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Imagine having to wash the dishes, or clothes, or your body, without soap.

The grease would remain on the plates, on your clothes, and on your body however hard you rub, or however hot the water. Soaps and soap-making (saponification) have been known since antiquity. The earliest mention of soap was in writing, and by an author named Pliny: a Roman who lived in the first century AC. Pliny told of the Gauls, inhabitants of a region during the Roman era of what is now recognized as France, using soap to give a brighter colour to hair. After having been inspired to investigate this wonderful product, the Romans started making it for themselves. The proof brought to us in 1748, when the city of Pompeii was uncovered after having been buried by the ashes of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AC, where a soap factory was found. They made their soap from goat tallow (fat), and beechwood ashes (alkali base). Pioneers in the field of saponification made soap by boiling vegetable and animal fats/oils with strong alkali bases (NaOH, KOH). If the glyceride esters (R-O-R') present in vegetable and animal fats/oils are hydrolyzed in the presence of a base, soap is produced; alongside glycerol (the alcohol of glyceride). Equation for saponification here Soaps are the metallic salts of high molecular weight fatty acids (chapter 29, p. 532). Sodium hydroxide makes a strong soap, and fatty acids, a mild soap. So-called natural soaps actually are alkaline, meaning basic, with a pH of around 10 when dissolved in water (comparison: skin has a pH of 5 6.5). Natural soaps differ in ingredients (lye, and oil) and methods, and oftentimes prevent the common trend of dry skin and irritation after using mass-produced, commercial soaps. Liquid soaps use potassium (soft soap) instead of sodium (hard soap). Hard soaps are composed mostly from sodium oleate, or sodium palmitate, and are generally used as antiseptic, detergent, or suppository (272, cosmetic ingredients). Soft soaps are used in toothpastes, liquid soaps, and shaving creams. Molecularly, the cleansing action of soap can be explained in terms of its behaviour with water, and grease/dirt. Soap molecules consist of a polar head (carboxylate group) and a non-polar tail (fatty-acid chain), making up for their hydrophilic and hydrophobic nature, respectively. Because soaps are classified as anion surfacants, the attraction between water and soap molecules is one that reduces the amount of surface tension in the water, allowing soapy water to wet material very easily, and provide an easier clean (1833, new encyclopedia of science). The electrical properties of the fatty-acid anion part of soap, the hydrocarbon end, is attracted by dirt, oil, or grease particles, therefore breaking them up into small droplets that eventually stick to the surface of the lather bubbles (i.e. each droplet of grease, or dirt, becomes surrounded with a layer of soap molecules). Sometimes, the effect of soap is lessened in the presence of Ca2+, Mg2+, Fe2+, or Mn2+ ions in water, namely in the presence of hard water. Hard water induces ion exchange between soap and water particles that form an insoluble scum with soap, oftentimes referred to as soap scum or soap film (1833, new encyclopedia of science). This insoluble precipitate Soaps lose their ability to form suds in hard water, thus leaving less available soap for the clean (lab manual), as well as creating a wasteful and costly ripple in both home and industry.

On the basis of molecular structure, we can suggest a plausible mechanism for the cleansing action of soap. This action can be considered in terms of the electrical properties of the fatty-acid anion part of

soap. The anion, by virtue of its unusual structure, binds together two immiscible substances- grease and water.

Naturally, just as there are variations of grease and/or oil, there may be variations in the of water.

Soap has fatty acid anions that additionally interact with grease Soap also acts on

soap molecules become scattered Because water is polar, components. electrical properties of the fatty-acid anion of soap. The chemical reaction that yields soap is acknowledged by boiling either fats or oils, with a strong base (KOH, NaOH). This is called saponification. In ancient times, soaps, like the one previously mentioned, have been made from vegetable and animal oils/fats cooked in