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Welcome to Stuff You Should Know. A production of IHOP radios HowStuffWorks. Hey, and welcome to the podcast, I'm Josh Clark, and there's Charles W. Chuck Brian over there. And Jerry fellated in and out like a little cuddly fairy. And this is this is stuff you should know. I don't think you want the country to visit. Uh, how about the covid safety fairy?
You want the soap fairy? Yeah, because the soap fairy can take on the comet fairy and smack that B word down.
Yeah. And more specifically, it can pry it open and say spill out your guts. Yeah.
Belarus', it's pretty amazing what it does. I mean like soap just just from like just this research. I'm just fascinated with it. It's a magical potion. And I think the fact that, like, we have no real clue how we figured out how to make soap is just makes the whole thing even that much more delightful.
Yeah, and knowing how it actually works is really neat. And hopefully this convinces some people that it does work better than Energiser.
Yeah. Rather than just running your your hands under some water for a half of a second and wiping them on your shirt. Well that too. Yeah. So we are talking about soap and I want to check before we start, I want to give a special shout out to Dr. Broadeners because they are soap makers and they also requested this this episode years ago. Oh, yeah. Yeah.
They wrote in and said, hey, here's some free samples. How about an episode on soap? We said, OK, we can't be bought with free samples, but an episode of soap is a good idea. So finally, we're getting around to it.
Yeah, and we had their big jumbo daddy liquid Castiel soaps by our sink here at work. Yeah.
Remember we had that Castiel soap fight, the great Castiel supportive of the arts. Yeah. Twelve. Now their stuff's good and, you know, it was it for the fact that my wife makes soap, then I would I would be firmly on the Dr. Bronner's train. I like their stuff.
I feel like you can do both now. No, I really wouldn't allow that. She's like you. It's them, never me. Well, I mean, how about this tell? You mean to open a business for 20 years and then say, I feel like I might like to use your competitor some as well.
OK, all right. All right.
But I'll bet the people at Dr. Broadeners use Emily so much. Yeah, I don't know. Maybe let's find out. Maybe they can write it. So. So, yes, Emily does make soap, too. She sells it. It love your mama Dotcom, doesn't she.
Yeah. I mean, I haven't had to buy soap in and 15 plus years it's been great. Do you help out making the soap. I did in the early days.
I've made quite a few batches in my day, but just not anymore.
What's your specialty? Well, I mean, I didn't have a specialty. I would just make whatever she told me to make. I gotcha. It's fun that I've got.
I have to make genitals soap again. Oh, God. And that's not so good for the genitals. It's soap in the shape of genitals and also for the genitals. Sure. I guess you probably shouldn't really make a distinction, you know. So like we said, soap is kind of magic, Chuck.
And I feel like we should just kind of off the bat talk about why it's magic, because it's one of those things where science can explain it. But that doesn't really make it any less impressive. You know, actually, it makes it kind of more impressive, to tell you the truth.
Yeah. And you know what soap is, is just a couple of things, like if you were to go back a long time and we'll talk about the history or go out in the middle of the furthest reaches of, oh, I don't know, the jungle where people are sort of making their own versions of soap. You really just need a couple of things, which is some sort of a fad or an oil and an alkali. And that's really it.
You know, people can use a lot of people through history of use animal fat and stuff like that. Obviously, Fight Club had the big joke about using lard from liposuction lard, I think.
Right? Yeah. Yeah. So that's fat, too. But, you know, Emily is an olive oil based Sopan. I'm a big fan of that. Yeah. Yeah.
They figured out finally you could you didn't need to sacrifice goats anymore. You could just use sacrifice.
Oh right. Yeah. Same ceremony. It's just stinkier. That's right. So yeah that's I mean that's all there is to it in an alkali in this case it's a well an alkali in every case is a type of base, it's the opposite of an acid on the scale has a high P.H. and usually traditionally when making soap it comes in the form of lye. Yeah. And lye you can get by chopping down some wood, specifically hardwood. You don't want softwood burning it, taking the ashes, boiling them and then scraping off what floats to the top.
You have lye right there and that's one of the two main ingredients along with fat, like you said, in making soap. That's it. That's all there is to soap. Right. But it's so you would like you would never put those two things together that it's almost like it makes more sense how we figured out how to make alcohol.
Yeah. And it does. How we figured out how to make soap.
You know what I mean. Yeah, totally. It's not very intuitive. No, it's not at all. But that is what soap is. And we've been making it for at least about forty eight hundred five thousand years, as we'll see. But before we get to the history check, let's talk a little bit about how the whole thing works. OK, yeah.
