WASHING (Heb. rāhats, kāvas, Gr. niptō, louō, loutron). Frequent bathing was necessary in the warm climate of the East. In Egypt, Syria, and Palestine people washed the dust from their feet when they entered a house (Gen.18.4; John.13.10). Ceremonial defilement was removed by bathing the body and washing the clothing (Lev.14.8; Num.19.7-Num.19.8). The priests washed their hands and feet before entering the sanctuary or offering a sacrifice (Exod.30.19-Exod.30.21). In the time of Christ the Jews did much ceremonial washing of hands before eating (Mark.7.3-Mark.7.4) and used public baths as the Greeks and Romans did.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The "washing balls" of Susanna verse 17 (smegma, a very rare word) were of soap.

See Soap.