 years in the Middle East. It's about as natural a surfactant as you can get, though

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Many plants produce significant quantities of saponins (steroid or triterpenoid glycosides) which have surfactant properties. One such plant is the soapwort Saponaria officianalis whose foliage yields a glycoside capable of wetting, foaming and grease dispersion - the very qualities that we recognise in a modern detergent. It is likely that the saponins provided our ancestors with our first useful surfactants. These natural glycosides are still in use today for specialised processes such as washing delicate fabrics.

The head on beer is formed by natural saponins. Given the choice, I think bathing in Guinness would be preferable to asses' milk, and probably get you cleaner.
 

Offline cheryl j

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A good wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soap

I would think since you can make it from ashes and animal fat, two things that would be found together once you started cooking meat, that is how people discovered it. And maybe washing had benefits of removing food and slaughtered animal residue, that kept bugs away.  I've never really read much about cleaning practices in stone age cultures, if there were any. If you're hunting, though, the less scent, the better, unless it's the same scent as the animal you are hunting.
 

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