Does anyone make their own surfactant?

I would like to make our own surfactant/soap does anyone have a recipe they are willing to share?

I think this would be a fun project! If you have any input please comment!

If it doesn’t include goat urine it’s fake.


If you’re doing it solely as a project, then I think it’d be fun.

But if you’re doing it to try to get the perfect surfactant for house washing, I would say you’re probably wasting your time.

Either way should be interesting.

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Theres really not much to making a surfactant. Unless your adding scent or a soap. I was looking at using my own as the company I buy SH from also sells bulk SLS and a few others. Doing research on it now, but it would be way cheaper than current ones off the market i would assume.

It has to be asked, what are you trying to achieve other than make soap to say you’ve made soap.

I don’t see anyone here making their own surfactant. The guys that are extremely into their lawns make their own to spray. It helps loosen the soil if it’s compacted. Sodium Laurel Sulfate can be ordered pretty cheap. I’ve sprayed my own yard a few times with it. Mix SLS with water and you have suds and a liquid surfactant. I’m sure there are other ingredients in Elemonator, Slo Mo, etc. As little as it costs for Elemonator per house I just don’t see it being worth it. Add an extra dollar to each house wash and you don’t have to be Mr. Science. It’ll take a lot of testing to get your mix just right. My guess is by the time you add in the SLS and a cover scent it’ll end up costing more than elemonator or Slo Mo.

A lot of guys I see talking about making their own surfactant use lauramine oxide and add a scent. Not something I’m interested in but I’ve seen 3 guys talking about it on the PWRA Facebook group at various times.

I wouldn’t do anything without asking a chemist first. @CaCO3Girl

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Ya’ll are going about this the wrong way. Any good soap starts with human body fat. Talk to your local morgue and ask for a discount as a recycler. And remember, you do not talk about Fight Club.

Actually though, that sounds like a cool project. I’m just getting started and learning house washing, and would love if I didn’t have to pay the same in shipping as I pay for 1 gallon of Elemonator.

I actually did the math on Elemonator vs Slo-mo. Minus shipping.

640 oz of slo-mo costs $79.00. Thats $0.12 cents per oz of slomo that makes 12.5 gallons of mix (according to their website 8 oz per 100 gallons of mix). That equates to the soap costing about $0.01 per gallon of mix.

128 oz of elemonator costs $26.35. Thats $0.20 cents each oz of elemonator that makes 1 gallon of mix (we all use about 1 oz of elemonator per gallon, some use .5 but let’s say 1 oz). That equates to the soap costing about $0.20 per gallon of mix.

I don’t know about y’all. But I’d rather pay $79.00 for 640 oz of slo-mo which makes roughly 8,000 gallons of mix vs paying the same price for about 3 gallons of elemonator which makes roughly 400 gallons of mix.


Loramine oxide (LO) is the bleach stable surfactant of choice. A few issues:

  1. Adding in SLS has always bit me. Once the SH is added it curdles, and clogs up all my equipment with bad white fatty balls of goop that won’t dissolve. SLS is great for dish soap but it gets really ticked off being in SH.

  2. LO on its own works well and is the majority of what elemonator is, however, if you add in a fragrance the whole thing could go to crap quickly. Only certain fragrances will work in LO and SH.

  3. LO is sold by the drum to be cost effective. Sure, you can get a pail but the price triples. And a drum of LO will likely last you years, maybe a decade…if it’s not contaminated, or frozen by accident. If you buy a pail you are now more expensive than already made surfactant.

In the end, things like elemonator are the best way to go because you don’t have to buy a drum.


Big win fellas. @CaCO3Girl didn’t have to correct me :rofl:


Slo Mo isn’t scented so there is an additional cost if you decide to use a cover scent. You’re still right on the money though. It’s definitely cheaper and works great. Especially on roofs.


@CaCO3Girl I don’t know if it the SH but once I added some of horizon aromatics rain clean x5 into my mix to test it’s smell out (1 oz elemonator per 1 gallon of SH) my mix seems to be weaker. Do you think the fragrance, even though labeled as bleach stable, could be weakening my mix strength ? Or do you think it might just be a bad batch of SH?

Imagine someone getting into an argument with her about chemicals, you’d just get owned, your opinion wouldn’t even matter :joy:


I use about 10 oz per 65 gallons of mix of elemanator. Regardless of what you use or pay for it, it’s a while lot easier to just order a couple drums of year that conversation with a nice SDS you can put in the trucks so you can concentrate on washing and not backyard chemistry


My guess would be check your SH strength because if it truly is a SH stable fragrance then it shouldn’t have caused an issue. Those are made with LO as a surfactant base, rather than some badly behaving surfactants that don’t like SH.

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Lol! Eventually my knowledge will be outdated since I’m no longer in this chemical world. For now though, happy to help :slight_smile:


But you’ve forgotten more about nothing than the majority of us will ever know about anything regarding actual chemical reactions. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:


Isn’t that super SUPER strong?!