Sunday, July 5, 2009

d-Limonene: Awesome cleansing power!

Do you avoid super happy fun creation time because you can't stand the sight of that sink filled with greasy containers and pots? Are you sick of dishwashing liquids or cleansers that promise to cut through an oily mess but disappoint you ever time? Are you looking for a green-friendly, ecologically pleasing ingredient that can make all your cleaning nightmares disappear? If so, then you need the awesome cleaning power of d-Limonene.

Yes, this citrus oil ingredient can cut through greasy messes with only a few squirts, leaving you more time to make delightful bath and body creations your family and friends will enjoy! But wait, there's more! It smells nice, is nice to the environment, and you can get a year's supply for less than $10. Now are you interested?

No, I'm not trying to sell you something - I've just been listening to too many podcasts of "The Age of Persuasion" (CBC Radio - it's awesome!) and I thought I'd try my hand at marketing. It doesn't suit me!

This solvent, derived from the skin of citrus fruits, really can cut through grease, wax, and oil very easily. When you see "orange oil" in products, that's d-Limonene. Those cleansers you see in workshops and garages - the odds are the degreasing ingredient is d-Limonene. If you're looking to make greener products, you'll want to invest in d-Limonene. And considering it's about $10 for 500 ml, you can make a ton of products for not a lot of money.

And it really is green. Citrus fruits are a renewable resource, and it's biodegradable. So where's the down side? (I couldn't find any. It's generally regarded as safe - GRAS - although some people might be sensitive to it, so test yourself before using large quantities of it!)

Suggested amounts for d-Limonene range from 5% to 20% in various products. Here's how I use it most...Weigh 10% d-Limonene and 10% polysorbate 20 in a small container and mix well. Add to 80% by weight dishwashing liquid. Package. Rejoice!

Always combine equal amounts of d-Limonene and polysorbate 20. It's an oil based product, so the polysorbate 20 acts as your emulsifier to include it in surfactant mixes. Assume when I write "Use 5% d-Limonene" I'm also writing "with an equal amount of polysorbate 20" when it's a water based mixture.

I use this for all my post-crafting clean up by filling the sink with water, then squirting in the dishwashing liquid-d-Limonene combination. I let it sit in hot water for a bit - I'm easily distracted so it could be a while - and when I return, the grease and everything just slides off the containers, so I give them a quick clean and they're ready to go into the dishwasher. And the nice thing? The grease disintegrates, so I don't have clogged pipes. This is a great cleanser for post-chocolate making as well, but it will degrade the moulds over time, so use it when you really really really don't feel like cleaning! (Having said this, I've probably washed my moulds 20 times with d-Limonene and I still don't have any wear and tear on them. And yes, I really don't feel like cleaning most of the time!)

Add d-Limonene at 2% for shampoo for oily haired people or dogs. Use 5% d-Limonene with vinegar for a window degreaser. And if you make liquid soap - especially castille - include it at 5% for a wonderful degreaser! (Or 10% if you wish!) You can add it to your own or purchased hand sanitizer at 2 to 5% or use it in a hand cleanser at the same amounts (I did see a recipe including 25% in a hand cleanser, but this seems really high and very drying to your skin!). You could use foaming bath butter with pumice and d-Limonene to make an incredible, moisturizing hand cleanser for the workshop.

It smells very nice mixed with mint or tea tree essential oils. Or add some key lime to make a citrus blend that smells amazing!

Voyageur has some great recipes for natural cleaning here to see the list (look for the natural cleaner package and laundry soap package). I can't get it to download with Safari - perhaps you'll have better luck with another browser!

Join me tomorrow if you want to make a few d-Limonene cleaning recipes. If you simply can't wait, then please visit the post on surfactants and gels for my gardener's hand scrub!


Angela said...

What an awesome product! I love the way you explain things so fun and exciting. :)

I was wondering if this D-limoene would even need the polysorbate 20 if you put it in a homemade liquid soaps since soap is also an emulsifier?

My second question is: Can I add this to my homemade laundy soap and what quantity would I need to add to help with grease stains. Or should I just make a separte stain fighter bottle and apply the mixture directly to the grease stain?

My laundry soap recipe is 2 bars sunlight laundry soap, 1 1/2 cups of borax and washing soda. And a ton of water (16cups + 16.14litres)

Thank you for your help. :)


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Angela. Thanks for the kind words.

I do find the polysorbate 20 necessary in liquid Castille soap as it will float to the top (I don't make it myself, so it might be different if you're adding it at an earlier stage in the saponification process). Although soaps and detergents are emulsifiers, most of them aren't great at it when it comes to adding more than about 5% oils (even 3% can be too much).

As for the laundry soap, I'm not comfortable making that suggestion because I'd hate for it to hurt your machine or your clothes. I have tried it as an oily stain pre-wash spray and it worked very nicely, but I would hesitate to suggest using it directly in your machine because I know nothing about washing clothes or washing machines! If you want to try it, add a little bit to your laundry soap and try a hand wash of a piece of clothing you can live without, and see if you like it that way!

I'm loathe to make suggestions about clothes because I've lost too many favourite shirts to experiments!

Angela said...

Thank you! I tried it mixed with a small amount of my homemade laundry detergent (plus the polysorbate) and it made the clothes smell wonderful. Plus it emulsified the detergent way better than it was already. But it didn't get out the grease stains like i had hoped. (I was hoping I could use it like some use Lestoil) My next step is making the stain remover spray to go directly on the clothes. I hope it works because my favorite shirts are covered in grease stains mostly from my soapmaking/lotion making and whatnot :P lol I'll let you know how it turns out. :)

K said...

