How does washing-up liquid work?

21st July 2010
How does washing-up liquid work? (iStock)

Asked by: 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.