Darn Spot LAB!

Greyson and Filippo

Question / Problem

Does the amount of time the stain is left on the clothing determine the efficiency of the detergent?


We feel that the detergent will do it's job, but will have less effect on the stain that will be left overnight. We feel that because overnight the stain will set deeper into the clothing and will be harder to get out unlike the the stain that will only sit on the clothing for 2 minutes before entering the washing step.

2 minutes

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After the two minutes we put each piece of clothing into the jar. We notice right away that the water turned a brown color. We assumed then that the chocolate was still fresh and had not completely set into the clothing. Now with using just water we noticed that the clothing had turned a shade of brown and was not completely cleaned. The Sun had keep the white, but hadn't attack certain areas. Era seemed to do the most work at keeping it both white and removing most if not all of the chocolate. Leaving the chocolate on for only two minutes didn't seem to effect the detergent's abilities.


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Now leaving the stain overnight was another story. The chocolate had set well into the clothing, leaving it hard and stiff. We wash the clothing in the jar for one minute as we did with the two minute stain. You could see the water change as the chocolate washed around, but it wasn't as noticeable as the two minute stain. First was Era, It didn't do as well as the two minute stain, but still removed more than normal water. Second was Sun, It did the best out of the bunch. It removed the chocolate evenly throughout the clothing. Last was water, water did the worst as expected since it doesn't have any detergent / soap particles attacking the hard, stuck on chocolate.


In conclusion, we notice that the amount of time the stain is left on the clothing may determine the efficiency of that detergent in removing it completely from the clothing. There were a lot of flaws throughout our experiment though. We didn't wash the clothing as a normal washer or dryer might. Meaning the stains could be removed if given long enough in each detergent, but I think our Idea is in the right direction.

What we learned!

Our best understanding about soap on the molecular level is that soap decreases surface tension in water and can bind to dirt, oils, and other harmful bacterias. This interaction allows soap molecules to attach themselves onto dirts and oils. We learned that soap is created from an acid and a base. It's attached to both polar and non-polar, allowing it to clean the way it does. Since oils are non-polar and avoids water. Which is why just washing with water is a bad idea because it can't wash off the oils.

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