What did people use before soaps came to existence?

by Shivangini Raje Agrawal
(Kerala, India)

I was working on a history of soap making. I would like to know :

1. What did people, especially in India use before soaps came into existence, for cleaning the body and clothes and surroundings etc..?
2. How did soap making become a commercial practice?

I would also love to know anything more about the history of soap making.


Good questions! Unfortunately, I have no idea as to the answers.

Good luck,


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People in India used...
by: Sumedha

People in India used combination of powdered herbs and flours like besan,wheat, masur etc. called utane or ubtan to bathe. Clothes were washed with soapnut extract (derived by boiling or soaking overnight). Hair was washed using decoction of herbs like Shikakai, Soapnut, Amla etc.

soap history
by: Anonymous

There is a plant called soap plant in northwest
usa which is reported to be poisonous.
So it cannot be the thing used by natives as
a cleaning material, because the plant would have hurt like poisonous ivy.
They also used soap nut/soap berry(sapindus)
which was used in asia even 3000 years back along with Shikakkai, Injai fibre/bark of the creaper,
Hibiscus leaves and such info is available in Tamil/Malayalam/Sanskrit literature.
Like many other house hold materials,Soap was not
invented as claimed by Europe, but it was just
what happens in nature like formation of copper sulphate over a copper vessel.

Thank you!
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much! :)

Soap Weed
by: ken

The native indians throughout the United States had a plant that is actually now considered a weed. When rolled and pressed by the hands secreated a fluid that would actually foam up and cleanse the hands and body. Check with the tribes in Eureka Calif. that still today use the plant.

by: Anonymous

I am thinking of taking an online class on making soaps because I have never tried making cp soaps the class will be teaching about making other soaps I also want to have better knowledge of what I am doing I do not know why I am nervous to try making cp soaps on my own I have read and watched so many videos I do also want to take an Aromatherapy class please tell me if I can do that via online or I have to go into a class with one on one training those classes I am about to choose are very reasonable in price from a college that teach a wide vairty of courses i just need some advice before starting.

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