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How Does Soap Work?

Chemistry | 7-14 yrs | Video, Animation

How do soaps kill bacteria?

Pure water does not have cleaning properties. Therefore, we need soaps and detergents to remove oily grime and organic soiling.

Soaps and detergents are surfactants i.e they reduce the surface tension of water, allowing it to interact with oil and grease more easily. Soap is made by a process called saponification. This is where a triglyceride chemically joins forces with a strong alkali to fight grime.

What is Hydrophobic?

The triglyceride of a soap molecule is hydrophobic, which means that it is attracted to dirt and grime.

What is Hydrophyllic?

On the other hand, the alkali head is hydrophyllic, which means that it attracts water.

When dirt comes in contact with a soap molecule, the hydrophobic tail attaches itself to the dirt. Many soap molecules will attach themselves to the dirt to form a structure called a soap micelle.

Once the soap-grime mixture is released, it remains suspended in the water and is washed away when you rinse it with clean water.


  • One of the most fun things about taking a bath is the bubbles. How are bubbles formed? Does the temperature outside affect how long a bubble remains a bubble without popping?

For more such interesting chemistry articles and videos, visit: https://mocomi.com/learn/science/chemistry/


  1. Terrific information!This really helped me compete my Science task only my one question is that does Pre stain treatments work exactly the same as laundry detergent?