I also love d-Limonene - but do you find that it doesn't work well in pump bottles? I mixed equal amounts of d-Limonene and polysorbate 20 and then mixed the solution in with my foaming hand soap, and the pump got clogged! It also happened when I used Voyageur's recipe for making home cleaning spray - the pump soon stopped work after a few uses. Any comments or I'm just not doing it right?

Albus Corvus said...

d-Limonene is destructive of most plastics. Thus - the dead spray bottle you experienced. See to begin researching in greater detail. To use as a spray, you need to find a resistant material. I would think you could buy a commercial d-Limonene spray cleaner with bottle, and refill it.

Kelvin Krastel said...

For a spot treatment, use a PET plastic bottle and spritzer. Mixed with polysorbate (or even straight) it works wonders on blood or oil or grease.

I add 1/4 cup to my jug of liquid laundry detergent and it sure makes it smell nice. Use more of it straight in the laundry along with the detergent when doing sports equipment and "Wow!"

Clive said...

If you have a surfactant that is a good emulsifier then you'll find that polysorbate is not necessary. As an example this is a simple mechanic's hand wash that doesn't separate:
20% SLS, 15% CAPB, 5% d-limonene, 2% glycerine, 2% MEA, 0.7% Spectrastat (preservative) and the rest is water.

Ella said...

Hi Susan,i tried enhancing my dishwasing detergent and it is amazing! :) But i have one gets very thin, almost watery. What can i use to thicken it?

Anonymous said...

Here is one answer to some of the questions asked concerning laundry soap.
"Linda" laundry soap bar can be purchased in some stores on the market. it is excellent and I use it for just about everything. The ingredients are 30 soap, fragrance (from limonene)and Limonene as the last ingredient.
That is all that is in the detergent laundry bar. Love it!!! and it is really cheap to buy.

Valerie Jaquith said...

Howdy! I love adding limonene to my dish soap and handsoap. I have been reading that products with limonene are prone to oxidation so I wanted your adivce on what I could add to my formula to help mitigate that affect, especially in bottles of product which are being used where the air space is increasing. My understanding is that the oxidation which takes places eventually makes the product smell like turpentine. Do you have any information that would help me as I move forward. I a working on a formular for a castile based dog wash which will remove stains (mud, horsepoop) from my pets coat. I think a citrus blend 2% with limonene 2% would be perfect but I need advice on a good antioxidant to include. Thank you!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Valerie. I haven't heard of d-Liminene oxidizing, so I'm not sure what to tell you. It'll be interesting to see what the people in the Facebook group suggest!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Valerie! I should correct this. I haven't heard of d-Limonene oxidizing in any significant way that we would be concerned about...

Valerie Jaquith (Colorado Real Soap) said...

thanks for the reply Susan, this is what I wanted to hear! YAY!

Valary Bilson said...

Thanks for the great recipe. You're awesome!

Jenny Morgan said...

Thank you for sharing this interesting information! I am keen on "green" recipes, moreover when they are effective. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

Hy Valerie , a good antioxidant for D-limonene is tocopherol, known also as vitamin E, you can buy some pills of this vitamin E in a drug store or supermarket. Since tocopherol is an oily substance, you can mix it with D-limonene which acts as a solvent. Level of use is in the range of 0.01 to 0.2 % of vitamin E of the D-limonene total weight in your formulation.

Francisco González Hinojosa.
Monterrey, México.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know of an all natural emulsifier that works with d-limonene


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kevin! Can you specify what you mean by all natural?

Kim said...

Can d-limonene be used for an oily skin cleanser? Will it cause a rebound effect? Also, would d-limonene still degrease if used in a powdered product ie. dry shampoo or does it have to be liquid to degrease?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kim. It would have to be in a liquid product as d-Limonene is an oil soluble liquid. You could try using with Natrasorb Bath to make it a powder, but I don't know if there's any point to doing that in a powdered product. As for using it with oily skin, try it at 1% to start and see what you think. I've put it in an oily hair shampoo at 2% and quite liked it. Didn't notice any rebound effect, but then again, I've really never noticed that with any of my products. Instead, I find things strip my skin and leave them dry too much.

If you try this, please let us know!

Alana said...

In response to my other comment (Kim), would a starch such as arrowroot, etc. or dendritic salt work to absorb the d-limonene in place of Natrasorb Bath? Can d-limonene reduce oiliness in oily skin or just hair in your experience?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Alana! I guess it depends on what you are making. Do you want dendritic salt in your hair in a dry shampoo? I would really caution against that. And besides, those salts don't absorb oils, they merely hold on to them better than a normal salt would. I don't think arrowroot would adsorb it either. Natrasorb Bath is designed to absorb oil, so you'd have to find something that is designed to do that. If you can get it, a 250 gram bag doesn't cost much, but you get a whole lotta Natrasorb!

Can I make a suggestion? Make a dry shampoo and see if you like it. I make one that's 67% baking soda, 30% arrowroot powder, 3% spearmint leaves (for the smell, feel free to leave it out), and I love it for my very oily hair. I don't think adding d-Limonene would make this product any better for me. Besides, you'd have to live with smelling very strongly of orange all day long! That would be a bit much for me!

Let me know how it turns out and what you do so we can share it with others.

Alana said...

Clay absorbs oil, so could I use that in place of natrasorb bath? How about things like arrowroot powder, etc.? Would they work to replace natrasorb bath?