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  #1  
Old 12-21-2003, 08:44 AM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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What is dish detergent made of

I am guessing its just soap, all it does is make the particles on dishes easier to rub off.

I considered that maybe there is a chemical in it that helps break down the material on dishes but if there was then it would most likely be toxic to human skin as residue on dishes is mostly organic so anything that breaks down organic material would harm the dishwasher.
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  #2  
Old 12-21-2003, 08:45 AM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Re: What is dish detergent made of

Quote:
Originally posted by Wesley Clark
anything that breaks down organic material would harm the dishwasher.
dishwasher = individual who is washing the dishes with his hands, not a dishwashing machine.
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  #3  
Old 12-21-2003, 09:04 AM
gluteus maximus gluteus maximus is offline
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We're talking to ourselves... again!

Hey!

Guess what?

Did you know that dish detergent has nasty nasty stuff in it?

Well, it does!
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  #4  
Old 12-21-2003, 09:07 AM
gluteus maximus gluteus maximus is offline
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You talkin' to me?

Huh?

I dunno, what?

No, I never did hear that before...

Oh, my! Well, at least I have a good reason for not doing the dishes now!


Sorta lends a whole new meaning to "Calgonite, take me away!", doesn't it?
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  #5  
Old 12-21-2003, 02:36 PM
YTMezoan YTMezoan is offline
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Back to the OP's question...

Don't know offhand. Why don't you copy down the ingredients of a bottle of detergent, and we'll try to see what each of these chemicals can do.
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  #6  
Old 12-21-2003, 02:39 PM
Eleusis Eleusis is offline
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I believe that the liquid dish soap that we use has chlorine bleach in it as evidenced by a ruined pair of brand new jeans.
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  #7  
Old 12-21-2003, 02:41 PM
Eleusis Eleusis is offline
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More specifically, Cascade Clear Rinse liquid definitely contains chlorine bleach as per the warning label.
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  #8  
Old 12-21-2003, 02:43 PM
bump bump is offline
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Where do you get that information from? Luddites-R-Us? That's the most ridiculous article I've seen. Plenty of dumb-ass scare tactics and Chicken Little BS.

Dawn brand dishwashing liquid have the ingredients on them.

NO formaldehyde, and no naptha. The last one is particularly retarded- you'd be able to smell a light petroleum distillate(would smell suspiciously like lighter fluid), and it might melt a lot of plastic goods.

Plus, either of the above mentioned ingredients would be on the MSDS for the liquid, which they aren't.

MSDS for Dawn


Tree-hugging hippie crap aside, dishwashing detergent contains things like:

Active Ingredients: Triclosan

Inactive Ingredients: Water, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Pareth-23 Sulfate, C12-14-16 Dimethyl Amine Oxide, SD Alcohol 40-B, Undeceth-9, Sodium Cumenesulfonate, PPG26, Sodium Chloride, Cyclohexanediamine, Polyacetate, Fragrance, FD&C Yellow #5, D&C Red #33

Everything up until SD Alcohol 40-B is one type or another of detergent, and the remaining stuff is more than likely rinse agents or dispersion agents.

From here
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  #9  
Old 12-21-2003, 06:42 PM
KP KP is offline
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Yeah, I wouldn't trust any site that warns "Chlorine is a poison present in nearly all dishwashing detergents. "

Wake up, Luddy! Chlorine is present in nearly all tap water!

The site is full of stuff like that. It seems geared to a carefully calibrated level of anxiety. It mixes all sort of irrelevant facts and near-facts, while ignoring any that might make you too likely to dismiss its pseudo science. Regardless of the health risks, dishwashing detergent is very far from being the primary source of household exposure for most of the "poisons" listed.

"Naphtha" is a fairly generic descriptor for a faction of petroleum distillates. Naphtha components outgas in trace amounts from many household products, from carpets, to solvents, to adhesives, to some plastics as they break down, to cooking byproducts to well, potentially many things made from petroleum or coal or anything made of natural wood, fiber,or meat that is exposed to high heat.

Household shlorophenylphenol predominantly comes from cleansers and antiseptics like bathroom cleaners. There are some truly nasty things in many spray cleaners - and if you look, you'll see that it is i violation of federal law to use them on food preparation surfaces.

Alas, most of these ' public awareness websites don't bother telling you about the truly risky sources and misuses. It doesn't suit their agenda to help you avoid 99% of common household exposures. They want to isolate and target a credulous subpopulation.

That's not to say there aren't lots of things you should look out for. It's just that you have to double-check anything such sites say to find the kernel of truth (if any) in their messages, and even then, their advice is often useless, and may expose you to greater risks.
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  #10  
Old 12-21-2003, 08:40 PM
spingears spingears is offline
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Re: What is dish detergent made of

Quote:
Originally posted by Wesley Clark
I am guessing its just soap, all it does is make the particles on dishes easier to rub off.

I considered that maybe there is a chemical in it that helps break down the material on dishes but if there was then it would most likely be toxic to human skin as residue on dishes is mostly organic so anything that breaks down organic material would harm the dishwasher.
Dishwashing liquid is a petroleum product.
Virtually all is made in Mexico and trucked into the US where is is colored, scented, and bottled under a myriad of brand names.

Soap is made by saponification of fat, animal, plant, or natural, using a caustic such as calcium hydroxide aka lye.

All substances cause cancer, right? Wrong unless taken or applied in excessively large quantities.