So, you know, you've got water and that's a key component to washing your body. And if you've ever heard the term oil and water don't mix, that's true because it's all about, you know, it goes down to a molecular level and water molecules, they like each other a lot, but they don't like oil. They don't like fat because the oil molecules are big and they don't have these polls that have different electrical charges.
And it really is interesting that it comes down to little chemistry in this case. Yeah.
Do you remember, I think in our pepper spray episode, we explained why if you rinse your face off with water after you've been pepper sprayed, it doesn't work.
It's because the water and I think the capsaicin don't bind together. But if you use something like milk, like a fat that fat binds the capsaicin. So that's why you'd want to use milk to wash your eyes out after being pepper sprayed.
Yeah, yeah. The end. So here's a very similar thing going on with water. Water, like you said, likes to bind to itself. And that binding Chuck is what accounts for surface tension, which is how you can fill a glass of water up with water slightly over the rim of the glass and it will hold its shape. It's because water molecules are so attracted to each other that they form like basically a. Well, a tense surface and surface tension, so when you add soap, things change, soap comes along and says, I see what you like, see what's going on here, but I'm going to shake things up a little bit.
Yeah. And it's so cool because soap basically gets oil and water to party together, right? Soap comes in. They have these pin shaped ends and each end it's almost like it was meant to be this way or something. They are very distinct ends and they bind with the water on one side and the oil on the other as if it was just made to say, you guys need to get together and clean things.
Yeah, but not only do they like, bind with the water on one end and oil and the other, and they have like polar opposite ends, a single soap molecule does.
So not only does like the end like to bind with oil, which means it's only Ofili, it hates water, which makes it hydrophobic. Yeah. And because their end is hydrophobic, it does everything it can to get away from water, including pushing through water and separating water into its constituent molecules, which loosens that surface tension of water, which makes soap a surfactant, a surface active agent, which means that it makes water a little more permeable, like water can get into tinier cracks and crevices than it normally would because that that hydrophobic end of the soap molecule is keeping the water from from coming together because it's just plowing right through trying to get away from the water.
Yeah. And that's the tail end. That end of the soap has a little bit of a negative charge and that says, all right, I really want to bond with that positive hydrogen atom in water. So that may makes it hydrophilic so that it loves water. The other end loves the oil. And when they come together and I love the way Davor is put it, he said the hydrophilic head in the hydrophobic tail, like a team of bouncer's that surround the particles and say, get out of here.
And I think the one thing we didn't mention that makes us all work is the fact that and the reason why just rinsing your hands off doesn't work as well as with soap is that almost all the dirt and all that stuff that builds up on your body has oil in it.
Right. So so let's let's give an example here, Chuck. Let's say that you have some cake frosting on your hands. Don't ask.
Well, you just you know how you take care of that. Yeah, but you've looked at so, so much so that now kind of getting gross and you just need to finally reach that point where you need you're going to suggest washing that off of your hands.
Right. OK, no, not that. No, that we're past that stage looking stage and we're at the handwashing stage now. When you when you get your hands with water, you get it nice and primed. Then when you add soap and you lather the soap up, what you're doing is you're you're introducing those soap molecules, which are, again, special magic little molecules into this. You're creating like a solution, a soapy water solution. And so those soap molecules are basically trying to get away from the water on one side and on that side, they're saying, oh, hey, a little bit of oily hydrogenated cake frosting.
Great. I want to be attracted to you. And a bunch of different soap molecules are going to do that to a single little particle of cake frosting and they essentially surround it. So the tail end of a bunch of different soap molecules are all pointing inward, enveloping basically a little particle of cake frosting. And then on the outside, they're connecting to the water molecules that are surrounding that. Right. So that's basically stage one and the cake frosting starts to sweat a little bit.
It's like, well, what's going to come next? What's coming next? I don't really like being surrounded like this without knowing what's coming next. And the cake frosting doesn't want to know what comes next because it doesn't pan out well for it.
Yeah. So it gets surrounded. And like you said, the details are pointing in, the heads are pointing out and it surrounds and basically traps the dirt in the oil in what are called my cells. M i c e l l e s.
And that's a little bubble around the dirt basically and all those little little outside pointing heads lift that dirt from the surface and all of a sudden it's floating around a little bit now and not bound to your skin is like, I don't know what's happening. And that's where your good friend water comes in to just wash it all down the drain. Yeah.
