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 Post subject: Soap Recipe?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 12:12 pm 
Does anyone out there have a good soap recipe that I can use as the surfactant in a lot of these other recipes. If the ingredients are easy enough to find, I would just as soon make the soap myself as opposed to giving Dr. Bronner the money!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2003 5:10 pm 
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You might be better off looking up soap recipies on the Internet. The basic ones use lard and lye (sodium hydroxide) to make soap salt, the familiar cake you use in the shower. Virtually every bar of soap you can get started out life that way.

However, you want a liquid product. You will have to look a little harder to find recipes that start out life with lard and potassium hydroxide. It's been a long time but I think potassium hydroxide is the main ingredient in most home made liqud soaps.

If you go to chemistrystore.com you can find soap making ingredients already pulled together as a kit. Those are mostly to make shampoos etc., but they will work for you.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2003 9:41 pm 
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If you must use soap in your liquid mixes and if you don't have liquid soap immediately available, I'd try dissolving bar soap gratings into water and using that. You may not use enough liquid soap to justify making it from scratch. If you have trouble guessing how much grated solid product is equivalent to a given volume of liquid soap, you can melt some solid gratings or pieces in a microwave, over boiling water, in a plastic bag in boiling water, or in a low temp oven to achieve a volume roughly comparable to liquid (depending on how dilute the reference liquid soap is). Once the grated bar soap is totally dissolved in water, it should suffice for your application, but you would have to add enough of the dissolved solution to capture the amount of soap you want. That is, if you dissolve a tablespoon of solid soap into a cup of water, you'd have to add the entire cup of solution to the final mix in order to get the tablespoon of soap into the final product. Of course, you probably will prefer to use a true soap, rather than the detergent bars that make up most of the products on the shelves. You also would not want to use a product with a synthetic anti-bacterial in it.

If you want to try to make liquid soap, there are two liquid soap recipes from http://www.colebrothers.com/soap/liquid.html below. There are others on the Web if you want to search for them. If you're making the soap for uses other than hand/body wash or shampoo (e.g. for insecticidal sprays), the exotic oils probably are not necessary. I'd use an inexpensive veg oil like last pressing olive oil or canola. Khwoz probably has some comments on that. (In fact, I'd bet that Khwoz could be convinced to make/sell some soap if a person begged enough.) If you're using the soap for hand/body, the stoichiometry isn't so easy to pinpoint with the oz. weights they use below. I prefer grams myself. Excess KOH could cause some excitement for the unsuspecting user, but of course it wouldn't matter that much for garden. Both recipes below appear to me to be about 5% excess oil.
+++++++
"Making Liquid Hand Soap in a blender

Two Liquid Soap Recipes

Prepare the same way you would regular bar soap in a blender except use potassium hydroxide instead of sodium hydroxide and instead of pouring the solution into a mold you pour it into a plastic container to cure. (The solution will take a little longer than regular soap to trace since you are using potassium hydroxide versus sodium hydroxide.) Once in the container let the mixture cure for two weeks. After two weeks thin the mix with water until it is about the consistancy of hand soap. At this point you can add any essential oils or fragrances you desire. You can use a stick or regular blender for this step also. After it is mixed pour the soap into a pump jar type container and you are done.

#1
Ingredients:
12 oz Palm Oil
6 oz coconut oil
2 oz Evening primrose or grapeseed oil
4.1oz POTASSIUM hydroxide
8 ounces water

#2
Ingredients:
12 ounces Soybean oil
2 ounces Coconut Oil
2 ounces Palm Oil
2 ounces Avocado Oil
3.4 ounces POTASSIUM hydroxide
7.2 ounces water"

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2003 9:25 am 
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In some applications, it seems to me that one could use the wash water from things like the clothes washer, a mop bucket, or the sink, assuming that the soap/detergent used is as "clean" as the soap one otherwise would add as the surfactant. One might have to strain it to remove lint and debris before using it in a sprayer. If, for example, one was using only mere soapy water to treat a fire ant mound, I don't really see the point of using yet more soap to make the solution rather than using clotheswasher soapy water. If the clothes/grey water is too dilute, it still would seem to (usually) require less additional soap to bring it up to strength than a fresh solution would. Granted that, in some soil conditions, it might not be a good idea to irrigate with soapy greywater, but we use soap in the Natural Way only when necessary -- and that isn't very often or in high quantities.

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 Post subject: liquid soap
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2003 2:10 pm 
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Sorry about taking so long to reply to these posts. Somehow I missed them. When making soap, try to stay away from lard & other animal fats. They are too harsh and can get rancid. Oils to use can include olive, palm, coconut and luxury oils like sweet almond, cocoa butter, shea butter, hempseed oil, etc, etc. Soapers usually use a mixture of oils. We don't make liquid because it is too time consuming, more dangerous, very messy, tends to keep hardening and hard to compete price wise with commercial stuff. I wouldn't try it at home to save money; it will cost you more than buying ready made. If you want to make it as a project or hobby, go for it! The internet has plenty of info. Be very safety conscious!
On another note, using shavings should work. Using a grater and a blender with hot water should help. Keep in mind that most of the stuff in the stores is not soap. It is a chemical mix of detergants and stuff only a chemist can pronounce. When buying a "natural" soap, look for the ingredients. If they are not listed, you may want avoid the product since they may be using cheap oils and chemicals and obviously aren't very proud of their product.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2003 10:34 pm 
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One of the gentlest liquid soaps on the market today is Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo. You have to use it three times to get it to suds up.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2003 9:26 am 
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Dchall_San_Antonio wrote:
One of the gentlest liquid soaps on the market today is Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo. You have to use it three times to get it to suds up.


