The Fun & Surprising History of Cleaning Products

With all the options you have available today, you likely don’t really think about how home maintenance looked decades and centuries ago. From cheap and effective agents to complex products and the ease of finding a Lacey, WA House Cleaning service to help you, house maintenance has never been easier.

But the history of housekeeping, especially that of how products came to be, is a rather interesting one. Read on more about how they came to be and what they looked like long ago.

What was the first ever cleaning product?

Soap is considered to be the first ever product. While today there seems to be a different product for every type of chore, it wasn’t always like that. Not long ago, soap was used just the same to wash your hands, wash your clothes, and effectively scrub your children’s rooms clean.

Due to how easy it is to make, there is no data on soap’s original inventors or the place of origin. The earliest record dates back almost three millennia ago. People made sand by mixing lye and oils or animal fats and then cooking the mixture.

This formula is not too different from how soap is made today, actually. Soap still makes a valuable substance even today, and many products contain it, back then it was the only one. People cleaned using tools, naturally available agents, and the tips on dos and don’ts of keeping your home clean which they learned from one another.

How did ancient people clean their homes?

It’s very natural for humans to want to keep themselves and their living spaces clean. It’s almost an instinct. This means humans as species have used all kinds of means to aid themselves in tidying up. Before modern products and tools, disinfectants, and even soap, what did people use to keep their homes nice and tidy?


Even though soap is considered to be the first agent, water was around for way longer than that. Humans are greatly dependent on water, and that’s why we always sought to inhabit spaces close to water sources.

For many kinds of housekeeping, water is a pretty good aid. It removes a lot of dirt, and if combined with proper tools, is oftentimes all the help you’d need. People were aware of this a long time ago, and although the standards weren’t the same as today, they had a way of keeping their living spaces in good shape using just water.


Very much present in nature, sand is one of the oldest aids. It’s not chemically reactive, so it doesn’t really dissolve the dirt or kill germs, but it is abrasive. Due to this feature, it was used to scrub away grime and dirt from surfaces, and in that, it is pretty effective.

It was used to wash pretty much everything from hands to floors. Even though abrasive products can be damaging, the chemical stability it possesses makes sand very safe. 

Wood ash

Even before the discovery of soap, wood ash was used to clean, either dry or in the form of lye. Since people used direct fire both to cook and to heat up space, there was no scarcity of ash. Like sand, it is abrasive, but unlike it, it is chemically active.

It can be mixed with water to create a paste, or mixed with water and left to sit for a few days to create lye. Due to the natural properties which never got completely outdated, many people that care about ecology and prioritize safety when doing household chores still use wood ash today.

Who are the best and most professional Lacey, WA house cleaners?

If you’d rather spend your day off enjoying the nature of Olympic National Park than doing all those daunting housekeeping tasks, American Maid Service of Olympia is just a call away. 

With decades of experience and thousands of happy clients, we are sure to grant all your requests. We guarantee our expert cleaners will treat your home with extreme care and attention to detail. Reach out for more details!