Is soap self-cleaning?

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Is soap self-cleaning?
« on: 06/07/2008 16:16:44 »
Kim asked the Naked Scientists:

If I have very dirty hands (oily or greasy) and I wash them with a bar of soap, the dirt gets stuck on the soap. Should I try and clean my soap off this dirt?

Is my soap now infested with germs?

Thank you! I'm in Melbourne, Australia, and I listen to your podcast at work. It's always fascinating!

What do you think?


Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Is soap self-cleaning?
« Reply #1 on: 07/07/2008 08:25:41 »
I wouldn't worry about it. A soap molecule works by attaching one end of itself to an oil particle, and the other end to a water molecule. This helps the water to lift oil/fat/grease off things, and will also tear apart most bacteria, since their cell membrane is made up of fatty lipids.