To determine whether or not different detergents affect the growth and health of plants and if they do, to measure in what ways the plants have been affected.
The hypothesis for this experiment is that the detergents will cause the plants to wither and possibly die since the detergents will hinder the plant’s ability to make food for itself and absorb nutrients.
- 5 small, inexpensive and separately potted plants
- 4 different types of detergents such as laundry soap, dish soap, hand soap and bath soap
- 1-2 gallons of distilled water
- Measuring cup
- 1 teaspoon
- Journal or notebook
- Space for the plants that includes enough sunshine for them to continue the process of photosynthesis
Estimated Experiment Time
- 1. Carefully inspect the plants to make sure they are healthy and are all relatively faring the same. Your experiment will not be accurate if one plant is more withered than another.
- 2. Pick one plant to be your control – throughout the experiment, it will be watered only with distilled water and no detergents will be used.
- 3. Label each plant so you will know which detergent is being used with which plant and which one your control is.
- 4. You will need to water each plant with ¼ cup of water each day. You do not want to use too much if the plants are small as you may end up overwatering them.
- 5. Prepare the detergent solutions for the plants by mixing 1 teaspoon of each detergent with the ¼ cup of water. Water each plant at the same time every day, watering the experimental plants with their respective detergent solutions and the control plant with distilled water only.
- 6. Repeat watering with the detergent mixtures and distilled water for seven days.
Make sure you turn the plants halfway through the experiment period to make sure each side of the plant is getting adequate sunshine. Make sure to rinse the measuring cup out with distilled water before mixing another type of detergent solution so that none of the detergent solutions contaminate the others.
Record your results each day. You will want to keep a journal of how each plant is faring. Each log should be detailed with the height and width of the plant (measured with the ruler) as well as the overall color and appearance of the plants.
It is expected that the plants will wither and die due to the detergents suffocating the plant and preventing the plant from absorbing oxygen and water efficiently.
Take a moment to visit our table of Periodic Elements page where you can get an in-depth view of all the elements,
complete with the industry first side-by-side element comparisons!