Which Ancient Civilization Made Soap?

Soap is a common household item today – we use it to keep ourselves clean, wash our clothes, and even clean our dishes. But have you ever wondered who invented soap?

Which ancient civilization first realized the benefits of this amazing product? In this article, we’ll explore the origins of soap and discover which ancient civilization made it.

Origins of Soap

Soap has been around for thousands of years – in fact, the earliest evidence of soap-making dates back to ancient Babylon around 2800 BC. The Babylonians discovered that combining animal fats with wood ash created a substance that could be used to clean textiles and skin. They called this substance “soap” and it quickly spread throughout the ancient world.

Which Ancient Civilization Made Soap?

While the Babylonians were certainly early pioneers in soap-making, they were not the only civilization to discover its benefits. In fact, historians now believe that several other ancient cultures also made soap independently around the same time period.

Ancient Egyptians

One such civilization was ancient Egypt. The Egyptians used a combination of animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts to create soap-like substances for cleaning purposes. They also used these substances for medicinal purposes, such as treating skin diseases and wounds.

Ancient Greeks

The ancient Greeks were also known to use soap-like substances for cleaning. They made their soap using a mixture of water, olive oil, and lye – a caustic substance derived from wood ash. The Greeks believed that cleanliness was essential for good health and hygiene, so they placed great importance on bathing regularly.


The Romans also made soap using similar methods as the Greeks. They used a mixture of tallow (animal fat) and ashes to create their soap products. In fact, some historians believe that the word “soap” actually comes from the Latin word “sapo,” which referred to a specific type of soap made by the Romans.


While it’s difficult to say for certain which ancient civilization made soap first, it’s clear that many cultures around the world discovered its benefits around the same time period. From ancient Babylon to Egypt, Greece, and Rome, soap has been an essential part of human hygiene and cleanliness for thousands of years. Today, we continue to use soap in much the same way as our ancient ancestors – proof that some things truly never go out of style.