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.