- Some soaps are natural; all detergents are synthetic.
- All soaps and detergents clean with a ‘surfactant’.
- Surfactants are molecules that attach themselves to particles of dirt on dirty surfaces and lift them away.
- Surfactants work because one part of them is hydrophilic (attracted to water) and the other is hydrophobic (repelled by water).
- The hydrophobic tail of a surfactant digs its way into the dirt; the other tail is drawn into the water.
- Soaps increase water’s ability to make things wet by reducing the surface tension of the water.
- Soap is made from animal fats or vegetable oil combined with chemicals called alkalis, such as sodium or potassium hydroxide.
- Most soaps include perfumes, colors and germicides (germ-killers) as well as a surfactant.
- The Romans used soap over 2000 years ago.
- Detergents were invented in 1916 by a German chemist called Fritz Gunther.
- Surfactant molecules in soap lift dirt off dirty surfaces.
- The hydrophobic tail dips into the dirt.
- The hydrophilic tail is pulled by the water.
- The surfactant molecules in soap lift particles of dirt away.
The information for Science Saturdays is obtained from a fun book we found in a thrift store in New Zealand. It has 8 sections of 1,000 detailed topics each. They are Space, Planet Earth, Wild Animals, Human Body, Science, Buildings and Transport, World Geography, and Plants. While the version we found is older, they do have updated versions. Much of the information has not changed since it’s publish date. We have found it a very fun book with bitesized bits of data.
8000 things you should know. (2006). Great Bardfield, Essex, Essex: Miles Kelly Pub. doi:10: 1-84236-804-4
For more information check out the Bend Soap Company who make their own soaps from goat milk on a farm where they raise and milk the goats themselves!! To learn more about ingredients contained in some soaps and not others, check out their site where they give you a thorough review.