Are all Solvents Alike? (Page 24-25) The chemistry of water makes it particularly good at dissolving a variety of materials. For this reason, water is often called the “universal solvent”. However, water’s excellent dissolving abilities also means that many pollutants can be easily carried in the water supply. Solute and solvent particles with similar properties such as salt and water will result in dissolving, while particles with different properties such as oil and water will not. Questions: 1. What is known as the universal solvent? 2. Why do solute and solvent particles dissolve? Answers: 1. Water is known as the universal solvent. 2. Solute and solvent will dissolve because the particles have similar properties.