Everything contains 'dangerous' itty bits of all kinds of harmful chemicals but in such small amounts as to be negligible.

Aint it nice to have "Luddites-R-Us" and the "Chicken Littles" to protect us from the unimmagable horror that await our contact with everyday products?

________________
"Beware of the Cog"
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  #11  
Old 12-22-2003, 01:53 PM
bughunter bughunter is offline
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Detergents for dishes and laundry have two main ingredients.

One is a surfactant - its purpose is to reduce the surface tension of water so that it makes the water, well, "wetter." It allows the water to penetrate the smallest crevices so that more efficient emulsification can occur.

The real working part is the emulsifier - this is a polar molecule... no, not like a polar bear, but one that has a distinct separation of its positive and negative charges, so that it acts kind of like a magnet. One end is hydrophobic, or water-hating. This means it is also attracted to fats and greases and oils. The other end is hydrophilic or water-loving, and it attaches itself to water molecules in preference to other things.

So, see how this works? The surfactant lets the emulsifier-water solution into the tiny crevices of clothes and dishes. The emulsifier hydrophobic side attaches to the oils and greases, and the hydrophilic side attaches to the water. If all goes well, the greases release themselves from your clothes and dishes, and go into solution with the emulsifier and water. Then you rinse... and the mess is all carried away.

The rest of the stuff in detergent is there to make it more suitable for its application. Dish liquid like Dawn has sudsing agents added, because consumers expect a sink full of suds when they wash dishes. Automatic dishwasher detergent has low-sudsing agents added because if you've ever put regular dish soap in a dishwasher, you know why. (You'll have a kitchen full of suds.) Laundry detergent has conditioners and softeners and color fixatives and other fabric-specialized stuff added, which is usually heavily touted in its advertisements. And almost all of it has colors and fragrances added to make it distinctive and appealing.

Cite from About.com
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  #12  
Old 12-23-2003, 12:13 AM
bump bump is offline
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Re: Re: What is dish detergent made of

Quote:
Originally posted by spingears
Dishwashing liquid is a petroleum product.
Virtually all is made in Mexico and trucked into the US where is is colored, scented, and bottled under a myriad of brand names.

Soap is made by saponification of fat, animal, plant, or natural, using a caustic such as calcium hydroxide aka lye.
No, dishwashing liquid is not a petroleum product. Yes, the detergents inside are not "soap", but neither are they necessarily made from petroleum, plutonium or PCBs. Sodium lauryl sulfate, for example is made primarily using coconut oil as the main ingredient.

From the Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds info sheet:

Quote:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): This surfactant cuts grease and dirt, generates copious suds, and biodegrades quickly and completely. SLS is made by combining a sulfate group with lauryl alcohol from coconut oil, then attaching sodium.
Hardly looks like a petroleum product to me.

Synthetic detergents aren't necessarily bad- they still work in hard water, which is something soaps typically have a very hard time doing. They also tend to be much more effective than soap for many tasks, due to the addition of builders and the like.
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  #13  
Old 12-23-2003, 07:19 AM
BMalion BMalion is offline
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This is fascinating!

So is any product available that comes close to a "universal soap" ? Something I can use on dishes, clothes, my body?




I'm reminding myself of the old SNL skit:

"It's a floor wax! It's a desert topping!"
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  #14  
Old 12-23-2003, 09:02 AM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Re: Re: What is dish detergent made of

Quote:
Originally posted by spingears
Dishwashing liquid is a petroleum product.
Virtually all is made in Mexico and trucked into the US where is is colored, scented, and bottled under a myriad of brand names.
Unless this has changed recently this is patently untrue. Many of the ingredients do come from overseas, for example the coconut oils might come from Philippines, but the creation of what would be the base ingredients are made in the USA (although NAFTA has made it moot where in North America they come from). The blending of the bases happens in the USA, and Dawn, for example, is still primarily made in Kansas City. I know that the base for some shampoos used to come from the same stock as the Dish Washing Liquids (but not the same as the automatic dish washing liquids which is a different, more caustic, stuff). Don't think that they were ever the same as what is used on clothes. It's probably not far from what's used for liquid clothes detergents but the process for making synthetic granules is very different.

As for the "universal soap" question, you could find a mild soap and use it on your hair, clothes and dishes, but it wouldn't be as efficient as what the soap manufacturers have come up with to differentiate their products. For example, it wouldn't have the grease cutting ability of dawn, it would probably cake a bit in the washing machine and it might not leave your hair feeling the way you'd want.
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  #15  
Old 12-23-2003, 09:34 AM
The Long Road The Long Road is offline
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Did anyone going to that link have to get beyond "The Center of Science in Public Interest " in the first sentence before realizing it was complete bullshit?
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  #16  
Old 12-24-2003, 01:54 PM
bump bump is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by BMalion
This is fascinating!

So is any product available that comes close to a "universal soap" ? Something I can use on dishes, clothes, my body?
[/i]
There's something called "Camp Suds" that we used to have when I was in Boy Scouts that was marketed for that very reason- I don't know exactly what was in it though.

I agree with ShibbOleth that you could probably use a fairly mild soap- I think that if you read past the weird religious stuff on the Dr. Bronner's bottles, they advocate using their soap for everything(including toothbrushing?!).

You could probably use shampoo or bodywash for all of the above too- it would just take more effort to clean dishes than it would with dishwashing liquid. Or dishwashing liquid might work if you have fairly tough hide, or it's something mild like Palmolive.
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