1. Soap

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  2. About Soap

    Soap is a surfactant used in conjunction with water for washing and cleaning that is available in solid bars and in the form of a viscous liquid.

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    Chemically, soap is a salt of a fatty acid. Traditionally, soap is made as the result of a reaction between fat and lye (sodium hydroxide), potash (potassium hydroxide), and soda ash (sodium carbonate), which are all alkalis historically leached from hardwood ashes. The chemical reaction that yields soap is known as saponification. The fats and the bases are hydrolyzed by water; the free glycerol heads bond with the free hydroxyl groups to form glycerin and the free sodium molecules bond with the fatty acid tails to form soap.

    Many cleaning agents today are technically not soaps, but detergents, which are less expensive and easier to manufacture.