Palestinian Nabulsi Soap
Nabulsi soap is a type of castile soap produced only in Nablus in the West Bank, Palestine. Its only ingredients are virgin olive oil, water, and mineral salts. Nabulsi soap is made by mixing the powdered ashes of the barilla plant (qilw) which grows along the banks of the River Jordan with locally supplied lime (sheed). The sodium compound is then is heated with water and the olive oil in large copper vats over fermentation pits. The solution of water and the sodium compound becomes increasingly concentrated in a series of forty cycles repeated over eight days. During that time, an oar-shaped wooden tool known as a dukshab is used to stir the liquid soap continuously. The liquid soap is then spread in wooden frames to set. After setting, it is cut into the classic cube shape of Nabulsi soap and stamped with the company’s trademark seal. The soap cubes then undergo a drying process which can last from three months to a year and involves stacking them in ceiling-high structures resembling cones with hollow centers which allow the air to circulate around the cubes.
Only two soap factories survive in Nablus, and they face continuing problems both in terms of the soap’s production and its export. The General Manager of the factory owned by the Touqan family commented in 2008:
“Before 2000, our factory used to produce 600 tons of soap annually. Due to the physical and economic obstacles we face now because of the Israeli occupation – and especially the checkpoints – we produce barely half that amount today.”
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the checkpoints and road blocks set up throughout the West Bank have created problems in the transportation of supplies and material to and from the factories as well as making it difficult for workers to get from their homes to the factories. However, Nabulsi soap is still widely sold in Nablus and the West Bank. It is also exported to Jordan, Kuwait, and Arab-Israeli cities such as Nazareth.
Considered an important aspect of Nablus’s cultural heritage, the preservation of the Nabulsi soap-making industry has been the focus of several local projects, including the restoration and conversion of the old Arafat soap factory into a Cultural Heritage Enrichment Center. The center has research and exhibition facilities and includes a small model soap factory which makes Nabulsi soap using traditional methods.
- Handmade by one of the Original Nablus Families from a 10th Century Recipe.
- Only 3 Ingredients: Olive Oil, Water, & Mineral Salts.
- Crafted in the West Bank in Nablus.
- Made with Olive Oil from Palestine.
- Will Leave Your Skin Feeling Clean and Moisturized.
- Sustainable packaging – Wrapped in paper, no plastic.
||3 x 3 x 2 in
1 bar per order
About 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) tall and 2.25 by 2.25 inches (5.7 by 5.7 cm) wide.
The smell of Nabulsi soap is distinctive, although it is not perfumed.
Approx. 5 oz (due to the manufacturing process, individual weight may vary slightly)
Llacuna is a 501(c)(3) public charity organization.
Sign up for our mailing list
Our EIN is 81-3307708. Your donation is 100% tax deductible.