Because so remember, in addition to being olio feel like where it's attracted to oils, it's also a surfactant. So it breaks Wollar water molecules up, which means that that water can get into smaller crevices, for example, underneath that piece of cake frosting. So it makes it easier for it to just get carried away, too. So it's all just kind of coming together into this amazing little process. That happens every time you wash your hands and form those little myself bubbles.
That's where all those particles go. They just get carried off thanks to the soap molecules surrounding them, connecting with the water molecules and then just getting rinsed away. It's kind of like, you know, that scene in True Lies where Jamie Lee Curtis is hanging from the helicopter and Arnold Schwarzenegger is holding on to her and he's actually holding on the helicopter. So Arnold Schwarzenegger is the soap molecule. Jamie Lee Curtis is the cake frosting and the helicopter is the water that's rinsing it all the way down the drain.
That's right in the dirt, saying, I'll be back in the soap saying, no, you won't.
Right. It's terrible. The famous retort to I'll be back.
And the coolest thing about all of this, I mean, that's just how it takes care of the dirt on your body, which is amazing in and of itself. But it can do the same thing with viruses and bacteria, especially, or not especially, but including the coronavirus, because a lot of these things have this double layered lipid membrane, including the coronavirus and the deal with that hydrophobic into the soap.
It's really, really sharp. And so it can actually you get a bunch of those guys together and it can wedge in between those membranes and kind of if you get enough of them pried up like it's a crowbar or something.
And then that's when the virus is all of a sudden, you know, like Arnold Schwarzenegger just taking care of business. Yeah.
It basically gets ripped apart by so many, like death by a thousand paper cuts. But instead of paper, it's soap molecules. And the lipid membrey that protects the virus just gets torn right open. It's great because the virus proteins out and those virus proteins actually get enveloped by even more soap molecules. So not only does it like get rid of microbes, it actually like kills certain kinds of microbes.
Just we're just talking about regular plain old soap and water here, everybody.
Yeah. And, you know, not to get too ahead of the game, but that's why soap is better for washing your hands during or at all times, but especially during a time like this, because I think people just figure like because we have this association with like alcohol and that smell like it just kills everything on contact.
Sure. But it doesn't kill everything on contact. And if you're in a pinch and you don't have soap and you're at a store or something, and it's good to have that stuff to use, but it doesn't necessarily kill it 100 percent. And what you're not doing is washing it off with water and down the drain.
No, you're not. And so so there's two problems here. Yes. It killed a bunch of stuff, especially things that alcohol can kill. But the stuff that it can't kill, you just basically even alcohol bath to and it's still there on your hands. Yeah. So when you do touch your face again, inevitably those things are going to be introduced to your mouth, including things like polio virus, which, as we learned recently, you don't want to go into your mouth.
So we take a break.
I think we should. And then we'll come back and talk history maybe.
Yeah, let's do it, OK. All right, Chuck, so so like we said, we're not entirely sure how we ever figured out how to make soap, but we do know from records, hieroglyphics, cuneiform tablets, all that jazz that in Mesopotamia people were making soap, you know, taking an alkali and a fat, mixing them together, adding heat and water and through hydrolysis, going through this process called the pontification. Yeah. And producing soap.
That's how you produce soap. Has to have gone through soap pontification to be considered soap. Right. That we've been doing this we humans for at least 5000 years. Yeah.
It's kind of cool. When I was making batches of soap that I heard that word a lot from Emily because I would you know, there's a lot of mixing involved and I would think I was done with the mixing and she'd say it hasn't signified yet. And, you know, it's just sort of an easy test. You would lift the mixer out, kind of sling a little bit of it on the surface. And it's almost like seeing when a pasta noodles done.
You can just sort of tell, by the way, it's sure the thickness is in the way it sits. Yeah. And when you finally reach its sonification point, your you know, you're right. Iraq, it's a great word.
Is it is. I always called it. I would always say that we're pulling into sonification station, which was my old joke. It's a good one.
So pontification actually took I didn't realize that it was from legendary mythical mountain. Did you know that Mount Suppo. Is that the Roman one? Yeah, yeah, that's the sort of the legend, and no one knows if it's true, but it sounds it makes for a good story.
From what I understand, it is definitely not true. OK, but it does make for a good story. So we're going to try anyway, agreed on that. So, yeah, in ancient Rome, there was a Mount Sopo. And as the legend goes, that is not true. Ancient priests would sacrifice animals up there. And when it would rain, that animal fat from that disgusting animal sacrifice ceremony would flow down along with the wood ash that you already mentioned was the alkali and go down there to the river, the Tiber River, and people are washing their clothes down there.
And when that happened, they would be like, man, this stuff sudsing up in my clothes have never been cleaner.
