Human beings have long been obsessed with cleanliness.  In fact – it is said – “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”.

Today we take a look at the history of cleaning products and innovations that lead to the chemicals and materials we use every day in the household, commercial and industrial cleaning environments.

The first cleaning cleansing agent to ever be used by humans was water, and it is to this day something everyone uses to wash their hands, dishes, clothes, and more, every single day. Fortunately, we live in a time where we have open access to running water, soaps, detergents and a range of chemicals.

A well-cleaned space and body is vital to our health and wellness as human beings. A clean office means happier, healthier, and more productive employees! A clean home makes for happiness and an all-round calm and peace in the home.

And now onto the history of cleaning products! We hope you will find this informative and interesting.


Soap has been around since 2800 B.C.E.   The ancient Egyptians liked to take baths and they figured out how to add alkaline salts to animal and vegetable oils to create a soap-like material. Along with bathing and washing, they used their soap for treating skin diseases.

Soap got its name from a Roman legend about Mount Sapo. When it would rain, the water would wash down the mountain, mix with animal fat and ashes and created a clay-like mixture.

Eastern cultures have valued cleanliness for a long time and developed sophisticated soaps. They learned to use ashes from particular plants mixed with alkalines to remove grease. Later, they learned to extract saponin — a compound that is used in detergents and fire extinguishers — from the ashes of knotweed and wormwood to clean light coloured fabrics. Honey locust powder was kneaded into balls to clean other types of laundry, and the Chinese word for these balls “feizao” means “soap” and is still used today!

Timeline of Cleaning Products

We found this fascinating infographic on the timeline of cleaning products.  We hope you find it as informative as we did!

Timeline of Cleaning Products

From Visually.