Investigate the structure and action of soaps and detergents

Structure and cleansing action of soaps and detergents

  • Soap is the product of a saponification reaction between alkalis and fats and oils.
    • A soap molecule has two ends, a hydrophilic end and a hydrophobic end.
    • When soap mixes with water, the hydrophilic end is directed towards water whereas the hydrophobic end directs towards the dirt molecules which are mostly fats, oils or grease.
    • Both the hydrophobic and the hydrophilic end form micelles which trap the dirt and afterwards removes them.