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Effects of laundry soap with and without phosphates

by Bridget
(Fort Wayne, IN USA)

The leader of the pack?

The leader of the pack?

My science project was seeing the effects of phosphates in laundry soaps. I used standard laundry equipment Speed Queen and the boxes of soap purchased in a laundry for individual washes.

I used one box per load with only cloth in each run of the washer. I dried as normal. I tested various laundry soaps on various cotton wash cloths. I used all the same brand of white cotton cloths and the same stain of grape juice (2 tablespoons) poured on each cloth and let set over night.

I tested the results of a washing with the soap comparing which did a better job of removing the stain.

I did these 30 years ago during the last "green" revolution and it is now appearing again as a news maker. Phosphate has been shown not great for the lakes but it also is wonderful for removing stains. The best laundry soaps out there do contain any form of phosphates.

My results showed TIDE was the worst performance WITHOUT phosphates. The best performer was WISK with phosphates. I did this with 5 different soaps at the time using 5 with and 5 without phosphates. I presumed back then that a company would arrive at a solution to the stains. There are very few current substitutions to phosphates that do not endanger lakes streams and fish.

Barry's Response - It's strange that there has been so little effective, official research into this area. Thanks for you input, Bridet.

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Comments for Effects of laundry soap with and without phosphates

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ill effects of detergent
by: Anonymous

It was a very interesting and impressive article. I liked it very much. I would like to thank you for providing such nice information. I would like to read and know about more articles in related articles if available.

by: Anonymous

And to think Tide is the biggest seller with the most products out there. Thanks for the information.

by: Anonymous

Soch a interesting article. I like it very much. it is very impressive. Thanks for giving such a nice article.

laundry soap
by: Anonymous

Laundry detergent typically consists of ionic and anionic surfactants which act as the detergent to remove the dirt from the clothes, perfume, phosphors which make clothes appear whiter (it is these that show up under ultraviolet light), and for powders anticaking agents to prevent the powder becoming one large lump in the presence of moisture. For liquid detergents, the bulk of the product is water; for concentrated liquids, somewhat less water, but still the product is mostly water. Biological laundry detergents contain enzymes which act as catalysts to "eat" the dirt off of the laundry; these function best at the kinds of body temperatures found in warm-blooded creatures (30 °C (86 °F) to 50 °C (122 °F)) and will perform no better, and sometimes worse, at higher temperatures. Detergents may have other additives such as bleaches and fabric softeners and these are usually advertised clearly on the packets as selling points.

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