What is Alep soap?

Alep is the oldest type of soap that is still made traditionally and can be used for many purposes. It is completely biodegradable and is therefore an environmentally friendly alternative to many synthetic soaps. In this article you will find the history of Alep soap, information about its use for grooming, symptom relief for all kinds of skin problems and the use of Alep soap in the household.

What is Alep?

Alep is the first hard soap ever made. It originates from the city of Aleppo (Halab) in Syria. They are large blocks of soap with a green to brown color. Often they only have a paper wrapper. The strong odor is very typical. This type of soap is mainly distributed by health food stores or Internet stores with special soaps and is 100% natural and biodegradable.

History

Alep soap was invented by the Mesopotamians in present-day Syria. Thanks to the Crusaders it became widespread. Liquid soaps were used at the time, but solid soap was unknown in the rest of the world. The production process was soon imitated and other types of soap were also created, such as Marseille soap. That is why Alep soap is sometimes called the “mother of soaps”.

Composition and production

Alep has been made the same way for 4,000 years. The composition has not changed over the centuries: only olive oil, bay berry oil, water, soda and sea salt are still used. The soap is still prepared in copper kettles.
First, the olive oil is saponified with water and soda lye. Then the mixture is boiled and washed several times. The bayberry oil is added before cooling. The pasta is then manually cut into typical blocks. Only after a maturing process of 9 months in full sun is the soap ready for use.

Usage

The soap can be used for different purposes. It is strongly disinfectant, cleansing and protective. Below are a number of possible applications:

Personal care

Alep leaves a protective layer after washing. It does not dry out the skin and helps the skin recover. It can be used daily for the hands, the rest of the body and the hair (helps against flakes). It has an analgesic, calming and healing effect on irritation. It can be used for various skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis or dry skin. You can also use Alep as a toothpaste and against canker sores.

House and garden

Alep soap can be used for all kinds of household purposes. It is a mild soap with an antibacterial effect and is also suitable against fungi. The big advantage is that your hands are not damaged and you therefore do not have to wear gloves. It is also not irritating when inhaled, unlike many traditional cleaning products. Moreover, it is very environmentally friendly because it is completely degradable.
Below are some examples:

  • You can clean wooden floors with lukewarm soapy water containing Alep soap. This way they get a protective layer and they are clean.
  • Wooden furniture does not need wax if you use Alep soap. Make lukewarm soapy water with Alep soap and use terry cloth (an old washcloth or a piece of an old towel, for example). Rub the soap in with circular movements. Then wipe off with lukewarm water. If necessary, rub it with (organic) baby oil or vegetable oil. Dry it with terry cloth.
  • You can treat leather furniture and clothing in the same way as wooden furniture. This way the leather remains supple for longer and is less likely to crack.
  • You can treat mold spots in the bathroom or kitchen, for example, with warm soapy water containing Alep soap.
  • You can wash all textiles with Alep. It is especially suitable for linen, baby clothes and lingerie. For people with sensitive skin, washing clothes with Alep soap reduces irritation (caused by contact with laundry washed with some traditional detergents) and prevents irritation.
  • You can also clean carpets with Alep soap. Rub in lukewarm soapy water and let it wait a while. Then wipe with a damp cloth. Repeat until the dirty spots are gone. If you have a vacuum cleaner that can suck up water, you can wet the carpet with the soapy water and rub it briefly (do not rub too hard or you will spread the stains) and then absorb the soapy water with the vacuum cleaner.
  • You can also nourish natural stone with Alep soap.
  • Alep is also good against pests. Hot soapy water helps against ants or other pests in the house. Pour hot soapy water along the opening through which the pests enter (possibly directly onto the openings of the ant nest if they are close to the house). Repeat several times a day. Before opening, clean the floor daily with Alep soap until the vermin no longer enter. You can also use Alep against moths: a bar of soap in the wardrobe keeps moths away.

 

Others

  • A bar of (Sunlight) soap in bed is recommended against calf cramps. If you hold a bar of soap against your calves, the cramp will disappear. This might have something to do with the bases in the soap. Alep soap can also be used for this. You can place the soap bar in a washcloth at the foot end.
  • You can also use Alep soap to clean brushes. The hairs are not damaged.
  • You can also use Alep as a disinfectant to wash out wounds, for example.

 

Real Alep soap?

You can recognize real Alep soap by the stamp of the manufacturer. The cubes also do not have straight shapes because they are cut manually and dried outside (as a result, the surface is often softly wrinkled instead of smooth; the sides are often smooth). It also has a very distinctive scent. If you have any doubts about the authenticity, it is best to buy from a dealer who guarantees the origin.

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