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Chemistry for Kids

Soaps and Salts

What are salts?

In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that are formed from the neutralization reactions of an acid and a base. Salts have certain properties: Salts come in a variety of tastes and colors. Some salts are not safe to eat.

Table Salt

What most people call "salt" is the chemical compound sodium chloride. It has the chemical formula NaCl. Sodium chloride dissolves in water and is what makes the ocean water salty.

Salt is necessary for animal life. It is also used to enhance the taste of our foods and to preserve foods.

Soap is a Salt

In chemistry, soap is a type of salt. This is because it is formed from the mixing of an acid and a base.

How does soap work?

Soaps and detergents help to clean clothes, skin, dirty dishes, and other items by dissolving grease. Detergents are made up of special molecules. Part of these molecules is attracted to water. The other part is attracted to grease. The part that is attracted to grease will dissolve the grease and break it up into smaller components that can then be rinsed away by water.

How is soap made?

Humans have made soap all the way back to the ancient civilizations of the Babylonians and the Egyptians. For many years soap was made from a mixture of ashes, animal fat, and water. Although we no longer make soap the same way, the chemistry for making modern soap is very similar.

Today soap is often made from a combination of fats and sodium hydroxide. As the soap is formed, the byproduct of glycerol is removed. Once the raw soap is produced, other ingredients like perfumes and colors can be added. The chemical process used to make soaps is called saponification.

Interesting Facts about Soaps and Salts Activities

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More Chemistry Subjects

Solids, Liquids, Gases
Melting and Boiling
Chemical Bonding
Chemical Reactions
Radioactivity and Radiation
Mixtures and Compounds
Naming Compounds
Separating Mixtures
Acids and Bases
Salts and Soaps
Glossary and Terms
Chemistry Lab Equipment
Organic Chemistry
Famous Chemists

Elements and the Periodic Table
Periodic Table

Science >> Chemistry for Kids

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