In case there is confusion on the point, there usually is little or no correlation between sudsing and detergent strength or harshness (except insofar as added sudsing agents themselves affect harshness). The popular belief that more suds = more strength is a misconception, which detergent makers have used for years to trick uninformed consumers. It really got silly in the consumer clothes and manual dishwashing detergent field when the makers began to add sudsing agents to make their products appear potent (and competitive). It surely didn't do any favors for waste treatment and surface water quality. The stories behind the manufacturing and marketing of detergent products to consumers adds a whole new meaning to the term "soap opera."

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2003 8:45 pm 
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Enzyme, please continue with your thoughts. I'll give you a direction and you can help us out. Sodium lauryl (or laureth) sulfate is the number one ingredient in most shampoos. It is also about the only ingredient in bubble bath. I'm going out on a limb here but I'm thinking that SLS is a foaming agent. Am I right?

J&J Baby shampoo does not have any of that in it. Could you please comment on the ability of the baby shampoo and conventional shampoo ingredients to strip oils and/or dirt out of hair, AND THEN (to bring this back to the topic) would you please comment on the use of baby shampoo versus bubble bath as a surfactant for gardening use. If you think I'm too far off topic, please email me.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2003 2:09 pm 
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Dchall_San_Antonio wrote:
Enzyme, please continue with your thoughts. I'll give you a direction and you can help us out. Sodium lauryl (or laureth) sulfate is the number one ingredient in most shampoos. It is also about the only ingredient in bubble bath. I'm going out on a limb here but I'm thinking that SLS is a foaming agent. Am I right?

J&J Baby shampoo does not have any of that in it. Could you please comment on the ability of the baby shampoo and conventional shampoo ingredients to strip oils and/or dirt out of hair, AND THEN (to bring this back to the topic) would you please comment on the use of baby shampoo versus bubble bath as a surfactant for gardening use. If you think I'm too far off topic, please email me.


Sodium lauryl sulfate has some sudsing activity along with detergent activity (some compounds clean, some suds, some do both, some repress suds). For those that don't know, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are not the same compound, although both are sodium salts. I also would not bank that an ingredient list tells all of what is in a product. We've become so accustomed (brainwashed?) to thinking that it isn't working if it isn't sudsing that it's easy to waste/overuse non-sudsing products. As to whether sudsing and non-sudsing products clean comparably, they probably do under average conditions. I think it's safe to say that there are two types of non-suds/low suds compounds. One class doesn't generate much sudsing, and the other generates suds but uses bubble repressers to break up the suds.

As for the baby shampoos, I haven't tried them to see how far they will go to strip serious oil and dirt. I seriously doubt that baby hair presents the type of cleaning challenge that a construction worker might present. My guess is that baby shampoo "conditions" more than it cleans. Being that hair primarily is a cosmetic issue for most people, most probably judge "clean" by feel, appearance, and aroma, all of which can be manipulated. I don't know how many different baby shampoos J&J makes, but the No More Tears product pretty much is water, detergent, polyethylene glycol compounds (PEG-80, which acts as a surfactant, and PEG-150 compounds), a quaternary ammonium compound (recall the discussion about wood preservatives), conditioner, fragrance, preservative, and synthetic dyes. About the only time I would use it is if I were bathing an animal and I had to clean near its eyes. I would prefer not to use it on a child, and I surely wouldn't buy it to use in the garden; I want to know if I'm getting something like that in my eyes, so I don't have much use for a tearless shampoo.

As for using a non-sudsing detergent vs a sudsing detergent/soap in a horticulture setting, I suppost it would depend a little on what the situation is. If the need is purely for a surfactant, then suds tend toward the wrong direction. If one is using it as an insecticide, then the suds probably help via suffocation. If one needs a marker to gauge where/how heavy the coverage is, the suds could help there. Solution pH, water hardness, and maybe even equipment maintenance could enter into the product selection process, and the makeup of the solution (if it is more than mere soapy water) could affect the choice. At the application level and with the concentration that a gardener is likely to use, it might be hard to tell the difference. In terms of the product's life cycle and what it takes to produce it, I think there's quite a bit of difference. If I can't get by with grey washwater (i.e., an additional use rather than a waste) in the garden applications, I prefer KHWOZ's domain of soaps, never mind the suds. I wouldn't say that my life is free of SLS or SLES, but after seeing how they and their stronger cousin SDS interact with skin tissue in the lab, I'd rather do without them. One commercial line I like is the Aubrey product line. There is quite a bit to the surfactant/detergent field, and there's a lot on the Web about. If I haven't answered your question or if the answer put you to sleep, ask again.

