History of Soaps:
According to a Roman legend, soap got its name from the Mount Sapo. It is stated that animals were sacrificed at Mount Sapo and when it used to rain it washed the melted animal fat and wood ashes into the clay soil alongside the River Tibet. Women who used to go there find that material to be useful for washing and cleaning.
Origin of soaps dates back to prehistoric times. Since water is renowned for its cleansing properties, even early people used to live near water for that purpose. Evidence of soapy material found in the cylinders during the excavation of Babylon tells us that soap manufacturing has been known since 2800 B.C. A document named Ebers Papyrus from 1500 B.C. states that Egyptians used to mix animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts to make a soap-like material which was used to treat skin diseases and for washing.
Bathing advanced with the advancement of Roman civilization. First ever Roman baths were built in 312 B.C. Germans are also known to dye their hair red with a soap-like material made of tallow and ashes. By the second century A.D., a Greek physician recommended soap for cleansing and medicinal purposes. After the fall of Rome in 467 A.D, most of Europe realized the impact of filth on health due to declined bathing habits. This and related unhealthy living conditions were a major cause of plagues of Middle Ages.
Manufacturing of soap was an established craft in Europe by the end of 7th century. Initially, animal and vegetable oils were mixed with ashes and fragrance. However, other products for shaving, shampooing, bathing, and laundering were also introduced later. English began making soap in the 12th century. Major large scale manufacturing began in 1791 when Nicholas Leblanc patented a process of making soda ash from common salt. Later in the 19th century, soap was taxed in several countries and was a luxury item to elite class only. With the lift of taxes in the 20th century, soap was made available to the common man.
Right Way to use soap:
Use of soaps for cleaning purposes is an effective way to get rid of germs and avoid falling sick because of bacterial invasions and to prevent germs spread. Centers for Disease Control suggest the following procedure for effective hand washing:
- First of all, wet your hands with warm water or as desired and add soap.
- Gently rinse the soap and rub your hands to make a soapy leather. Wash both sides of the hands one by one and keep rubbing for at least 20 seconds.
- Keep rinsing your hands for well enough time under the running water.
- Use a clean towel or a hand drier to dry your hands.
- Use a clean paper towel to turn off the tap and then dispose of it properly.
Uses of soaps other than cleansing:
You might be surprised to know that soaps aren’t limited to cleaning purposes. Because of their waxy and greasy nature, they are often used for other purposes or you can say DIY tricks. Let’s take a round of unique ideas to where soap can be used.
- Often driving nails into wood results in splitting. This is no more a problem if you rub the nails over a soap bar prior to use. Also, you can swirl the screws over a soap bar to turn them easily.
- Another typical problem is using a saw to cut the wood. Often it is resistant and hazardous when the wood is too hard or wet. But if you coat a thin layer of soap over the blade, you can even cut a straight line into the toughest of the woods.
- Setting up caulk beads is a tricky business, especially when the size is tiny. Use a moistened finger with soap to handle and apply the beads.
- Mixture of soap with warm water is an effective sponging agent to remove wallpaper glues.
- When you have drawers with sticking metal rails, they often tend to become dry and rough and cause trouble while drawing out and putting in. You can use soap to lubricate such rails for a smoother usage.
- Windows sills are often dirty and rusting and difficult to be cleaned with a regular sponge or instrument. To make it easier, use a wet soap bar and run it along the edges and then wipe it with a wet sheet or towel.
- Gardening is a hobby for many people. A very common problem is bugs and how to keep them away from destroying plants. You don’t need to spend a fortune over bug repellants and expensive chemicals. Mix soap in water and spray the solution under leaves and the bugs are gone.
- Soaps have a very effective use in house safety as well. A mixture of soap with water can be used to detect gas leaks. Rub the mixture over suspected pipe joints, and if the bubbles are formed, that means you need to get them fixed.
Mystery of Anti-Bacterial and Regular soaps:
Regular soap is designed to lessen the surface tension of water and to lift the dirt and oil off the surfaces and make it easier to be rinsed away. They are effective in removing bacteria and germs. Anti-Bacterial soaps have just one addition of antimicrobial agents. It has been an extensive debate on whether anti-bacterial soaps are better and more effective than regular soaps or not.
Both CDC and FDA have evidently stated that anti-bacterial soaps are no more effective than regular soaps. FDA has even demanded antibacterial product manufacturers to prove that the chemicals are effective and safer for long term continuous usage.
Since antibacterial soaps have stronger action powers, they are said to be more effective in healthcare units where patients’ immune systems are weakened. The high volume of alcohol in hand sanitizers are effective for use where there is no access to water and regular soaps. On the other hand, excessive use of such products can reduce the number of healthy skin bacteria which aid antibiotics to fight against new bacterial superbug streams.
Regular soaps, on contrary to all this debate, are said to be as effective as antibacterial soaps and are less expensive. Their excess use also does not affect the number of healthy bacteria on the skin but they aren’t as portable as hand sanitizers.
This debate is never-ending and can be prolonged as much as one wants. However, we must not deviate from the real purpose of staying clean and healthy. Whether we use regular soap or an antibacterial, we need to be adaptive and regular in cleansing.
Soaps, manufacturing, and packaging:
Soap manufacturing, selling, and distribution is a million dollars industry worldwide. Latest stats show that the industry is valued around 20 million US dollars. This states for a high competition for manufacturers and a wide variety of options for the consumers.
Packaging or presentation is an essential of soap industry like every other. If you want to make yourself stand out in such a complex situation you need to come up with a unique presentation and packaging.
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