Science, Tech, Math › Science Examples of Organic Chemistry in Everyday Life All are chemical reactions in products derived from living organisms Share Flipboard Email Print Stevica Mrdja / EyeEm / Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated October 16, 2019 Organic chemistry is the study of carbon compounds, which extends to understanding chemical reactions in living organisms and products derived from them. There are numerous examples of organic chemistry in everyday life. They're All Around Us Here are examples of organic chemistry at work: Polymers consist of long chains and branches of molecules. Common polymers you encounter every day are organic molecules. Examples include nylon, acrylic, PVC, polycarbonate, cellulose, and polyethylene. Petrochemicals are chemicals derived from crude oil or petroleum. Fractional distillation separates the raw material into organic compounds according to their different boiling points. Examples include gasoline, plastics, detergents, dyes, food additives, natural gas, and medicines. Although both are used for cleaning, soap and detergent are two different examples of organic chemistry. Soap is made by the saponification reaction, which reacts to hydroxide with an organic molecule (e.g., an animal fat) to produce glycerol and crude soap. While soap is an emulsifier, detergents tackle oily, greasy (organic) soiling mainly because they are surfactants, which lower the surface tension of the water and increase the solubility of organic compounds. Whether a perfume fragrance comes from a flower or a lab, the molecules you smell and enjoy are an example of organic chemistry. The cosmetics industry is a lucrative sector of organic chemistry. Chemists examine changes in the skin in response to metabolic and environmental factors, formulate products to address skin problems and enhance beauty, and analyze how cosmetics interact with the skin and other products. Products With Common Organic Chemicals These common products make use of organic chemistry: Shampoo Gasoline Perfume Lotion Drugs Food and food additives Plastics Paper Insect repellent Synthetic fabrics (nylon, polyester, rayon) Paint Mothballs (naphthalene) Enzymes Nail polish remover Wood Coal Natural gas Solvents Fertilizers Vitamins Dyes Soap Candles Asphalt Most products you use involve organic chemistry. Your computer, furniture, home, vehicle, food, and body contain organic compounds. Every living thing you encounter is organic. Inorganic items, such as rocks, air, metals, and water, often contain organic matter, too. Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Examples of Organic Chemistry in Everyday Life." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/organic-chemistry-in-everyday-life-608694. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, February 16). Examples of Organic Chemistry in Everyday Life. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/organic-chemistry-in-everyday-life-608694 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Examples of Organic Chemistry in Everyday Life." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/organic-chemistry-in-everyday-life-608694 (accessed June 23, 2021). copy citation Watch Now: What's the Difference Between Homogeneous and Heterogeneous?