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a cleansing agent. It cleanses by lowering the surface tension of water, by emulsifying grease, and by absorbing dirt into the foam.

Ancient peoples are believed to have employed wood ashes and water for washing and to have relieved the resulting irritation with grease or oil. In the 1st cent. A.D., Pliny described a soap of tallow and wood ashes used by Germanic tribes to brighten their hair. A soap factory and bars of scented soap were excavated at Pompeii. Soap fell into disuse after the fall of Rome but was revived in Italy probably in the 8th cent. and reached France c.1200; Marseilles became noted as a soapmaking center. Although soap was known in England in the 14th cent., the first English patent to a soapmaker was issued in the 17th cent. The industry was handicapped in England from 1712 to 1853 by a heavy tax on soap. In the American colonies soap factories appeared at an early date, and many housewives made soap from waste fats and lye (obtained by leaching wood ashes).

The manufacture of soap was stimulated by Chevreul's discovery of oleic and stearic acids in the early 19th cent. and by Leblanc's method (1791) of preparing soda from salt. Chemically, soaps are metallic salts of fatty acidsfatty acid,
any of the organic carboxylic acids present in fats and oils as esters of glycerol. Molecular weights of fatty acids vary over a wide range. The carbon skeleton of any fatty acid is unbranched. Some fatty acids are saturated, i.e.
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. The manufacture of soap is based on a chemical reaction (saponification) in which an alkali acts upon a fat to form a metal salt (soap) and an alcohol (glycerol). A number of methods may be employed to make soap, but all are based on the same principle of operation. Fats and oils (often blended) are heated in a large vessel, then enough alkali to react with all the fat is stirred in. Salt is added, and the soap then forms a light curd that floats to the surface. Glycerol, a valuable byproduct, can be distilled from the liquid residue.

To produce a purer soap, the curds are washed with salt solution, water is later added, and the solution is allowed to settle; the upper of the two layers thus formed is the pure soap, called settled soap. It is thoroughly churned, poured into huge frames, cut with wires, shaped, and stamped. Hard-milled soap is run over chilled rollers and is scraped off as chips which are rolled into ribbons, cut, and shaped. Soap is marketed also as chips, flakes, and beads and in powdered form. Soap powders, as distinguished from powdered soap, contain builders that assist in rough cleaning. Soaps differ according to the lathering properties of the fat or oils and according to the alkali employed. When sodium hydroxide is used as the alkali, hard soaps are formed; potassium hydroxide yields soft soaps.

Aluminum, calcium, magnesium, lead, or other metals are used in place of sodium or potassium for soaps used in industry as paint driers, ointments, and lubricating greases and in waterproofing. Fillers are added to many soaps to increase lathering, cleansing, and water-softening properties; the sodium salt of rosin is commonly used in yellow laundry soap to increase lathering. Soap substitutes include saponin-containing plants such as soapwort and shagbark and the modern soapless detergents (usually sulfonated alcohols), which may be used in hard water and even in saltwater without forming curds.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about soap?

A dream about soap is typically a dream about something that needs to be “cleaned up” in some fashion. Perhaps we need to “clean up our act,” or just “come clean” about something.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


A particular type of detergent, in which the water-solubilizing group is a carboxylate, COO‒, and the positive ion is usually sodium, Na+, or potassium, K+.
A soap compound mixed with a fragrance and other ingredients and then cast into soap bars of different shapes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A brick or tile of normal face dimensions, having a nominal 2-in. (5-cm) thickness.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. a cleaning or emulsifying agent made by reacting animal or vegetable fats or oils with potassium or sodium hydroxide. Soaps often contain colouring matter and perfume and act by emulsifying grease and lowering the surface tension of water, so that it more readily penetrates open materials such as textiles
2. any metallic salt of a fatty acid, such as palmitic or stearic acid
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005




This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


(Simple Object Access Protocol) A message-based protocol based on XML for accessing services on the Web. Initiated by Microsoft, IBM and others, it employs XML syntax to send text commands across the Internet using HTTP. SOAP is similar in purpose to the DCOM and CORBA distributed object systems, but is lighter weight and less programming intensive. Because of its simple exchange mechanism, SOAP can also be used to implement a messaging system. SOAP is supported in COM, DCOM, Internet Explorer and Microsoft's Java implementation. See UDDI, .NET Framework and REST.
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Some dream symbols are more difficult to interpret than others. Using soap in a dream seems to have obvious connotations, a need for cleansing and purification. Consider all of the details of your dream and think about what needs to be cleaned or refreshed. Washing with soap in your dream could refer to the cleaning up of your physical environment, your thoughts and feelings, or the resolution of a particular situation in life.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Then, to shape the last piece of the mould, it is surrounded by slabs and soft soap is spread on it.
This alkali reacts with fat to form soft soap. Ashes from other materials such as paper, cloth and garbage cannot be used.
8DA followed YESTERDAY'S SOLUTIONS WEE THINKER ACROSS: 7 Drop-off 9 Theft 10 Run in 11 Sierras 12 She 13 Soft soap 16 Impaired 17 Hot 19 Echidna 21 Riser 22 Heron 23 Deliver DOWN: 1 Address 2 Moonbeam 3 Moan 4 Stressed 5 Deer 6 Stash 8 Fast-forward 13 Standing 14 Adhesive 15 Stir-fry 18 Delhi 20 Hare 21 Rill QUICKIE ACROSS: 1 Crookedness 8 Sue 9 Web 11 Trailer 12 Drama 13 Rep 14 Gig 15 Besides 17 Pub 19 Ugly 21 Ally 23 Cone 25 Rota 27 Tom 29 Beneath 31 Par 34 Ton 36 Agent 37 Enclave 38 Yes 39 Key 40 Storyteller DOWN: 1 Cure 2 Reap 3 Oil well 4 Earwig 5 Nudge 6 Swag 7 Semi 8 Strip 10 Baggy 16 Sun 18 Bat 20 Get 22 Lab 24 Optical 25 Repay 26 Recent 28 Money 30 Enter 32 Ages 33 Rest 34 Take 35 Over
One teaspoon of soda, one of soft soap and one litre of water is sufficient strength for roses.
Later The Hoff got the Piers Morgan Life Stories soft soap and conceded: "I don't understand a word you people say."
PESHAWAR, 04 May, 2009 (Balochistan Times) -- The NWFP Govt has ordered to reopen the closed mines of soft soap in Sherwan area of the district Abbottabad beside establishing one hospital at Pind Kargu Khan and executing one big water supply scheme costing Rs.
They'd rather give him the soft soap treatment than risk bad headlines," the source added.
The yobs used a DIY napalm-type mixture of petrol and soft soap.
Organic gardeners will use soft soap solutions or high pressure water jets.