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

By Jeffrey Jackson

Soap making is a popular activity for many people. Soap making does leave us wondering one question. That question is how does soap work?

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.

Like oil, grease is insoluble in water. Grease needs soap to separate it from water. The non-polar hydrocarbon molecules break the grease molecules up so it, along with any dirt or grime that had attached to it, can become separated and rinsed away.

Soaps are also a cleaning agent. They are able to separate dirt from items as well, and make the item clean again. Dirt is always going to be around, so having soap makes life much easier to clean things off and keep infections and sickness from spreading.

Soaps can be made with anti-bacterial to kill germs now even. Anti-bacterial soap is recommended to use with hand washing to prevent getting sick. This is especially important after using the restroom and when one is sick already with a cold or flu.

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 to make the soap yourself.

Rainshadow Labs Specializes in Intuitive Essential Oilsaromatherapy essential oils, essential oils and wholesale soap making supplies. We are passionate about Oraganic Essential Oils and soap and candle making, and we love to help people feel and look young again. Come visit anytime.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Jackson, Jeffrey "I Know What Soap Is, But How Does It Actually Work?." I Know What Soap Is, But How Does It Actually Work?. 27 Jun. 2010. 18 Feb 2016 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Jackson, J (2010, June 27). I Know What Soap Is, But How Does It Actually Work?. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Jackson, Jeffrey "I Know What Soap Is, But How Does It Actually Work?"

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