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Lab Activity No.

7
WATER HARDNESS, SOAP and DETERGENT

OBJECTIVE: In this experiment, you will devise procedures and perform tests that will
allow you to answer the following questions:

1. What is/are the difference/s among bar soap, detergent, and shampoo in hard water
and in soft water?
2. What is the effect of bar soap, shampoo, or detergent on a mixture of oil and distilled
water?
3. Which ions cause water hardness?
4. Is our tap water at home hard or soft?

MATERIALS: 400 ppm hard water, MgCl2, NaCl, Na2SO4, CaSO4, Na2CO3, test tubes,
stoppers, beakers, distilled water, (bath soap, shampoo, detergent, and water samples to
be brought by students from their homes)

PROCEDURE:

1. Devise your own procedures that will allow you to answer the first two objectives.
Write your group procedure down in the appropriate spaces in the worksheet.
2. Using your observations on the effect of hard water on any of the surfactants, test
the salts listed to find out which would give the same result as hard water.

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Group No. _____ Date: _______

Names: _____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________

WATER HARDNESS, SOAP and DETERGENT

1. What is the difference among soap, detergent, and shampoo in hard water and in soft
water?

Group Procedure:

_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________

A. Does soap work better in soft or hard water?

B. Which works best in hard water – soap, detergent or shampoo?

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C. Would you conclude that shampoo is more like a soap or a detergent? Explain
your answer.

2. What is the effect of bar soap, shampoo, or detergent to a mixture of oil and distilled
water?

Group Procedure:

_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________

Which cleaning agent worked best to disperse (emulsify) the oil in the hard water? Justify
your answer.

3. Which ion is responsible for creating hardness in water in this activity? Support your
answer with observations you recorded throughout the activity.

MgCl2 NaCl Na2SO4 CaSO4 Na2CO3

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4. Is the water in your homes hard or soft? How did you come to this conclusion?

5. Did the hard water look different from the soft water?

6. What advantage do detergents have over soaps as cleaning agents?

7. Why don't soaps create suds in hard water?