I know What Soap Is, But How Does It Actually Work?

Posted by jeff on 6/23/2010 to Soaps
A popular activity for many people is soap making. Soap making is a fun way to make your own, unique soap. But how does soap actually work, and will you be doing it the right way if you make it on your own?

The most simple way I can think of to explain how soap works is that soaps have sodium and potassium fatty acids salt in them. The fatty acid salts produce a chemical reaction known as saponification. They have strands of molecules that like water, and some strands that don't like water. Because they are able to work with and against water, soap is able to work well with both water and oil.

Soap has hydrophillic heads that work well with water. They also have long, hydrophobic chains that join well with the oil. The particles of oil are then suspended from the water, making it easier to remove.

After oil is suspended it will detach from whatever substance it was holding on to. So if oil was on a pot, it would be able to be separated from it and be rinsed away with water. Soap allows you to get the item clean.

Grease is similar to oil. It is insoluble in water and needs soap to separate it from the water. The non-polar hydrocarbon molecules breaks up the grease molecules and all the dirt, grime, or oil that was part of the grease becomes unattached. The grease is then free to be rinsed away from the item.

Soaps are popular for cleaning. They are great for cleaning hands and cleaning items with dirt. Dirt is all over the place, and soap allows us to get dirt off easily and clean the skin or item in the process.

Soaps are now being fitted with anti-bacterial. Anti-bacterial does more than clean. It actually kills the germs, so that you have a much lower risk of getting sick. Anti-bacterial soap is very important after using the restroom, or when you are handling food or are sick.

Soap making is a great opportunity for people to make their own soap. The soap you make on your own should, if done properly, still be able to have the same cleaning properties. The difference is that you will have the pleasure and opportunity of  soap making for yourself.