What’s the Difference Between Soap and Detergent?

Today, there are many cleansing products on the market. With so many options, it may be confusing to decide which products are best for your skin. Ideally, soaps made with more natural ingredients may be more gentle on your skin. With a little digging, you can be sure that you are using products to clean your skin that will baby you skin and give you the best results without undesired side effects like dry or oily skin.

True Soap

Some of the oldest human civilizations made soap; the first soaps were made by the Babylonians starting in 2800 B.C. Soap is made by mixing fats with an alkali (like lye). Soaps remove the dirt and dead cells from your body. Detergents go further and can remove beneficial things like lubricating oils. A luxurious body cleanser may actually be full of oil-stripping detergents that dry your skin more than you desire. When you search for a soap, be sure and read the label to understand what ingredients are used and their effects. Bar soaps come the closest to the soaps that our ancestors made and used. They are made with simple, basic ingredients and may have additives to improve their texture, scent, and color. Some common and beneficial soap additives include cornmeal, oatmeal, essential oils, dried herbs, and dried flowers.


A detergent is a substance made to break up and remove grease. It may be made of synthetic chemicals and additives prepared in a chemical plant. Detergents are used in many products today, such as in shampoo and laundry detergents. Detergents should never be consumed by animals or humans. The ultra-concentrated nature of detergent pods is one of the reasons they are so dangerous. The dangers of detergent pods, especially to children, has received a lot of attention (DO NOT EAT!). The more concentrated the product, the more harm they can do in a small packet and in a short amount of time. Just knowing about the danger has helped to educate parents and helped to protect children. Make sure to keep all harsh detergents out of their reach.

When using products on your body, choose natural soap products made especially for skin and hair. If you prefer shampoos, household cleaners, and laundry aids that include detergents, look for products with the fewest number of synthetic ingredients. A little research about soaps and detergents can help you understand the personal care and household cleaning products in your home.

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