From ArticleWorld

Soap is a product that is used for cleaning and contains detergents, often it comes in a solid molded form (referred to as bars). Recently, it has been increasingly popular to use a thick liquid soap.


Most soaps contain a mixture of sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids. These can be derived from oils or fats by reacting them with a product like sodium or potassium hydroxide. It comes from either fats or oils. A common ingredient in a large number of soaps is sodium tallowate, which comes from rendered animal fat. Other soaps, which are made of vegetable oils like olive oil, are called castile soap.


Most soaps in use today are in reality a type of synthetic detergent. These are less expensive, easier to manufacture and more expensive. Soap molecules are effective cleaners because they attract to nonpolar molecules and polar molecules, which allows for soap to interact with grease and oil (nonpolar molecules) and water (molecules) equally well.


Many fat based soaps have been superseded by many modern detergents. Many washing agents do not contain soap to clean fabric, but rather to reduce foaming. Disadvantages include the fact that soap deprives the skin of natural oils, antibacterial soap may kill some cells, products with soaps may contain an additive, they can react mildly with fabrics and result in long-term fabric damage and soap reacts with lime to make it insoluble in water (known as hard water). Most soaps that are produced commercially today have been formulated to prevent the aforementioned disadvantages.