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“Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.” That’s what the CDC has advised all Americans to do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during this pandemic.
It’s common-sense advice. The surfactants found in soap lift germs from the skin, and water then washes them away. Soap is inexpensive and ubiquitous; it’s a consumer product found in every household across the country. Yet few people know it was mainly a laundry product until after the Civil War.
Soap is made by combining fat and an alkaline substance such as lye. Wouldn't you love to find out who first decided to combine these things, and what they were trying to achieve? Read what history professor Judith Ridner knows about soap's messy origins at The Conversation. LINK