When washing clothes and dishes


When washing clothes and dishes, we use a specific type of water to use the soap on so we can wash the dishes. Some waters can create a lot of suds and lather so it is easier to clean and some are difficult to create suds and lather, suds and lathers are bubbles and foams formed by soap. These waters are either hard or soft waters, they determine the amount of bubbles that are formed. When we say hard we do not mean by the water being literally hard, the hardness of the water means how many mineral the water contains. Minerals are solid, naturally occurring inorganic substances.
Minerals are building block for rocks, that are formed by nature. Examples of minerals are diamonds and emeralds, these types are called gems. The minerals that are found in water are calcium and magnesium cations, cations are atoms that are positively charged due to loss of electrons. Electrons are type of atoms that contain a negative charge.
Acids and bases are the huge main cause for minerals dissolving in water. Acids are compounds that forms H+ ions in their solution, bases are substances that can accept a hydrogen ion (H+) from another substance. Water is originally neutral, which means they aren’t an acid or a base. However, rainwater is slightly acidic, so when it rains, this slightly acidic water contacts with minerals. An example is limestone, a hard sedimentary rock, composed mainly of calcium carbonate used as building material and in the making of cement, the water reacts with the limestone, causing it become soluble (Similar to sugar with water). So when this occurs, calcium and magnesium ions get into the water supply.
The reason soap forms bubble in waters because of the molecule’s structure. One side is hydrophobic and the other is hydrophilic. The hydrophobic side is attracted to the air and the hydrophilic side is attracted to the water when soap is layered in it. These molecules can stretch when air is pushed around them hence the reason why bubbles form when you mix water and soap. Hard water, however does not produce suds and lathers as much as water, this is because the minerals making it insoluble, this results in a slimy scum.
As we said before, the hardness of water means the amount of minerals it contains. So hard water is the type of water that contains a lot of minerals. So the harder the water, meaning the more magnesium and calcium minerals it contains, the more soap you need to clean things. So more soap should be applied so it can become soluble. The reason why is because it’s more difficult to for the soap to dissolve in the water because as said, it has the minerals calcium and magnesium cations.
Soft water in the other hand, is the opposite of hard water, it barely contains minerals. So the softer the water, the less soap will be required due to the solubility which means less soap will be wasted, making the soft water better for cleaning. Since the soft water is more soluble, it is easier to clean with. The reason why is because the soap is not interfering with the calcium and magnesium cations.