eli5 how are soaps able to clean away germs when washing things?


Hello everyone. I have always wanted to know how exactly are dishwashing soap, hand soap, cleaning soap are able to kill or remove harmful bacteria from whatever we are using it for?

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Your skin naturally secretes oils, and the germs on your hands stick to these oils. When you wash your hands with soap, the soap breaks down the oils so they are easily washed away, taking the germs with them.

I believe they change the chemistry of the area they are used in which kills the germs. They also create bubbles that carry them (amongst other things like dead skin or other matter) away in suspension when washed off.
Washing your hands frequently is helpful, but not as effective as using soap, too.

Picture soap as a chain, one half sticks to oils and dirt, other half sticks to water and takes the oils and dirt away with it when u rinse.

When you wash something we’ll say your hands, the soap and the friction that comes from lathering and scrubbing your hands helps lift dirt, grease and other grossness off them, then you rinse away everything you just scrapped off…done deal

Soap is actually really cool! Essentially one end of the molecule attracts water (hydrophilic) and the other side repels water (hydrophobic). The hydrophobic end will bind to oil or bacteria and the hydrophilic end to water, which allows the water to pull these things away from your hands.