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This paper seeks to examine the historical origins and development, the manufacturing and use of soap; it begins by defining the meaning of soap, describing how it looks and its use. Soap is basically a chemical material used to clean hands. The research carried out by Aftalion traces the history of the use of soap back to 2800 BC, to the times of biblical narratives where the children of Israel were expected to clean their bodies and utensils, the Babylonians, Mesopotamia and Egyptian. It has been suggested that the term soap is derived from an ancient Roman legend, from Mount Sapo where animals were being sacrificed. The word soap is a Latin word for sapo, although it was originally invented by the Babylonians. The Babylonians combined the use of animal fats, with wood ash to produce a substance for cleaning utensils and was mainly used in textile industries.

The emergence of the industrial revolution brought new ideas in the making of soap with the advancement of scientific knowledge the liquid soap was invented in 1800 for laundry and industrial purposes. Today, soap is being used for commercial, industrial and personal purposes. Scientifically, soaps have been produced from vegetable and animal oils and fats mixed with strong alkaline solution. Today, the same methods for producing soap is being used, through the chemical reactions of mixing animal and vegetable oils of fats which is dissolved in water to produce a new substance, being referred to as a soap.

Soap is useful in many ways, such as washing clothes, bathing and general cleaning. During the use, the soap often allows the insoluble particles to dissolve and become soluble in water after which it is rinsed off. Watkinson, states that soap has been widely used as surface active detergent to remove hard surfactants, although, it sometimes becomes disadvantageous to soap sufferers, causing irritations and itchiness. There are many types of soaps which come in liquid forms, powder or bar, some are meant to be used as divergent to fight against bacteria (antibacterial) and others for general cleaning. Health scientists have found out that using soaps and other personal care products are useful for fighting against skin dryness, itching and stinging and other skin related diseases.

In conclusion, this paper has looked at the history of soap as a washing detergent tracing it back to the Babylonian times. Today, soap is widely used in varied forms such as liquid, bar and power for bathing, cleaning utensils, and laundry work and commercial/industrial purposes. It is effective not just in removing dirt but fighting against skin related diseases.