Physical and chemical properties of selected laundry detergents

hardwarehackJanuary 1, 2013

[Information first posted in the Appliances Forum by Alice (Alice_61) on 23 July 2002 in the "Technical Suds" thread - thanks, Alice!]:

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Here is an update of the list of detergents and their properties that I have measured. All the detergents are either HE, unscented, or European (where front loaders are the norm). Listed are several parameters for a solution of 1/4 teaspoon of detergent in 16 oz of tap water. This concentration is approximately that used in a front loader. For the powdered detergents, this volume is adjusted for density, to give a weight equal to 1/4 teaspoon of Ultra Plus Free powder.

Parameters

(1) Suds height in inches. I added detergent to a quart yogurt container containing 16 oz of cold (~70F) tap water and stirred slowly until dissolved. Then I covered the container and shook vigorously for 10 seconds. Next, I let it stand for 15 seconds. Then I measured the height of the suds with a ruler.

(2) pH (This is off because our tap water has a pH=8.0-8.3, but a lot of U.S. water is alkaline, so this may be fairly typical.)

(3) TDS (total dissolved solids) less the TDS our tap water (~113 ppm). The scale is off, giving measurements that are about 50% too low, but it is useful for comparing relative TDS values.

(4) Weight/60 ml (1/4 cup) for powdered detergents only.

...............................suds..........pH.......TDS.......weight/60 ml
...............................height(1).....(2)......(3).......(4)

Liquid detergents

Tide HE (l)........................0".........7.7.....64ppm
Wisk HE (l)......................3/4".........9.4.....83ppm
Ecos (l).......................1 1/4".........8.2.....33ppm
Tide Free (l)..................1 1/4".........8.2.....77ppm
Cheer Free (l).................1 1/2".........8.1.....58ppm
Arm & Hammer Free (l)..........1 3/4".........9.1.....34ppm
Ultra Plus Free (l)............1 3/4".........8.9.....57ppm
Wisk Free (l)..................2".............8.4.....63ppm
All Free and Clear (l).........2 1/2".........9.7.....79ppm
Purex Free Clear Classic (l)...2 1/2".........9.8....129ppm

Powdered detergents

Tide HE (p)......................1/4"........10.9....900ppm...1 1/4 oz
Dalli (p)......................1"............10.8...1372ppm...1 3/8 oz
Ultra Plus Free (p)............1"............10.6...1347ppm...1 7/8 oz
Persil (p).....................1 1/4"........10.4....622ppm...1 oz
Megaperls (p)..................1 1/2".........8.9....200ppm...1 5/8 oz
Sensitiv (p)...................1 1/2"........10.3....497ppm...1 5/8 oz
Perwoll (p)....................1 1/2".........8.3....958ppm.....3/4 oz
A & H FabriCare Free (p).......1 1/2"........10.7...1467ppm...1 3/8 oz
Tide Free (p)..................2 1/4"........10.6....723ppm...1 1/4 oz

for comparison

A & H Washing Soda (p)............ 0"........10.8...1829ppm...2 1/8 oz
Electrosol Dual Action DW det(p)...0"........10.6...1306ppm...1 3/4 oz

With our hard water, 85F water temperature, 10 pound wash...

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