The first archaeological record of soap making comes from around 5000 years ago. The ancient Babylonians made soap by using wood ash to alkaline water and mixing in fats. Prior to this, everyone was just nasty. Actually it's believed that as far back as 12,000 BC or more people would grab a handful of soapwort leaves and use that to scrub themselves. Saponaria, aka Soapwort, aka Bouncing Bett, is a hardy perennial that blooms pink flowers all summer long. The leaves and roots are rich in saponins which produce a lather in water, and can be used in place of modern soap and detergent. The plant itself prefers well drained soil away from water but once established will practically take over. You can propagate soapwart the same way you do daylilies or iris, just lift and separate some rhizomes out, then go plant them somewhere else. There are a couple of ways to use soapwort for cleaning. In a pinch you can crush a few leaves and rub them on your hands, but if you have time there are better ways for a better end result. The end result being a frothy, soapy liquid as opposed to a hard bar of soap. Leaves Crush fresh leaves then toss into a pot of water and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain the liquid, removing the leaves, and then whisk the remaining water until it's nice and frothy. Roots Chop roots into little pieces, then simmer in water for around 20 minutes. Let them cool, then throw them into the blender and add water. Don't get the blender more than half full because this stuff foams. Blend away, then let it sit a few hours or overnight so the foam will go down. You can also just crush them instead of using a blender if you're desperate. Then strain it through cheesecloth or something similar to get all the gibblets out. Now whisk the liquid and you gots foamy soap. Any roots you have left over can be dried and stored for later use.