Yeah, it's not just plain clean. Yeah, that's Sopo clean. Right.
So we from what I understand, there's just no question that there is no such thing as Mount Sopo and that this is all just kind of a made up find origin story.
There really is no God. I didn't know that that was fake.
The Mount Sopo is fake.
I just thought the legend was fake. I didn't like are there Romans? Are they fake? I don't know.
The jury's kind of still there are today, but we're not sure where they came from. No, from what I from what I know, there's not a real Mount Sopo. But the fact is the Romans felt compelled for some reason to say, where did this come from? Oh, well, let me explain with this made up story. So and by the time this Mt.. Sopo Legend came around, I mean, people had been making this stuff for a couple of thousand years already.
So it definitely did not originate at Mount Sopo because there is no Mt.. Sopo. But we do know the Romans were into it, not just from that legend, but also Pliny the Elder mentioned it in his naturalist Historia from 77.
See, you know what else the Romans were into, Yeth or do they were into a lot of stuff there.
Like I got a great story for you about this up. Come on into this room with these other thirty five people. Yeah. Have you met my friend? Prehaps I'll tell you all about it, you're going to love him.
So they were definitely producing what you would call SoPE though by 200 BCE.
That was from KO'd and like goat fat and beech tree ash and they would clean stuff in towns with that kind of stuff. They would wash their pots out. Other people would use it to clean cotton, to make textiles and stuff like that. But it wasn't like it wasn't for personal use yet.
No, that was like the one thing in common as people were using it for everything but washing themselves. It's like, I don't know if it just didn't hit upon them or whatever, but they did like apparently the Gall's even used it to slick their hair back, not to wash their hair, just to lick it back and give it a nice little reddish tint, apparently nice.
But the butt Europe. So Europe had like soap making GILD's from I think 7th century for for a very long time. People had been making soap in Europe, but it wasn't until after the Crusades that some of the crusaders returned as the legend goes very dirty, I suppose, style story. But they returned supposedly with Aleppo's soap from Syria, which is fragrance with Bellerose. Very nice, beautiful olive oil soap you can still get today. But the story goes that the returning crusaders to get this stuff is soap, but you use it to wash your genitals.
And Europe started to get very clean, at least like the elite aristocracy who had the money to afford things like that got very clean.
Well, at least their genitals did right.
It took another three hundred years for some would be like, I wonder if you could use this on your underarms as well.
Right. And what about your face? They're like, you know, where you've been washing with that stuff. It's it's got hair on it to prove it, I guess.
Do that was too much for you? No, no, no, this is I don't even use the word pubic hair. I mean, we said the word genitals like five times. That's true.
So that was that was how Europe supposedly started to come into soap. It was imported from the Middle East. But in very short order, I think Spain started making Castile's soap out of olive oil and it took off in France and England and elsewhere. And again, it was a luxury item, but it was it became much more widespread when Europe started making it themselves.
Yeah, I think the Castillo region. Right. Didn't know where that came from. Mm hmm. Yeah.
And as long as it's supposedly originally it was made from olive oil, it qualified as a Castile's soap. But even now you can make Castiel soap from like palm oil or coconut oil or whatever, and it's still considered Castiel soap. So I think it's just a free for all.
Yeah. Um, you know what I like about Emilie's liquid soap and the doctor Bronner's is that it's how liquid soap should be, which is to say then it's almost like has the same sort of viscosity as water. And whenever I see and I don't want a name like Sláma name brand, but sure.
Let's just say the very popular hand soap that they've had around since the 80s. Mm hmm. And the way that stuff comes out, all gooey and Perley, it's just so gross, really.
Mother of Purlie, it's really nasty looking to me now that I've seen like, good real liquid soap. Yeah. Yeah.
So, yeah. One of the other things I like about Kestral soap with Dr. Brunner's and Emily's in particular is that your hands feel washed afterwards.
Totally. It doesn't feel like you missed any like there's a residue, it's like it's gone. But it also has left behind like a clean feeling. It's just its own thing for sure.
Yeah. And you know, since we're talking about this, I want to say a huge thanks to people that went out and bought stuff from her store after the Essential Oils episode.
We've given her plenty of shout outs over the years and there's always been a little little spikes in her business. But I think the topic in small business and hurting because of the coronavirus and everything kind of came together and they've been overwhelmed with support. And it's been, oh, that's great. Really, really sweet. And a little bit much even. But it's been it's kind of like be careful what you ask for, you know. Right.
It's in buzz, corporate buzz speak. They say that's a good problem to have.
