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Cleaning Agents – Soaps and Synthetics Detergents

How do I know the function of the soaps and synthetics detergents? Here are some tips on how you can make the difference of them and their function. And how do I know whether one product is a mild or heavy-duty detergent? In this article you will also find some brands which are categorized in mild and heavy duty detergents.

SOAPS are made from fat and lye. When they are dissolved in water the solution produced is alkaline, ranging from weak to strong. Any acid present in the material washed reacts with the alkali in the soap to make the soap less effective. To counteract the effect of the acids and minerals found in hard water, alkaline products are often added to soap, which is then referred to as built or heavy duty soap. Soap products without these added materials are mild and are intended for laundering fine fabrics and lightly soiled garments (lingerie, blouses, and stockings). They are recommended for delicate cottons, linens and synthetics. White soap flakes are almost pure soap. The heavy duty or “built soaps” on the retail shelves contain alkaline softeners that increase their sudsing ability. These are for the family wash and for laundering heavily soiled clothing. They are not good for washing wool and silk.

SOME MILD AND HEAVY DUTY SOAPS, compiled by government textile experts are listed below. Since new trade names appear constantly, the list is not complete.
Mild Heavy Duty
Chiffon Flakes Duz
Ivory Flakes Fels Naptha
Ivory Snow Rinso (soap)
Kirkman Flakes Super Suds (soap)
Lux Flakes
Soaps, Detergents/Absorbents

SYNTHETIC DETERGENTS are made by complex chemical processes from materials such as petroleum, and animal and vegetable fats and oils. They do not depend for their cleaning ability upon alkaline softeners. Synthetic detergents dissolve easily in either hot or cold water, regardless of its hardness or softness, and they do not form scum. They are especially effective in removing oil and grease stains from washable materials. Some synthetic detergents form suds and others accomplish their cleaning with little or no suds. Some are powders, others liquids. Like the soaps, synthetic detergents are of two main types, inbuilt (mild) and built (heavy duty). Mild detergents are intended for washing fine and lightly soiled fabrics. They are better for wool and silk than the mildest of soaps. Heavy-duty detergents contain alkaline softeners that increase their cleaning ability, but disqualify them for silk and wool. They are general purpose detergents for washing heavily-soiled clothes and surfaces.

SOME MILD AND HEAVY DUTY DETERGENTS appear in the following government-compiled list. Since new brands are constantly appearing, the list cannot be considered complete.

To this list we might add some of the detergents made especially for fine woolens, such as Wool foam and Tern. There are also detergents made especially for heavy cleaning jobs. Less synthetic detergent is required in hot water than in cold. Read the directions on the brand you select for the proper amount to use since you cannot always tell by the amount of suds.

Use the soap for delicate fabrics such as cotton, linen and synthetics but avoid using them for wool and silk. Use the synthetic detergents to remove oil and grease stains from washable materials.

Use Mild and Heavy-Duty detergents as per their function. Not all the fabrics can be washed using these detergents. Check for the direction for the correct use of these detergents.

Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for , ,