My grandparents chanced on some cheap soap in their house while cleaning. They obviously won't use it to shower, but does the abrasiveness mean that they're more potent? To wit, what exactly do the following chemical properties imply for their use?

Cheap soaps are very harsh and strip away the oil/waxy protective layer of skin, making it sticky (preemies have sticky skin because they don't have that protective layer).

Cheap soaps are made with high lye content, petroleum products and other chemicals.


closed as unclear what you're asking by Mithoron, Tyberius, airhuff, user55119, Todd Minehardt Nov 30 '18 at 23:47

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Really viscous greases are difficult to remove with soapy liquid; abrasives like pumice can be added to give some ability to break up the grease.

Alkalinity is helpful in removing greases which contain organic acids, although high alkalinity (lye) may be too rough on skin. Good for laundry, tho. I doubt that abrasives would help in the laundry, since the clothing is already abraded against itself.

For ordinary use, a mild soap that cleans and does not irritate is probably best. There is no need to be chemophobic: the mildest soap may still be made with lye (but not too much), and some petroleum products are used in soaps advertised as being especially mild.


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