|Some or all of this article's listed sources may not be reliable. (July 2013)|
It is commonly believed[by whom?] that the Crusaders brought Aleppo soap back to Europe with them in the 11th century, based on the claim that the earliest soap made in Europe was just after the crusades, but in fact the Romans in the first century AD knew about soap and Zosimos of Panopolis ca. 300 AD described soap and soapmaking. Following the Crusades, production of this soap extended to the whole Mediterranean area. The first European soap-making factories were created by Muslims in the 12th century in Spain (Alicante, Malaga, Cartagena and Castile) and in Italy (Naples, Savone, Genoa, Bologna and Venice) and then, in the middle of the 15th century, in Marseille France, giving rise to Marseille soap. John Knight & Co. had a soapworks at Wapping in London; one of the company's products was Knight's Castile soap which is still in production.
Early soap-makers in Europe did not have easy access to laurel oil and therefore dropped it from their formulations, thereby creating an olive-oil soap now known as Castile soap.
Importations of "Castile soap" through Antwerp appear in the London port books of 1567–1568, though the Oxford English Dictionary has no references to "Castile soap" earlier than 1616. In his article "A short history of soap", John Hunt maintains that barilla (an impure form of sodium carbonate obtained from halophyte plant ashes that were high in sodium) was boiled with locally available olive oil, instead of with tallow.
Adding brine to the boiled liquor made the soap float to the surface, where the soap-boiler could skim it off, leaving the excess lye and impurities to settle out. While Aleppo soap tends to be green, this produced what was probably the first white hard soap, which hardened further as it aged, without losing its whiteness, forming jabón de Castilla.
- Aleppo soap
- Emanuel Bronner, noted for manufacturing liquid Castile soap with eccentric packaging
- Nabulsi soap
- Vegetarian soap
- Dietz, Brian, ed. (1972). The Port and Trade of Early Elizabethan London: documents. London Record Society.
- Garzena, Patrizia & Tadiello, Marina (2004). Soap Naturally: ingredients, methods and recipes for natural handmade soap; 1st ed. Programmer Publishing. ISBN 0-9756764-0-7
- Soap (data) from www.pharmj.com; Retrieved May 2009. Paid registration required.
- Partington, James R. (1960) A History of Greek Fire and Gunpowder. Cambridge: Heffer. Republished: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8018-5954-9 p. 307
- Castile Soap Recipes - Make your own Castile Soap
- Hunt, John A. (1999). "A short history of soap", The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol. 263, No. 7076, pp. 985–989. Paid registration required.