Wednesday Words & Phrases: Ammonia

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Potentially Camel Pee. Read below.


The cleaning agent that we use today actually was named forĀ  the temple of Ammon at Siwa in the Libyan desert. The temple was visited by thousands of pilgrims over the years, each left their camels tied up in the near vicinity. Over the course of centuries the sand soaked up thousands of gallons of camel urine.

In 106 BC the Romans took over the site and turned it into a garrison. Soldiers digging new foundations came across large, foul smelling crystals in the ground. They were shipped back to Rome for study. Eventually a use was found for the cleaning power of the crystals, now dubbed ammonia. Eventually they found their way into daily Roman life for things such as laundry and oral hygiene. (Don’t think about it too much.)