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Traditional soap-making factory in Palestine. Source: Meysam Mah’abadi / CC by SA 4.0.

How Ancient Palestinian Soap Is Made (Video)


In the heart of Nablus, Palestine, Ahmed Darwish el Fakhouri continues a time-honored tradition passed down through three generations in his family. At his soap-making factory, he spends his days surrounded by stacks of olive oil soap, waiting for the drying-out period to conclude—a process that takes two to three months. This artisanal craft follows a simple recipe with only three ingredients: olive oil, baking soda, and water. The production process starts with mixing these essential components, forming a smooth concoction. Olive oil, sourced from local groves, infuses the soap with moisturizing properties and a natural fragrance. Baking soda acts as a gentle exfoliant, ensuring a soft feel to the skin. Water is carefully added to create the perfect texture.

Once the mixture is complete, it rests in molds for approximately 30 days to allow for saponification. Afterward, the soap bars are removed and left to air-dry for two to three months. This extended drying period ensures the bars harden properly, resulting in a long-lasting product. The ancient Palestinian olive oil soap, with its handmade process, has garnered reverence and loyalty for centuries. Ahmed Darwish el Fakhouri's continuation of this ancient soap-making practice preserves both heritage and quality for generations to come.

Top image: Traditional soap-making factory in Palestine. Source: Meysam Mah’abadi / CC by SA 4.0.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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