What are detergents? Complex terms in simple words

Table of contents:

What are detergents? Complex terms in simple words
What are detergents? Complex terms in simple words

Once upon a time, many years ago, people washed their clothes, washed their hair, body and dishes with ordinary water. Later, to improve the washing properties, they learned to use improvised materials. Among these substances are sand, ash or clay. The revolutionary invention was the first detergent created by the Russian chemist Grigory Petrov. Thanks to some chemical reactions, it was possible to obtain an excellent detergent.


Since then, a group of these substances have been called such a term as detergents. In this article, we will discuss what detergents are, as well as what is the principle of their action and what are their chemical properties.

Quick reference

Detergents are certain substances or mixtures of substances that significantly enhance the washing qualities of water. In more scientific terms, they reduce the surface tension of liquids.


The most basic and long-used detergent is soap made from natural materials. With the development of progress, synthetic detergents began to gain popularity, propertieswhich are much more pronounced than their natural counterparts.

Similar mixtures, made on the basis of oil products that have undergone special processing, are used not only in everyday life, but also on an industrial scale in production. When answering the question of what detergents are, you should first of all pay attention to the most common substance that is part of them. The most popular among detergents are those that are made on the basis of sodium sulfonate.

The principle of action of detergents

To your surprise, there is nothing complicated and confusing in their action. Detergents usually consist of two components, the first of which is able to dissolve in oil, and the second in water.

Powder with measuring spoon

With the help of such a simple compound, the detergent gets the ability to wash all dirt well, including grease.

Environmental impact

It is important to understand that despite the fact that detergents have become part of our daily lives, they nevertheless have an extremely harmful effect on the environment. Water with oil products dissolved in it enters all reservoirs, after which it destroys vegetation and all inhabitants in them.

washing clothes

The reader will surely say that the use of detergents is not so harmful, because treatment facilities do not allow such pollution of water bodies. Undoubtedly, water treatment plants try to do their job, but they are not able to completely rid waterresources from all harmful compounds, as they are forced to process a huge amount of incoming pollution every day. For this reason, fish and various vegetation suffer.

Effect on the body

Having given the reader a clear idea of ​​what detergents are, it is impossible not to mention their impact on human he alth. When using household detergents, in no case should you forget about the use of gloves, and it is better to get a mask that protects the respiratory tract from harmful fumes. If these rules are neglected, it can turn into serious and irreversible he alth problems for you. It is especially worth worrying if, after washing, the product remains on the dishes and subsequently enters the body with food.

The main danger of getting oil products into the human body is the dissolution of the gastric mucosa with detergents. It is the mucous membrane that suffers in the first place, as it has a fatty base that dissolves with detergents. Because of this, the risk of gastritis or even stomach ulcers, as well as many other diseases associated with the gastrointestinal tract, increases. A good choice for the average city dweller is to minimize the use of chemical detergents and opt for plant-based soaps more often to protect both the environment and their he alth.


We hope that this article was useful and interesting for you. Now you know what detergents are, as well as how they affect nature and the human body. Remember that taking care of yourselfbody and the surrounding world is the direct duty of every respectable citizen. Together we can definitely make the world a better place.

Popular topic