Yeah. So if you're going to order soap, just wait a week or two, OK? Fair warning everybody.
Or just be prepared to wait a week or two on the back end.
Hey, by the way, you can also order something now to that you have to wait for. And that would be our book, an incomplete compendium of mostly interesting things which you can order right now anywhere you buy books. And if you're lucky enough to live in the United States and Canada currently, you get a free post or as a gift to preorder.
Wow. That's that was a nice Segway, my friend. Thank you. So it took hundreds and hundreds of years, thousands of years. Chuck, think about this. Thousands of years after the invention of soap, before we finally started to use it on ourselves. And then apparently it wasn't until after the civil war, at least in the United States, that that using soap really took off and soap making in the soap making industry became like kind of a thing all around the same time.
Yeah, like I think Ivory Soap was released in 1879. Little Palmolive was released around the same time. I never realized Palmolive soap is so named because it has palm oil and olive oil in it. Did you know that?
Uh, I didn't. But, you know, I know those are two potential soap ingredients. And palm oil is a little controversial these days because of the way it's sourced. Yeah.
And, you know, we don't have to go down that rabbit hole, but just when you're shopping for stuff, just sort of try and figure out where that stuff's coming from, is all I'm saying.
And then let's see what else Lifebuoy the one that Ralphie hated so much. I was that Lifebuoy. Yeah. Yeah.
That one came out in 1895. And what was remarkable about Lifebuoy is that it was they were the ones who coined the term body odor BAEO as part of a marketing campaign to get you to actually buy and use soap, did not know that.
I feel like we must have talked about that in our body odor episode.
You know, I don't know. I do like that little ivory story, too, though, that in 1879, a soap maker at PMG made a mistake as the legend goes and forgot to turn off the mixer. And then that whipped a bunch of air. And there is this. What happens when you over mix something? Yeah. And shipped him out anyway, because he was like, I don't want to get, you know, pin for this and.
Certainly a lot of people wrote in and were like, I love that floating soap, and that was sort of always a selling point for ivory, was that it floats. Yeah.
And the moral of the story is that they fired him anyway for withholding information.
That's right. Jimmy Ivory. Yeah, they kept his name. They kept his name. And then the hand soap. In 1865, William Shepherd patented the first liquid soap. Mm hmm. But it took all the way until 1980 when, you know, SoftLayer came around. Yeah.
And here's the thing. Did you know the story from the Minnetonka Corporation? I didn't previous to reading this. This is so great. So the Minnetonka Corporation are the ones who debuted soft soap. And before then it was like you have bar soap. That was your option. But in 1980, they said, we're going to release this and I think it's going to be a big deal. So we're going to go around and buy up all of the the soap pumps that anybody could possibly use.
And they cornered the market on liquid soap just from buying up all the soap pumps. You think that's a good thing before they release as far as like from the lens of a robber baron? OK, it's a great thing. It's like it seems like a jerk move to me.
At the very least, it's a good story, you know, and everyone they talk to, they were like, oh, no, go out and make liquid soap. What you going to put it in? Yeah.
Where are you going to deliver it by hand to people and just be like you're holding your hand up your hands will give you some of our liquid soap.
You get a wrapping paper. I don't think so.
It's true. Oh, and speaking of wrapping paper, I have one more little piece of lower soap blower. You ever use Irish Spring?
Uh, I did in college. OK, yeah. That's the appropriate time to use Irish. Yeah. You know, that century there's actually a name for it. It's not like publicly name, but internally I think Colgate-Palmolive it's called Alster Century did not know Alster fragrance. Um, and when they came out with Irish Spring it wasn't debuted in Ireland. No one in Ireland invented it. It was actually invented in Germany in nineteen seventy and then it made its way to the United States in nineteen seventy two.
And initially for the first decade that Irish Spring was around on the package. It said a manly deodorant soap. How interesting to meant they couldn't call with German Spring either, because that sounds like some kind of Nazi offensive or something they they called the Irish Spring.
But in German, I remember how it's pronounced. Hmm. I don't remember that one. You can't put two and two together from that now. Yeah, well, I'll see if I can find it. Well, we're still talking.
OK, so should we talk about how you should wash your hands since that's relevant? Yeah, I think so.
And I know we talked about this on the covid episode, but I love the way that this doctor put it. It was a health official, I think, that said wash your hands like you've been shopping. How opinions and you need to change out your contact lenses.
That's really great advice. It was sort of like when we did this reminds me of when we did Poison Ivy and they said, you need to scrub like there's grease, like auto black auto grease on your body. You remember saying that?