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 Post subject: soap stuff
PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2003 5:50 pm 
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This post is more related to soaps & bath products than gardening. It may help?? In natural (no chemicals) vegetable based soaps, castor oil in the mix will promote sudsing. Most people think that bath products need suds to work. We do not use sudsing agents in our soaps. We do have two products that have a sudsing agent in them because people demand it! In our Bath Salts & Fizzies, we use cosmetic grade sodium laurylsulfoacetate which is a milder form of laural or laureth sulfate. Keep in mind that colors & fragrances added to products are for consumer perceptions only; they do not benefit your health, etc. Might make you smell of feel better ?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2003 1:06 am 
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This really great on a personal level. Thanks for lending your expertise. Here is the ingredients for NO MORE TEARS® formula with natural lavender from the JNJ website.

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, PEG-150 Distearate, Fragrance, Polyquaternium-10, Tetrasodium EDTA, Quaternium-15, Citric Acid, Ext. Violet 2.

I'll cut to the chase for a second and then get back to the theme. My adopted 5-year-old daughter has very curly hair, nobody else in the family does; therefore we're learning from scratch how to deal with her hair. Some of the folks at naturallycurly.com recommend using cocamidopropyl products rather than the sodium laurel/th sulfates to cleanse curly hair. The theory is that the hair will retain much of the oils needed to retain gloss and body with the cocamidopropyl and that it can take up to 2 weeks of intense effort to restore oils stripped out with detergents. It turns out that the only other sources of cocamidopropyl shampoos are very expensive (and hard to find) herbal products. My observation is that with a regimen of JNJ Baby Shampoo and a leave-in conditioner with plenty of water in the morning, her hair is 200% better looking and easier to manage than previously with the conventional, straight-hair tactics of normal (SLES) shampoo, rinsed out conditioner, and a blow drier. We just returned from the coast tonight. It rained for three days and her hair looked great the whole time - curly with no frizz at all. So if there's a question in here somewhere, I guess it would be what do you know about cleansing hair without stripping oils with respect to the ingredients listed above? And are there problems with the other ingredients?

Okay, back to surfactants...what's good to use as a spreader/sticker on the garden? Dishwashing liquid? Shampoo? Shaved Dial bar? Liquid laundry soap? Something else? I like molasses as a spreader/sticker, but what about soaps/detergents? Individual soap ingredients can be had at chemistrystore.com.

I don't recall an discussion about wood preservatives.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2003 6:49 am 
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I would say that your regimen does a lot less cleaning and a lot more "conditioning." I doubt that the average urban child's hair needs much cleaning power, and I doubt that the concentration of surfactants in that shampoo provides a great deal--nor probably should it. As for the cocamidopropyl betaine, I would imagine that any of the amphoteric surfactants would have a similar effect. CB is a quaternary ammonium compound, as probably are the other cosmetic amphoterics. The sodium trideceth sulfate is in the class of Alkyl Ether Sulfates that includes SLS. The polyquaternium-10 serves as is a conditioner/thickener. Quaternium-15 acts as a preservative, Tetrasodium EDTA acts as a "water softener," and citric acid acts as a pH adjuster. I believe the PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate acts as a surfactant, and the PEG-150 Distearate acts as a viscosity agent. Frankly, that is more junk than I would want in my shampoo. As an aside, I wouldn't be surprised if many of those ingredients, as with many cosmetic ingredients these days, come from our economic mothership, i.e., China.

As for surfactants for use in the garden, I wouldn't use any product that contains a quaternary ammonium because they tend to have an antibiotic function to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the compound. As I said earlier, I also wouldn't use any deodorant soap (e.g., Dial) for the same reason (we want to encourage microbes, not kill them). My first choice would be the sugars. As I wrote before, my first candidate for detergents probably would be gray clotheswashing water (at least with the detergents I use), depending on the detergent type. Better to reuse than to consume more, all things being equal. My next choice would be a pure soap, probably a dissolved vegetable oil hard soap or possibly a pure liquid soap. Again as I wrote before, it depends some on why the soap/surfactant is being used. Mainly, I don't have much need for soap in the garden. The silanes used in industrial/agricultural applications represent a different question.

As for the quaternary ammonium wood preservative comments, try the search function; I don't remember where I mentioned it.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2003 12:55 am 
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Thanks again for all the personal info. I feel better educated. I'm not going to make my own, but at least I know more about what I read on the labels.

There are folks using spreader/stickers on farms. The spreader/stickers they get from the feed store list "surfactants" as the main ingredient and cost a bundle compared to liquid dish soaps. These folks are not going to shave soap and melt it down. Is there an easy product on the market that will work for them? Would a pure SLS product from a chemical house work for them? or would you suggest something else?

And even if they were to shave down hard soap, commercial soaps are generally "sodium tallowate" indicating they are made from sodium hydroxide and animal fat (tallow). Is that a problem for efficient production use on a farm?

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