What happens to detergent when you run water over it?



Dish soap bubbles up when you blast it with water, so are the cleaning properties stuck in the bubbles? Is the clear-looking water underneath the bubbles just as potent when it comes to disinfecting, or is it actually just water?

In: Chemistry

The bubbles and the water have the same chemical composition, and it’s useful to know that if your water is not producing bubbles when you disturb (put air into it), the water/detergent mix has been saturated with oils and you should add more detergent or replace the water. The bubbles form with detergent due to different surface tension properties.

Also, detergents aren’t disinfectants; their role is to dissolve oils and other food waste. Food waste is a rich food source for bacteria and fungi, whereas clean plates are not. Detergents get rid of the food waste so it goes down the drain in the dishwater, leaving you with a clean plate with minimal ability to carry microbes.

Some body soaps and shampoos have additives to make them bubble, but it is not necesscary. It is a marketing trick, we have been conditioned to think “scrubbing bubbles” etc are better.