jdruding

Dish detergent as nonionic surfactant?

jdruding
10 years ago

I'm putting down some sedgehammer this weekend and it says to add 2 tsp of nonionic surfactant. Will ordinary dish detergent due? My buddy who is a chemist tells me that dish detergent is anionic, but I'm not sure if it makes a difference.

Comments (12)

  • botanicalbill
    10 years ago

    I have used sedgehammer and dish soap, it works fine.

    Detergents and soaps are not the same thing, make sure its dish soap with out detergent. AJax with nothing added will work fine.

    Best Answer
  • sebastonz
    10 years ago

    According to the definition of nonionic and anionic, the two types of surfactant would attach to different ingredients in the sedgehammer.

    What does this mean? I take it to mean that nonionic surfactant is intended to bind with a specific chemical in the solution.. so substituting the dish soap as the surfactant, which is an anionic, it would bind with different ingredients than intended and in fact May render the solution inert, or useless since the wrong surfactant was used.

    Im no chemist but just by looking up the question "The difference between anionic and nonionic." Thats what i gather.

    It also says that the different surfactants attach to whatever their intended to and release a different chemical which seems to be the difference in the two. Which just amplifies above ;).

    Hope this helps ><.>

  • arprince
    10 years ago

    From their FAQ:
    For best results, add a surfactant that is specifically made for horticultural purposes and labeled for use with a herbicide. If a nonionic surfactant is not available certain dishwashing detergents that contain high amounts of a nonionic surfactant may be helpful. Check the label of a dish soap to see if it contains a nonionic (not anionic)
    surfactant. The soap may contain both or just the anionic surfactant. If the label says it contains a nonionic surfactant, that is preferred. Dish soaps that are concentrated and are effective in grease dispersion often contain nonionic surfactants. Add the detergent last and mix by gently swirling together. See the"How to Use" page for more information.

    Some commonly used nonionic surfactants are Hi-Yield®
    Spreader Sticker, No Foam A® , Latron B- 1956®, and
    X-77®.

  • formicburn
    10 years ago

    I have gallons of Triton x-100 if you want to buy some.

  • frank1965
    10 years ago

    Before I bought myself some Hi-Yield® Spreader Sticker I used Jet-Dry- I understand that it is nonionic. Makes sense-it doesn't suds up but "sheets" the water off dishes.

  • James Hinckley
    last month

    Most household products are quite vague in their labeling. My understanding is that anionic and cationic (charged) surfactants create more suds, while non-ionic create less. You don't want sudsing in your tank of herbicide. For this reason, laundry detergent is a better choice than dishwashing detergent because it's made to be low sudsing. Don't be worried about any surfactant making your herbicide inert. It won't, that's not what it's about. It's about the concept of "making water wetter". Instead of beading up and rolling off the surface of your weeds, with a surfactant added, the solution will sheet and fully cover the weed leaves, allowing more of the herbicide to be absorbed. If Dawn is all you have, a little of it is better than nothing at all, but if you have Dawn in the house, then you probably have Tide in the house too, and Tide would work better.

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
    last month

    ^--- Soap Maker. Non-ionic, cationic and anionic has very little to do with sudsing. Sudsing or not has to do with the chemistry used, or with anti-sudsing chemistry added.

    Castile soap (pure olive oil by the Spanish definition, the one I use, not the Dr. Bronner American definition, which is...well, kind of crap) is low-sudsing, but decidedly not non-ionic and extremely high-pH on top of it all.

    The reason non-ionic surfactants are recommended is that they're less likely to bond with the pesticide in the tank. When a pesticide calls for a non-ionic, it can be as unimportant as a slight but not really noticeable reduction in efficacy, or as critically important as a complete caking of the components into a solid precipitant at the bottom of the tank.

    Tide is...interesting...in that it contains a lot of added ingredients for your wash, including that blue stuff. Which is synthetic ultramarine added as a whitener. Not that I'm down on the stuff, I have tubes of it as ultramarine blue paint.

    I'd actually use detergent in last place due to the almost-endless list of crap they toss in there, including really heavy perfumes that can interact with your pesticides as easily as anything else.

    In order of preference, use spreader sticker, baby shampoo, or your own shampoo, liquid hand soap (non-anti-bacterial), liquid hand soap (anti-bacterial), then any liquid soap used on your dishes (which you eat off of, but require a rinse), then clothes.

  • James Hinckley
    last month

    Actually I didn't notice someone else's suggestion which seems like a good one. Jet Dry dishwasher rinse aid. It's a sheeting agent. It contains non-ionic surfactants as well as ingredients that bind to salts in hard water. I know hard water reduces the efficacy of glyphosate and they recommend adding nitrogen fertilizer to address that. Maybe Jet Dry kills two birds with one stone. Anyway, it's a pretty economical way to buy non-ionic surfactant rather than guessing about products that don't say what they contain (from what I've observed, most don't).

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
    last month

    I'd be fine with that! You'll be adding salt (potassium chloride or sodium chloride) which can cause an interaction so again...nothing beats non-ionic surfactant and spreader sticker...but it's a good substitute.

  • port2015
    last month

    Could you please provide an example of how much baby shampoo would you add to a mixture of 1 oz of Ortho Weed B Gon for lawn weeds to 1 gallon of water?

    Thank You

  • danielj_2009
    last month

    Ortho says that surfactants are already included and you don't need more. I called them one time. My experience is that you DO need to add surfactant. It works much better. The quantity of surfactant is not critical. I'd use about a teaspoon, maybe two. If you start spraying and it beads up then add some more.

  • James Hinckley
    last month

    Regular shampoo contains nearly all anionic surfactants, which are not good. Baby shampoo and other "Low Poo" shampoos contain primarily amphoteric surfactants, and it's unclear whether they're any better. Using a product specifically formulated for herbicides is obviously best, but they can be fairly expensive. The best low cost solution to me seems to be Jet Dry. It's nearly all nonionic and is made specifically for just the purpose you need for spraying herbicide, to make water sheet. I would still say that a "Free and Clear" laundry detergent would be the second best choice. It generally contains a higher percentage of nonionic surfactants (according to Wikipedia, though the individual ingredients are seldom listed on the bottle), and it's low sudsing. Dish detergent or shampoo, if you add more than a very small amount, will cause problematic sudsing in your spray tank. I haven't actually used Jet Dry yet but it seems like a better option than what I've been using so I'm going to pick some up for $4 a bottle.

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