No, I mean, that was just the advice from the Poison Ivy episode. Okay, but that's what I'm saying.
Like, I don't remember giving that advice. I'm impressed as well.
Yeah, I remember that because you got to get that that poisoned oil off your body and it's very greasy.
I got poison ivy again the other day. Man, it's terrible how bad it was.
Very concentrated in a small area.
I think of my genitals on my ankle around my ankle, I think. Yeah, but it was like it was just a study in self-control not to touch it. I had zero calamine lotion or anything like that I could use.
It was bad, really bad. I officially get it now because I think when we recorded that I had not yet I didn't think I was allergic or whatever. But I've since gotten it a couple of times, including a couple of weeks ago, just like you. Wow. Not much, though. Just a couple of tiny little spots.
Maybe yours is sympathy poison ivy. Maybe because I had it, you know. Yeah, my genitals itched.
Your genitals always itch and sympathy for me. Oh, man.
I think. How many times have we said that now? Eight, we should put in a little ding buzzer or something. Let's see if we can get Jerry to do that. All right. Hey, do you want to know what Irish Spring is in German? Yeah. What Irish or Freeling? Yeah. All right. How is my German? Great. Was that how you would say Irish or. I guess so how was it spelled, just Irish with an R.
. No, I ah, I see a. Of course I see. Yeah. Yeah that's right.
OK, and then Freeling. There's even an email. Mm. Love the zoom lens.
So do you want to take a break and talk about how to wash your hands or do you want to wash your hands and then take a break.
Now let's take that break. OK everybody, we'll be right back.
All right, we're going to wash your hands. We're going to do it. Got to get them to start with water. Mm hmm. Got to soap up and then you got to really start scrubbing.
And especially now these days when they've and this is just you should just do this from now to the end of time now that we really know how to watch and. Right.
You know, scrub those palm, scrub the bags, get in between those fingers, getting those fingernails, they say, to sing Happy Birthday a couple of times, like these ones. Sure. If you know them, I like to use I like to use really hot water just because it makes me feel like I'm getting them cleaner. Hurts me. Does it really? Yeah, and cold water. No, no, no, I'm not crazy, but I do like warm water, warm toward the hot side, but definitely not hot.
Like, I wouldn't characterize it as hot. Yeah.
Like it's so hot I can barely stand it. Really. Oh, boy.
That to me is just shy away from that.
And here's something that I've been wanting to say for a long, long time, because this has been one of Emily's big sort of things, has stuck in her craw is I guess that's not the right thing. Something stuck in your craw. Now, that's not quite right, but you know what I mean, a thorn in our side. OK, I could see both working is that antibacterial soap is not more effective people. It's not. It's not.
It's not. No.
And in fact, it's actually kind of harmful in the larger scheme of things. But it doesn't do anything that soap can't do.
Now, you've fallen for some marketing gobbledygook. Stop it. And I mean, it makes sense.
You would think, like, OK, I'm washing my hands, but I'm also washing my hands with something that has an antibacterial agent. So it's killing stuff. And yes, it kills some things. That's true. But the problem is, is the stuff that it doesn't kill stays around and evolves to be resistant to those antibacterial agents. Right. And the problem is, is that those same bugs aren't just on your hands and don't just encounter soap. We use antibiotics against them.
But if they've learned to be resistant from soap washing by, you know, billions of people every day, it makes it way harder to kill them with antibiotics. And so they finally figured out that some of the antibiotic resistant bugs that we were starting to see were we're basically in training through antibacterial soap and eventually that I think the FDA banned two of the ingredients that that were commonly used in antibacterial soap, right?
Yeah, they banned triclosan and trich low carbon and said use regular soap, everybody. The FDA said that it's not just me talking. No.
And I mean, it's because they're that regular soap does all the same things that that antibacterial soap does, too. And I have to say, Chuck, so we're talking about hand washing. One of the things that I found astounding and all of this is that so handwashing is so prevalent now, but it's not like it was anything new when the when the covid pandemic came around. Right. Right. Sure.
But apparently it's still relatively new as far as hand washing guidelines go. That wasn't until the 80s that the CDC issued their first hand washing guidelines, and that was for hospitals.
Hospitals didn't have hand washing guidelines issued by the CDC until the 80s. And that astounding. It is.
But I wonder if that was just because they were like, uh, duh, everybody. And then someone said, well, you should probably just codify it. I don't know.
I saw that it was in response to some hospital acquired infection outbreaks. So maybe the CDC was like, you know this, right? Yeah. It turns out that hospitals were like, no, not really.
