Tag Archive: Soap

Oct 17 2011

Pique the Geek 20111016: All about Soap Part II

First, please allow me to apologize for not posting Popular Culture Friday last.  I was occupied until late in the day and did not have enough time to write a quality piece for the series, and I would rather post nothing rather than a poor piece.  It shall return this coming Friday.

Actually, this is not about soap, but rather synthetic detergents, although we often call then “soap”.  In the companion piece to this one from last week, here, the terms are explained in detail.

There are a couple of reasons for using synthetic detergents over actual soap.  Part of it is economics, because both vegetable and animal fats, essential ingredients for soap, tend to be fairly high in cost.  Most detergents are based on petroleum, so when oil prices are low then can be cheaper to produce than soap.  When petroleum is high in cost, then detergents become less economically favorable.

Oct 10 2011

Pique the Geek 20111009: All about Soap

Before we start, here is an important public service message brought to you by Translator.  There is a fraudulent email going around asking that gmail users verify their accounts by the end to the month to avoid suspension.  This is a fraud!  If you get an email from Gmail@carrierzone.com, do not respond and delete it.

We take something as mundane as soap way too much for granted.  It is not an exaggeration to say that soap has saved more lives over its history than modern medicine has over its history.  Of course, soap has a much longer history than modern medicine, but soap is still essential as a medical adjunct.

The actual origin of soap is lost in prehistory.  I suspect that the first soap like materials were plant saponins, and we shall get to them in just a bit.  Before we get into the nuts and bolts of soap (and by extension detergents), it is important to understand just how these materials work.  At first it does not seem to make a whole lot of sense, but as we continue I promise one of those “Aha!” moments.  Ready to get going?  I am!