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Traditional soap making in Iqlim al-Kharrub towards extinction


Al Mustaqbal newspaper today shed light on the making of traditional handcrafted soap in Iqlim al-Kharrub and which had once flourished in the villages of the district for its multiple benefits and useful components based on pure olive oil. Today, the industry is waning with the diminishing number of craftspersons who inherited it from their ancestors, and with growing consumption of commercial soaps easily obtainable at shops and vendors, Al Mustaqbal wrote. This trade directly depends on the olive yield, according to Ali Fawwaz who makes ‘baladi’ soap (conventional). Fawwaz said he learned the skill from his mother but did not employ it as a means to secure his livelihood. He gave the reporter the unique recipe for making conventional soap. First, the water is boiled in a large metal cauldron after which olive oil and tar are added and stirred roughly for 6 hours for consistency. Then, the mixture is poured in a special wooden tray and placed on a smooth surface and left for one day to harden before it is ready to be cut into small equal pieces, Fawwaz boasted. Soap making is a simple and inexpensive trade but requires plenty of time and effort, Fawwaz explained, demanding government backing to this vanishing industry. Besides the numerous benefits of the traditional soap, Fawwaz revealed a sneaky tip followed by many women in Iqlim al-Kharrub, which is to sprinkle soap skin or rind on the carpet at the end of the winter season as a proven deodorizer and moth repellent. (Al Mustaqbal, January 10, 2018)

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