How does washing- up liquid work?

Wednesday 21st July 2010
Submitted by nikkiwithers
Anon

Detergent molecules are hydrocarbon chains with one end that’s attracted to water and another end that’s attracted to oil. The oil-grabbing (hydrophobic) ends attach themselves to food on the plate and surround it with their water-grabbing (hydrophilic) ends pointing outwards. This makes the engulfed particles water-soluble so they can be rinsed away.

GOT A QUESTION?

Scratching your head over a burning scientific conundrum? submit your question and we'll get our esteemed panel of experts to answer it for you.

 

Will we use artificial wombs in the future?
previous qanda Article
How do we know that plastic bags take 500 years to decompose?
next qanda Article
Q&A Tabs

Your DNA is arranged into chromosomes, which are grouped into 23 pairs. When a sperm cell is manufactured, the father’s genome is split in two, so that each sperm receives one chromosome...

If you put diesel in a petrol engine, it’d cause knocking, which would eventually cause serious damage. As for diesel engines, they use the fuel itself as a lubricant. Using petrol would...

A lunar month is slightly shorter than a calendar month, so every two to three years, there is an extra lunar cycle above the usual 12. This additional moon is called the ‘blue moon’...

There are currently around 6,000 different languages spoken around the world. Using statistical techniques to analyse the rate at which words and dialects mutate, it has been calculated that it...

Bacteria evolved in environments where the concentration of sugars and salts is the same as or lower than those inside the cell. High sugar concentrations cause the bacterium to lose water by...

All female mammals have a clitoris, the sole purpose of which is to react to sexual stimulation, and presumably this stimulation has evolved to be pleasurable for most species. But establishing...

To create a sound, we have to set matter - whether it's a gas like air, a liquid or even a solid material - in regular motion, creating a wave of specific frequencies, which we hear as a sound of...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

Discovered by an American student named Gary Flandro in the mid-1960s, the slingshot manoeuvre usually involves spacecraft briefly 'coat-tailing' a planet orbiting the Sun, extracting some of the...

The ice disappears because the wind blows away water molecules that have evaporated or 'sublimed' from the ice, so the ice slowly shrinks in size. The molecules that escape are those with the...

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here