How does soap work?



Like what makes it kill bacteria/germs?

In: Chemistry

It dissolves the fat layers that the outside of bacteria is made of. It also helps break up the outer layer of viruses.

Its pretty brutal actually, just on a very small scale. Soap molecules have one end that likes to bond with water and one end they really doesn’t and tends to bond with lipids (fats, oils). Thats why soap works to wash oily substances off. But at the same time it means that when you have soap and water in a mixture with a virus it bonds on one end to water while the other is avoiding water. Little groups of these form and permeate the mixture, while the edges are avoiding water. What do they find instead? The lipid envelopes of a lot of viruses and bacteria. The hydrophobic end attaches to those envelopes and the virus or bacteria is literally ripped apart.

Basically soap molecules are divided into 2 parts
(1) : hydrophylic head part that sticks on to the water molecules and
(2) : hydro phobic tail that sticks to oil in your skin .

The hydrophobic end surrounds and stick to the oils and dirt containing the bacteria and the hydrophilic end sticks to running water thus removing contaminants from your hand. The rubbing of hands and between fingers will loosen up the dirt and help the soap in acting better.

Antibacterial soap might also take part in killing bacteria while removing them as well . But in both cases the result is kinda same , they both wash off contaminents.

The responses are news to me. In the old days it was never advertised that soaps kill bacteria. The advertising started when they had additives which were know to kill bacteria. Now all sorts of products have added this to the labelling but I thought it was because of the additive.

Normally, oils are not soluble in water. If you pour some oil into water, it will form separate layers. Soap binds to oils and fats and makes them soluble in water. Cell membranes (walls) are made of fat/oil. So the soap makes dirt and cell walls of bacteria disslove in water.