Petroleum Products: Laundry Detergent
You may have never thought of oil as a cleaner, however most laundry detergents nowadays create the product from man-made petro-chemicals, which function as cleaning agents, dyes and are also found in fragrances.
It all started back during Word War II, when the fats and oils used to make soap were being used to make explosives. Since these natural products were needed elsewhere, a substitute had to be found, and petroleum was plentiful.
Laundry detergent works by using surfactants, which is basically a chemical compound that attracts grease and dirt on one end, and water on the other. These surfactants draw out dirt and grime from clothes and then get stuck in the water, thus ensuring that clothes get clean.
Just like everything else made of petroleum, these types of detergents are highly contentious for many different organizations, and the use of certain types of petro-chemicals in detergents has been banned in Europe.
Here’s a link to an article on how detergents work, as well as a link to the Discovery Channel’s How It’s Made.
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