How does washing-up liquid work? © iStock

How does washing-up liquid work?

Washing detergent owes its efficient cleaning power to its love-hate relationship with water.

Asked by: Anonymous


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.


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