Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

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Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by JWBrahman » Wed May 06, 2015 4:03 am

No. Cheap liquid detergent works just as well.

This experiment has been repeated every year at LSU for decades. We did it in Charlie Johnson's plant propagation class when I was an undergrad. http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/communica ... hnson1.htm

Detergent, not to be confused with soap, is a surfactant. It works by making water"wetter", allowing it to interact with oil and grease. It breaks down the surface tension, hence the name surfactant. Soap is made from plant and animal fats. Detergents/Surfactants are a petrochemical product.

Surfactant is added to water and herbicide to break down the surface tension of the mixture. There is no difference in doing it with brand name surfactant or dollar store surfactant, the surface tension is still broken.



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Re: Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by inyati13 » Wed May 06, 2015 6:05 am

yep yep. A drop of rain beads on a freshly waxed car. Touch it with a molecule of detergent and it goes as flat as a balloon hit with a pin.
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Re: Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by Caustic Burno » Wed May 06, 2015 6:14 am

"So Why Not Just Use Common Kitchen Soaps and Detergents?

There are very few adjuvant “soaps” on the market today. Most soaps are in bars and are used for bathing. Also, soaps react with cations in soil and fertilizer and can leave a precipitate residue on foliage. Most greenhouse workers remember gray precipitate on foliage resulting from soap residue.

Today, dishwashing liquids contain both anionic and nonionic surfactants. In most circumstances, their combined effects are synergistic and very potent. None are labeled for use on plants.

Natural Surfactants

Natural surfactants are biodegradable, wetting agents and oils that are processed differently from “crop oils” and alkylated sugars. Materials such as coconut oils, palm oils, castor oils, lanolins, wheat amino acids, and many others have been used in the past, but there is little research to verify these products are effective when used in combination with pesticides or in a greenhouses environment. Furthermore, there is evidence that these products may serve as food sources for bacteria and fungi. Until research gives us confidence in these products, exercise caution when using them.

Bottom Line?

Certain pesticides are recommended to be applied with oils, others with only non-ionic surfactants. The pesticide label specifies whether an adjuvant is needed and which class of adjuvants to use. These recommendations are strict for a reason. Experimenting with surfactants is a risky business. If, after reading the label, you are still unclear about which adjuvant to use, ask the company that produces the pesticide. They will tell you if a surfactant is present in the pesticide or which surfactant products can safely be used with the pesticide. There has been much research conducted with adjuvants and adjuvant / pesticide interaction. Most pesticides have specific requirements. So after you spend a few hundred dollars for a pint of pesticide, ask yourself, “Do I want this product to work?” Add the recommended adjuvant!

Additional References

Baird, J.V., and J.P. Zublena. 1993. Soil Facts: Using wetting Agents (Nonionic Surfactants) on Soil. North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Publication. AG-439-25."
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Re: Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by Caustic Burno » Wed May 06, 2015 6:39 am

This is not just soap but chemistry it gets down to ionization and miscibility.
Immiscible is the property where two substances are not capable of combining to form a homogeneous mixture.
You are not just putting soap in water you are combining a herbicide or pesticide and there lies the importance
of the "right soap". Not to mention the 18 tons of regs for using the wrong soaps that all go back to
the clean water act.
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Re: Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by JWBrahman » Wed May 06, 2015 6:41 am

If I spend several hundred dollars on a pint of herbicide there are many other questions I will ask myself that are not surfactant related.

Sorry Caustic, we did it in test plots at LSU. Yes, we used the cheap green stuff. Yes, I am licensed by the state to dispense horticultural advice. Yes, my stepfather taught chemistry at SELU for 40 years and he will back me up on this.

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Re: Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by Caustic Burno » Wed May 06, 2015 6:47 am

JWBrahman wrote:If I spend several hundred dollars on a pint of herbicide there are many other questions I will ask myself that are not surfactant related.

Sorry Caustic, we did it in yes plots at LSU. Yes, we used the cheap green stuff. Yes, I am licensed by the state to dispense horticultural advice. Yes, my stepfather taught chemistry at SELU for 40 years and he will back me up on this.


They are not all the same and I am licensed as well
Secondly my field is organic chemistry for forty years as of yesterday matter of fact.
I also taught it.
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Re: Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by JWBrahman » Wed May 06, 2015 6:52 am

CB, grab your surfactant. Take it to dollar general. Compare ingredients. If u r still unconvinced call my mother, she is the director of safety and hazardous waste management at SELU.

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Re: Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by Caustic Burno » Wed May 06, 2015 7:15 am

JWBrahman wrote:CB, grab your surfactant. Take it to dollar general. Compare ingredients. If u r still unconvinced call my mother, she is the director of safety and hazardous waste management at SELU.



I don't need to call your mom or dad to glean knowledge
on the subject as they are way more universities they say different.
Number one violating the label is violating the law that can leave a mark.
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Re: Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by Bigfoot » Wed May 06, 2015 8:17 am

I've got a PHD (poor hungry and desperate). Will a bottle of imitation palmolive do what a surfactant will?
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Re: Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by TexasBred » Wed May 06, 2015 9:11 am

Bigfoot wrote:I've got a PHD (poor hungry and desperate). Will a bottle of imitation palmolive do what a surfactant will?

:lol2: :lol2: :nod: :nod: I use Joy
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Re: Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by skyhightree1 » Wed May 06, 2015 9:14 am

crops I use true surfactant .. Pastures I use cases of dish soap.
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Re: Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by highgrit » Wed May 06, 2015 9:29 am

What's the name brand of the detergents you have used? I'm all for trying something different and cheaper. But the issue of suds has me wondering if a detergent is feasible. I've been using a product called Traction for a surfactant, and it seems to be pretty good.
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Re: Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by skyhightree1 » Wed May 06, 2015 9:34 am

highgrit wrote:What's the name brand of the detergents you have used? I'm all for trying something different and cheaper. But the issue of suds has me wondering if a detergent is feasible. I've been using a product called Traction for a surfactant, and it seems to be pretty good.


I use joy Palmolive and dawn mostly
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Re: Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by highgrit » Wed May 06, 2015 9:40 am

And I assume you're happy with the results? And how much would you use for 50 gallons.
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Re: Should you buy the name brand surfactant?

Post by Kell-inKY » Wed May 06, 2015 9:41 am

How much as a ratio to 2,4-d? I was never able to find out and just added a "good amount"

my PHD is a "post hole digger"

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