How Does Soap Work?

How Does Soap Work?

A sudsy chemistry lesson on the miracle of soap.

Soap plays a large role in most of our lives. It keeps us clean, makes us smell good, and is lots of bubbly fun. There are tons of different types for washing all different kinds of things. From hair to cars, there is soap for almost everything. It's strongly integrated into our lives, yet for many, if they were asked how it works, they couldn't tell you.

Why is soap so much more effective than plain water?

The answer lies in chemistry.

Above is our friend Bob The Dirt. Bob and most of his oily and greasy friends are non-polar compounds. What does this mean? Well, in order for a molecule to dissolve in another molecule, they must have the same polarity. So, since water is a polar molecule, Bob and his non-polar friends will not dissolve in it. This is why trying to wash your hands without soap after eating a greasy burger isn't very effective.

How do we solve this problem and avoid dirty hands? Soap!

The structure of soap is what makes it work. Soap molecules have two different ends on them. One end is a hydrocarbon chain which is non-polar and binds with the Bob and his friends. This end of the soap molecule is hydrophobic, meaning it is repelled by water. The other end of the soap molecule is a polar ionic end which will bind with water and polar food particles. This end is hydrophilic, meaning it's attracted to water.

The magic starts to happend when you mix soapy water with grease and dirt as you begin to wash your hands. During this, the soap molecules arrange themselves into clusters around Bob and his friends. These clusters are called micelles. The hydrophilic heads of the soap molecules form the outside of the micelle and allow it to suspend in water. The hydrophobic ends of the soap molecules trap Bob's gang in the middle of the micelle where they can't come in contact with water. With the oils trapped in the center, the micelle is soluble in water. So, as the soapy water gets washed down the drain, Bob and every other greasy bit of dirt on your hands gets washed away with it.


So now you know, if you didn't already. Next time you're washing your hands in a public restroom, you can lean over to the stranger at the sink next to you and give them a mini chemistry lesson on the miracle that's happening in front of them. Who knows? Maybe you'll make a new friend.

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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The Thing About Serbian Women

Srpkinja Je Mene Majka Rodila

The thing about Serbian Women is:

  1. Her wardrobe consists of the the color black
  2. She talks super loud but she’s not yelling
  3. She always talks with her hands
  4. She thinks it’s a HUGE turnoff if you can’t kolo
  5. She has a liver of a champ; I promise you she can outdrink you and friends… combined
  6. If you piss her off she is not afraid to leave you and find another man
  7. Her attitude can change within 2.5 seconds
  8. She knows if you cannot drink with her family, you guys cannot be together
  9. “Do not underestimate how many cevaps she can eat.” She can eat like there’s no tomorrow
  10. She cannot sit on the floor because then her ovaries will freeze and she won’t be able to have children
  11. Her name ends in an a
  12. She can’t leave the house with wet hair because promaja
  13. She went to Serbian school
  14. She loves bread
  15. She loves men
  16. The closest thing to medicine you will get from her is rajika on a krpa (then she’ll give you some to drink)
  17. She’s smart
  18. She’s not a cheap date
  19. She’s high maintenance
  20. She can make Srpska AND Turska kafa
  21. She won’t trust right away but once she does she’s all yours
  22. She can roll burke, pita, and kupus like no other
  23. She holds a grudge
  24. She LOVES meat
  25. She danced in a Serbian folklore group
  26. She has a white and brown pair of opanke
  27. While in folklore she lost every bobby pin she ever bought
  28. When she sees something dirty she feels this urge to clean it
  29. When Severina, Lepa Brena, or Sandra Afrika come on she’s going to dance
  30. She doesn’t need to join a sorority because her “sisters” have been with her, her entire life
  31. She went clubbing for the first time when she was 15
  32. She will turn into her mother, if she hasn't already
  33. She went to church camp
  34. It takes her forever to get ready
  35. She went to Sunday school
  36. She knows someone everywhere she goes, whether it’s the mall, grocery store, or the Motherland
  37. She knows being Serbian means the world to her and she won’t change that for anyone

Whenever Srpkinja Je Mene Majka Rodila, comes on every Serbian woman gets goosebumps. That’s a song that speaks to our hearts and makes realize that we were born to be Serbian.

Cover Image Credit: Balkan Baba

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