What is Soap and How Does it Work?
What is soap?
Before we discuss soap, we need to define what it means to be dirty. Most of the stuff you clean with soap – food on your dish or grime on your hands – is infused with oil. Washing with only water doesn’t work because water molecules are more attracted to one another than they are to oil. Oil molecules are large, awkward, and don’t have poles – ends with different electric charges – so they’re difficult to bond with.
Soap is the answer that solves the antagonism between oil and water. It's basically just a mix of a fatty acid and an alkaline substance. Combined together, its molecule structure is perfectly suited to mixing oil and water because it shares some properties of each.
How does soap work?
A soap molecule can be broken into two parts: the head and the tail. The alkaline head is hydrophilic, which means it loves water while the fatty acid tail is hydrophobic, which means it repels water. The tail, however, is attracted to oil molecules.
The head of the soap molecule will readily bond with the nearest water molecule. The tail will latch itself onto oil molecules. Working together, the head and the tail lift up the bits of oil and suspend them in water. Additional water simply washes away the suspended droplets of oil.
Does soap kill germs?
No. Soap treats germs like oil molecules – they work to isolate and suspend the germs while the additional water simply washes them away.
Is antibacterial soap more effective?
Not necessarily. The active ingredient in most antibacterial soaps is a chemical called triclosan. Triclosan in the amounts used in soap doesn’t kill many bacteria (concentrations of 0.2% or less), but it keeps the counts down partly because it has residual activity.
In a real-world study of over 200 households over the course of a year, with half of the houses given antibacterial soap and the other plain soap, the research found that there was no statistically significant difference between antibacterial and plain-soap households. In fact, there are some studies that suggest that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long term.
We choose all natural at Yummy Me.
We make our soaps with all natural products for two main reasons: it’s better for your health and it works. Why add anything more, especially when it doesn’t enhance its effectiveness?
At Yummy Me, we're committed to making the purest, most gentlest selfcare products for you, your family, and your friends.
Be safe out there. Stay at home as much as possible, practice physical distancing, and remember to wash your paws!