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Write the difference between soap and detergent.

Last updated date: 23rd Apr 2024
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Hint: We must understand that the soap is fatty acid and detergent is a mixture of surfactants. We use them for cleaning purposes. So we have to study the properties to distinguish between soap and detergent.

Complete step by step solution:

Soap is potassium or sodium salts of a carboxylic acid attached to a long aliphatic chain.Detergent is the potassium or sodium salts of a long alkyl chain ending with a sulfonate group.
Soap is a metal salt of fatty acid that we use for cleaning and lubrication. Detergent is a mixture of surfactants with cleaning properties in dilute solutions.
Minerals present in solution significantly increase the effectiveness of soap. Minerals present in solution do not affect the characteristics of detergent.
Soaps are easily biodegradable.Detergents are not easily biodegradable.
Soaps are hydrophilic due to the presence of carboxylate at the end of its molecular structure. Its solubility is attributed to the fact that the sulfonate group does not attach itself to the ions present in hard water.
Soap is generally prepared from plant and animal fats through saponification. Petroleum (Petrochemicals) was found to be a plentiful source for the manufacture of detergent.
Examples - sodium stearate, sodium palmitate and sodium oleateExamples - deoxycholic acid and sodium lauryl sulfate.

Note: When we use soap in hard water there is a white solid that develops on clothes. We call the white solid as scum. This is developing because of calcium and magnesium ions present in hard water. But detergents do not develop any type of scum.
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