Over the last few months, we have all been bombarded with the importance of washing our hands. This simple exercise with water and soap can wash away dirt, bacteria, and life-threatening disease. But how does soap kill germs? The magic blue soap is one we all know and one that is imitated often. We use it for our dishes, our counters, it has even been used to save animals after oil spills. It’s also an ingredient in my favorite stain-fighting laundry pretreat solution. Read on to see how it works.
The Liquid Blue Soap
The magic behind getting foods and oil off of pots, hands, and clothes are known to scientists as surfactants. This is how soap kill germs and removes dirt. They surround the dirt, the dirt sticks to the surfactants, and let go of the items you are cleaning.1 When you rinse, they all flow merrily down the drain. The challenge is that these magic mites do not know to stop working once they have been rinsed off. They are after all not intelligent life, just molecules scientists bonded together to help us clean up. If surfactants end up in a water supply or natural body of water they will attach to fish and vegetation and remove natural protections on their surfaces, although that likelihood is low.2
photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash
Yes, the blue soap has a percentage of ingredients derived from petroleum which is unsustainable. Yes, there are non-petroleum brands out there but the greener brands so not work as well in removing all stains. Using the Blue option will help save your garments and water due to washing less, but you use petroleum and risk causing harm to inhabitants of water bodies. Using the Green option eliminates the need for petroleum and the potential to harm wildlife, but you may be shopping for garments more often and may be using more water to try removing stains.
This is a choice that will vary for each family depending on values and habits. There is no best answer here, only what is best for your family.
If you choose to stick with a non-petroleum product and you get stuck with a stain, you can always embroider over it to cover it up.
#consistencychallenge: July 2020
1. “The Chemistry of Cleaning.” The American Cleaning Institute, https://www.cleaninginstitute.org/understanding-products/science-soap/chemistry-cleaning. Accessed May 11 2020.
2. Arhus University. “Down the Drain: Do surfactants Harm the Environment?” October 3 2014. Science Daily, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141003135742.htm. Accessed May 11 2020.
eddys brand celebrates family and the spirit of connection and togetherness by creating essential garments for babies and toddlers, future big brothers and sisters, that can be passed down and are made to last through multiple rounds of grass stains, first teeth, and lots and lots of smiles.