Yeah, very interesting. I mean, doctors were walking around touching their genitals, doing surgery thing. Yeah.
So here's another thing. Liquid soap versus bar soap. You would think that and I think a lot of people may be disgusted by bar soap that other people use, especially when they're hairy.
But they have done studies. They did a study in 1965 where they contaminated the hands of the researchers with five million bacteria and then had them wash their hands and then had other people afterward and found that the bacteria was not transferred to the second user. This was confirmed in 1988 with another study. And what they came to the conclusion they came to basically is there could be some surface bacteria on a bar soap that's just left out like that. But it definitely doesn't transmit infection, huh?
Well, why wouldn't it?
I don't know, because they just showed that it didn't, huh? Yeah, they showed that it didn't transmit infection. And I mean, I don't know, maybe it's the properties of the soap at work or maybe it just doesn't live that long on on a surface like that.
I could see that I could see soap not being a very hospitable surface for microbes.
But when I do pick up bar soap in the shower, like I always give it a rinse off first, you know it get it wet, get the get the layer of gunk off first, you know. Yeah, that's true.
And I think I think people probably would be grossed out if public restrooms just had a bar of soap in there. Their.
But it's not going to get you sick. But but I get it. You know, you have those pumps of individual soaps. I get it. It's true.
Plus also usually when you encounter liquid soap, it has like other stuff in it that maybe moisturizes your hands or does things that a bar soap might not. What's the deal with detergent? So here's the thing. Most of the stuff that you have in your bathroom right now that you consider soap are actually detergents. A detergent is simply a synthetic soap. The only way for something to qualify as a soap is for it to have gone through the pontifications station cruised right past.
I'm glad this came up because Emily came through when I was researching, researching, and she was like, you know, soap isn't even soap anymore. She's like they can they can call it soap legally, but it's not even soap.
Yeah, so. So you've got your facts and you've got your alkaline and you put them together and they undergo the pontification and you have soap. If you don't start with fat and alkaline and they don't undergo so pontification, you have something that does the same thing and in many cases is even more desirable, has more desirable traits than just natural soap. But it's just not soap. It's a detergent. And the first detergents and plenty of detergent still around today were derived from synthetic chemicals that came from petroleum, actually.
Yeah, because the deal was is once they figured out soap many, many years ago, they just washed everything with soap, clothes and your dishes and they would clean floors. And it was, you know, that's not what it was made for. So it would leave a residue. It's called soap scum. And especially when it's mixed with hard water, if it's really high in mineral, salt, magnesium and calcium, it's going to make a lot of soap scum.
And it was a big problem back in the old days when it would be left over on your kitchen floor or, you know, big time on your washing machine.
Yeah, well, that was a big, big problem because washing machines came out before laundry detergent did. And it could really gum up the works when you had a soap scum layer that was hard as concrete on it.
That's right. But detergent solved all that it did because detergent doesn't leave soap scum because it doesn't interact with calcium and magnesium in hard water, which made it vastly preferable to use for laundry, which is by the first detergents that they ever came out with, were laundry detergent. And specifically, from what I saw, the first detergent was Dreft in nineteen thirty three, which is still around today.
You can get Dreft. Oh really? Yeah, yeah.
It's still very much around. And in Canada it's called Ivory Snow because Canadian. Oh sure. Just weird with everything I've heard of ivory snow.
Didn't we have anything. Dreft everything. Well Dreft came around in that handled like pretty decently soiled things, but nothing, nothing too heavy. And so was it the same company that went on to create tide?
I'm pretty sure it was Procter and Gamble that did Dreft. Did they do tied to me. I want to say yes, I want you to, but I don't want to get sued, actually. Let's just go with.
Yes, OK. The next one. Yeah, the next big one in nineteen forty three was tied and that was a combination of these synthetic surfactants and something called builders. And the builders kind of worked in concert with the synthetic surfactants to just kind of get out tougher stains. And in 1946 they brought it onto the test market as a heavy duty detergent. Everyone loved it. And it's this is kind of cool.
Where did you get this? Actually, this piece?
I think that one was from thought company. And I also want to give a shout out to another thought company piece that was written by an historian named Judith Rittner, who gave us a lot of the history stuff, too.
Well, Tide has tried to improve it a lot over the years and has not stopped. And it says that each year they basically try and duplicate mineral content of the water in all parts of the US, like what are all the kinds of water that we have in the United States and let's do 50000 test loads with tide just to make sure we're still up to snuff. Yeah, every year, 50000 test loads.
