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Release the Grease!

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    American Chemical Society

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Release the Grease!

In this simple activity (on page 7 of the PDF), learners use water and liquid dish detergent to see which one removes lipstick better from an index card. The detergent works better because it binds to both the water and the greasy lipstick. Since grease and water don't mix, the water alone doesn't work well at all. There is not much chemistry background provided for this activity, but it specifically mentions soap and hand washing, so it could make a good activity to connect with a health week celebration or lessons on preventing disease transmission.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity

English, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • White index card
  • Lipstick
  • Masking tape
  • Pen
  • 2 Small disposable cups (3 oz.)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Water
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent
  • 2 Cotton swabs


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • Health and Nutrition
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Science Festivals Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, American Chemical Society, ©2008


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