Chemistry: soap vs detergent

Self-tutoring about soap and detergent: the tutor begins…

I recall hearing, as a kid, a product’s being “real soap.” What is a real soap, vs a detergent?

My research tells me this: Soap is made from oil produced during the life of an organism, such as lard or vegetable oil. Detergent, on the other hand, is typically made from petroleum.

Because of their different backbones, the charged end of the soap molecule is a carboxylate group, while a detergent molecule may have a sulfo or other group instead.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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