STICKY Surfactant!

I posted this in another thread, but I really should have just started a new one for it instead.

I did a little experiment the other day and found that 48 oz of Gain mixed with 80 oz of RS makes some of the thickest stuff you ever saw! Pours out of the container like a thinned out paste and, mixed 1 oz per gallon of roof mix, sticks like glue…hardly any runoff on a 12/12 pitch!!! (I’m gonna try 24 oz with 104 oz RS next week and see how that does)

Does anyone else have any good “tricks” for tweaking their surfactant?

1 Like

Check before mixing surfactants that they are compatible. If you mix an anionionic surfactant with a cationic surfactant… (basically a +charge with a -charge) they will swap ions to balance the charge and “polymerise” into a semi solid goop that can glue your pump shut.

I did this recently applying a biocide to a steep roof. SH was not permitted on this job

Biocide was benzalkonium chloride… which is also a carionic surfactant… which I did not know because it’s main purpose is being a biocide!

Surfactant I added for cling was anionic surfactant.

The roof got cleaned but the remaining 200l of solution in my pressure washer buffer tank “polymerised” into sticky icky goop. Glued the pump shut. In my haste to save the pump I dropped the chemical on the driveway and later spent 10 hours onclean up removing what had essential turned to a semi-hard plastic oil slick.


I’ll google check later but if it gets thicker they might be incompatible surfactants

Yes, but you avoided the middle man and saved money. NOT. :slight_smile:

Actually I got the idea from a very old roof cleaning thread on a different forum…best I can tell the chemical (lauramine sulfate, I think) works WITH, and heightens the chemicals that cause the Roof Snot to thicken…not so much a reaction as adding a more concentrated version of the same thing. My pump seemed to be pretty happy with it, plus my pump gets flushed with 20-30 gallons of fresh water after every roof job, even if I’m going straight to another one.

That said, your input is duly noted and I will be watching how this works out…you kinda burst my happy little bubble and I hope you’re wrong, but if you’re right then I owe you for the heads-up.

This is a good example of why you should check and re-check any info you find…someone (like me) may actually post some bad advice with the best of intentions.

I’ve been researching this for months before I tried it, but I’m no chemist, so I’ll research it further to make sure I haven’t misread or missed anything. Give me a few more days and I’ll post links, etc to what I find.

Thanks again!

I’m not trying to save money or avoid the middle man so much as I am trying to cut down on run off. I’ve been using nothing but Roof Snot (tried Cling-On, but didn’t like it as much), except for the time I ran out and had no choice but to use a bunch of Gain (which actually cost MORE because I had to use more of it), since day 1. I have been experimenting with using more than the recommended amount for extra grip, but still have had waaaay more runoff than I want, so I decided to experiment with the suggested mixing of chems. I care about grip, plain and simple. I make plenty of money with each roof cleaning and I consider the chems as part of the cost of doing business. My goal is, not to sidestep the suppliers or reinvent the wheel, but to keep more SH on the roof longer. If I can save money that’s great, but that’s not my goal.

Not true! The products used are both commercial manufactured products, not DIY combinations of raw ingredients.

I explained the job requirements to the chemical manufacturer. Their sales rep recommended two of their products be used together, the biocide and the wetting agent.

When I emailed to ask WTF happened I was called back by a very frustrated chemist who explained what had happened and apologised for their mess up caused by their sales rep bad advice… some would say “I used the middle man and lost money”

Control your application rate. Learn to clean with no surfactant and then anything you add will be a bonus.

1 Like

Your nobody. I wasn’t talking to you.

Lol, at least your chosen name would suggest that. :slight_smile:

1 Like


Here’s the thread I found last winter that really got me thInking about trying this, please read through it and tell me what you think.

(I know there’s a lot of hype and marketing over there, but I’ve gotten some pretty good info there too, and I try to stay open-minded and learn all I can while filtering out the “fluff”…please give me your honest opinion about the info there)

Sorry, I was clicking buttons to fill out a profile a what not and apparently turned myself anonymous.

I’m cheeky sometimes, but I’ll agree with you, I’m also a nobody.

1 Like

everybody learned what not to do

Hi, using dish soap as surfactant is fine.

But when you’re mixing surfactants (or any chemical), check that they are compatible as reactions are possible.

My big blunder was partially my fault… because I used a different chemical manufacturer because the job was on an commercial orchard and I could only use products on an “approved” list.


Here’s the other thread that really got me thinking:

What’s your opinion?

Personally I dislike the guy with a passion

Oh crap. Where’s that anonymous button gone when I’m slinging insults at myself

1 Like

Too many mean people over at WCRA. They made me sad

you’ve only got one troll here and he’s such an amateur I figured I could handle it here


Welcome aboard !!

Hey mate I’ll read it later im in a queue right now. My short opinion on chems is this

  • you need to understand how to use each main active chemical all by itself.
    How to store it, handle it safely, what other chemicals it is/isn’t compatible with.
    You need to know how the ratio with water to produce a usable chemical.

eg SH everyone knows how to safely handle SH and produce a 1,2 or 3% soloution. Everyone knows how to label a SH container, how to manage a spill, that you add SH to water and not the other way round etc etc

Think of the common active “ingredients”, the raw chemicals included in commercial blended products we use, SH, sodium hydroxide, oxalic, hydrochloride, hydrofluoric (less so), common surfavtants.

Users (you and or employees) benefit by knowing how to manage the raw chemicals.
You can understand the mass, you handle them safely, you don’t mix them with an incompatible product, you don’t apply them to incompatible surfaces and if you run out of your favourite commercial product, then in a pinch you can rustle up some “old school” product using chemicals from a hardware store
You know when it’s appropriate to save money… eg mix your own oxalic to treat wood is fine, vs when a blended product is better… rust on a pavement is best removed with a blended product because the addition of phosphoric acid and surfactant will do the job faster and better

  • blended commercially manufactured products almost alway perform their task better (eg, elemonator clings better and smells nicer than dish soap).
    They are effective at lower concentrations of active ingredient which can be safer (one restore has <5% hydrochloric acid but works better than the 33% you’ll buy as a single ingredient.

Blended products are generally better for your business. I do think it’s very important to know and understand the active chemicals within those products.

When I F up… at least I get to learn the lesson :grimacing::ok_hand:t2:


Are you still using this mix?

No, I’m not. Just using Roof Snot now, but I’m thinking of trying Slo-Mo next season.

1 Like