What is the most important medicine in the world? This medicine has saved more people than virtually all others.
Soap has had a long history, and we are proud to say that one of the places of origins is Egypt. Origins of cleanliness developed in Egypt 2500 years ago. The Egyptians harnessed water and brought this into central baths. Indeed it was a privilege to have access to these facility.
Grand beauty was thought to come to those who bathed. Cleopatra had here own special recipe for baths, including Milk and rose petals to make her skin silky clean. Unbeknownst at the time was that bathing and soap could stop the spread of disease.
The wide spread use of soap actually took place beginning in England During this time England was afoul of vermin, germs and death.
“Soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants” (Osler)
Soap was sold not as a means for health, but rather a product of beauty. It was only much later that soap was used for hygienic purposes.
“What is elegance? Soap and water” Beaton
How does soap save lives? With infectious diseases they are spread through many different means, Person to person contact, contact with objects such as sheets. Soap reduced the transmission of bacteria a germs, breaking the chain. Here is a nice discussion for the mechanisms