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Bubbles Equal Clean....Right?

Let's talk bubbles. On a psychological level people like to see something happening...think about it. What's the first thing you think when you see bubbles? You may be one to think 'ooo bubbles, this is fun!', or maybe you're the person to think 'it's working!'

. Either way, bubbles make us feel good. Makes us feel safe and like the product is doing it's job, right? But, what are bubbles? Are they really here to clean or just to give us some kind of psychological good feeling and comfort? The answer....its a marketing scheme for many commercial and soap manufacturers, who add chemicals specifically to create bubbles throughout your task, just to satisfy people when they look at their dishes, their washers, etc. Let me explain. Bubbles (the ones you typically see) are filled with air. Let's look at why soap forms bubbles at all, and understanding what they are will also help you understand why they don’t mean anything. Soap molecules have two ends kind of like a magnet. One end is attracted to water (think of this as the sticky side) and the other is repelled by water (but is attracted to dirt). Bubbles are formed because soap molecules will surround the water molecules with the “sticky” water-loving side pointed towards the water and the repellant sides pointed away.


So when you are looking at a soap bubble, you are seeing a thin layer of water sandwiched between soap molecules. No matter what shape the bubble is initially, it will go into a sphere because that shape has less surface area which takes less energy to form (making it the easiest shape to form).


Now that you know that suds are just how soap molecules make a water/soap sandwich on the surface of the water, it’s easier to understand how this has nothing to do with cleaning any item(s) that you are trying to actually clean. All a bubble shows is how attracted the soap molecule is to water, and NOT how attracted it is to dirt. Psychologically seeing a lack of suds while cleaning anything, may make you think there isn’t enough soap or there is no cleaning going on, just remember that different types of soap molecules make different types of bubbles. Some soaps hold bubbles longer or more easily than others. Some types of soaps make larger bubbles, some make smaller, some hardly make bubbles at all. Bubbles can also be affected by other ingredients also in the water. There are other factors that can impact the size of bubbles. For example, people washing in hard water will see fewer suds than people washing in soft water. Temperature is also a factor as bubbles don’t form easily in cold water! What about SLS/Surfactants? These actually tend to allow the bubbles to form anywhere, under even the heaviest of water. They provide foaming and lather. Surfactants act at the surface of the bubble – the interface between the gas and the liquid – to help mediate some kind of relationship between the liquid and the gas/air. But, this makes you think your product(s) work....but now you know that's not the case. Even with surfactants, it doesn't show the bubble being attracted to anything BUT water...not dirt. So, let's change our way of thinking!



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