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soaps, detergents & shampoos

It’s a Wash: The Chemistry of Soap
Image: iStockphoto.com/RTimages

It’s a Wash: The Chemistry of Soap

How could anyone make water wetter? Isn't that a ridiculous idea?

Actually, it's what soaps, detergents, and shampoos do. It's in large part how they keep you, your clothes, and your dishes clean. True, there's more to it than that. Find out about enzymes and how to save tons of money by buying inexpensive products that clean just as well as costly ones.

National Science Foundation/NBC
Better Hair Through Chemistry

Better Hair Through Chemistry

Why do shampoos contain so much more than detergent? To find out, read this article. To get the most out of this article, go back to the its first page and read about hair. More...

Article
Exploratorium
Are Antibacterial Soaps Really Better?

Are Antibacterial Soaps Really Better?

Do soaps that kill germs keep us healthier? Are they even safe? As you'll see in this article, the answer to both questions may be "no." More...

Article
Popular Mechanics
Are Expensive Shampoos Better?

Are Expensive Shampoos Better?

Assuming you're 14 years old, and use a bottle of shampoo every two months, this video could save you $5,940 by the time you're 80. More...

Video
CBS News
Can You Use Laundry Detergent in the Dishwasher?

Can You Use Laundry Detergent in the Dishwasher?

Out of dishwasher detergent? Better check out this article before you reach for the Tide. (And BTW, the word volatilize, used here, means "to evaporate.") More...

Article
About.com
Detergents and Soaps

Detergents and Soaps

Take a close look at the ingredients in soaps and detergents. Find out how they work and how they affect the environment. More...

Article
ExplainThatStuff!
Does Bar Soap Work Better than Liquid Soap?

Does Bar Soap Work Better than Liquid Soap?

Bar soap, liquid soap, shower gels… Why do people use one kind of cleanser on their bodies instead of the others? More...

Article
HowStuffWorks
Enzyme Technology

Enzyme Technology

Making sweets, removing stains, and creating truly vegetarian cheeses are some of the ways these biological catalysts are used. Check it out. More...

Article
BBC
Enzymes Activity

Enzymes Activity

Do the enzymes in some detergents really make a difference when you're doing laundry? What about pH and water temperature? See for yourself with these experiments. More...

Activity
education.com
Enzymes in Laundry Detergents

Enzymes in Laundry Detergents

Enzymes make chemical reactions happen or speed them up. Enzymes also make detergents better at cleaning. And different enzymes zero in on different kinds of stains. More...

Article
Procter & Gamble
How Enzyme Cleaners Work

How Enzyme Cleaners Work

The enzymes in some cleaners target particular stains and odors, such as those caused by peeing pets. Enzymes break down stains without being broken down themselves. More...

Article
eHow
Killer Bubbles

Killer Bubbles

What's in a typical "antibacterial" dishwashing detergent? Stuff that kills germs, of course, but also stuff that's just there to make us like the product. More...

Article
WIRED
Soap

Soap

You can blow a soap bubble because soap reduces the surface tension of water. BTW, under ideal conditions one soap bubble lasted 341 days! More...

Article
Exploratorium
Soap and Detergent: History

Soap and Detergent: History

People had soap as long ago as 2800 B.C. but may not have washed with it. Even in the early 19th century, soap was taxed heavily. After all, who really needed it? More...

Article
American Cleaning Institute
What Household Cleaners Break Down Jell-O Best?

What Household Cleaners Break Down Jell-O Best?

Use Jell-O to find out which cleaners in your house contain enzymes that break down proteins. Why Jell-O? Because of what it's made of. What is it made of? You may feel wobbly when you find out. More...

Activity
Pearson Education

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