Every morning we would wash my hands with soap several times a day and not think about it, what were washed our ancestors.
Before the invention of modern Soaps, shampoos and various detergents man has learned to use what was given to him by nature. These were substances with high surface activity or natural compounds with high adsorption properties.
In ancient Russia the most common detergent was liquor. For its preparation used the ash. It contains many ions of carbonate and potassium. They create in aqueous alkaline solution (soapy) environment and soften the water. Spruce ash poured key or rain water, advocated the day. Then the solution was filtered, diluted with water and used to wash your hair.
In the old days widely used and plants that contain compounds of complex structure - saponins. They dramatically reduce the surface tension of the water and contribute to the formation of foam. The same is true and soap. On the soap properties of these plants are called soap root, or soapwort.
As detergents in many places used clay substances. It was enough of such clay to RUB the hair or cloth and then rinse under running water.
In developed cities of the Mediterranean learned to cook the soap back in the 1st century BC. It was obtained by digestion of animal fat with concentrate liquor or soda.
In Europe the soap came in the 17th century. It was a product is expensive and not readily available, produced in small quantities. This soap industry has evolved to the 19th century. The process of industrial production of this important detergent based on the hydrolysis of fat in an alkaline environment. Thus formed and a mixture of salts of higher fatty acids. After additional processing, it becomes different varieties of soap.