Imagine being the person in charge of that laundry when you just go just totally out of it.
Pretty bad, you know. Fifty thousand. I wouldn't make it to fifty.
Yeah. Fifty loads of laundry taking a stand against laundry, oh, although I have to say so, I'm one of the things we're talking about, Castiel. So in addition to just being soap, it does. It's no good to do a lot of stuff. And one of the things supposedly is laundry. So I did a test on grease stain on some shorts.
Oh yeah, Christ with the soap. And I will report back eventually to let you know if it worked OK, where it was treated.
It look like that too far from the genitals now that you mention it.
Dingding and so, so a detergent again it's just a synthetic synthetic soap and it doesn't do anything differently. But the reason why companies prefer detergents is because they can control it a lot more. It's something that they create themselves. They don't have to rely on nature. They don't have to keep a high priest on the payroll to oversee the goat sacrifices to get the talo. It's just a lot easier to control from beginning to end. The problem is, is a lot of times some of those stuff, some of those synthetic detergents can be harsh on your skin.
Yeah, it can dry things out. It can be irritants for sure.
If you have eczema, that's that's definitely something that you might or dermatitis. And Emily's had a lot of success with people that specifically use her soap because it's real soap and they had excellent skin problems and that really helped it out.
Yeah. Yeah. Because I mean like even soap as it's high up on the on the scale higher than your natural skin, but it's usually much lower than say like a detergent. The thing is, is modern chemistry and monterroso banking can can adjust things as needed to to make things easier on your skin for sure. Yeah.
And those detergents aren't great for getting that greywater, getting into the eventual fresh water supply. It's no good for animals and fishes especially.
No. Supposedly, you know, soaps or surfactants, detergents are as well, which means that they break the surface tension of water, which makes it easier for for fish to absorb all the gunk that we put in the water along with detergents, too. So it's bad on that side and it also stretches out and breaks through there the membrane that keeps them. Guey. Which is not good for fish either. No, it's no good fish, just need to use soap.
I don't know what their problem is and now get clean.
You wouldn't smell so fishy, right? You got anything else about soap? Got nothing else. Use it. People wash your hands a lot. Yeah, wash your hands.
Everybody say your ABCs. Say happy birthday twice, but really get a good lather going and wash them a lot.
OK. OK. And since we said OK a couple of times and genitals, God knows how many times it's time for listen to me.
I'm going to call this hot off the presses. You guys don't know this, but we are playing it dangerously close here lately with our recording schedule to close for our comfort. So things that we're recording are coming out days later and that means the corrections are coming just days later. So this is about the recently released Billy the Kid one. Hey, guys, love the show. It seriously keeps my workday interesting. Just listen to the ability to kid short stuff and really enjoyed it.
But I thought I'd share a tidbit of info. You mentioned that Billy went to slice up a bit of yearling, a.k.a. horse meat for a post-coital snack.
I'm from Wyoming and my family raises horses as well as beef and show cattle. I just thought I'd share in the livestock industry. Technically, almost all livestock stock is a yearling. Once they've had a year of age, especially especially coming to Cole younger butcher cattle yearlings. And then I've looked up the movie The Yearling. I remember that it's about that little baby deer.
So I thought that was about a horse to kids, about a deer, or at least there's a deer on the cover.
There's probably about a deer that would be very misleading if it was either that or like the person who is in charge of the cover design didn't bother to read the book.
Well, Jewel says this. Well, it's very possible it was a horse because people did horses back then. Uh, yearling horses have don't have much meat on them. So unless the family was really starving, it's unlikely they'd put your horse that young for dinner. Most likely Billy was carving up a little bit of beef.
OK, that makes a little more sense. But is this from Jewel? Did you say as a jewel, the singer?
Well, it's from a jewel. I don't know. I don't think it's now it's not because I'm looking at the last name now. Uh, OK. I don't know what jewels last name is. I didn't even realize she had a last name.
I want to say it's your turn or something like that. OK, well, either way, she's great because I was listening to some of her old stuff not too long ago season. Yeah. And I was like, this is still really good music. Oh, okay.
Yeah. Give Jewel. Listen, Chuck, I think you'd be like what Josh is. Right.
Well, thank you Jewel for writing though. Yeah. Thank you. Other Jewel for writing in. And if you're the same jewel I'm on to you. If you want to get in touch with us like Jewel did, you can send us email like Jewel did. Go ahead and send it off to Stuff podcast that I heart. Radio dotcom. Stuff you should know is a production of radios HowStuffWorks for more podcasts, My Heart radio, because the radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.