Make your own chlorine removal shampoo
A while back, I went to the store to get some UltraSwim chlorine removal shampoo. Although it works ok, UltraSwim isn’t ideal and they wanted $7.00 - $8.00 for 12 fluid ounces (355 ml). Ouch! We can do better. (Note for non-USA people: I mention some USA-specific things, but I’m sure you’ll get the gist of it.)
Although other chemicals work (e.g. vitamin C), the gold standard for chlorine removal is sodium thiosulfate or sodium thiosulfate pentahydrate. (More on the difference later) Not only does it do a great job, but it is non-hazardous. In fact, it’s used intravenously to treat cyanide poisoning and some heavy metal poisoning. It’s also the chemical that UltraSwim uses, but they don’t use much, although I don’t know how much they use.
After reviewing the literature and doing a patent search, I found that concentrations of 0.01% - 5.0% (by simple weight) of sodium thiosulfate have been tried. With some experimentation, I found that concentrations of 1.0 – 2.0 % worked perfectly and, in fact, is overkill. Here’s an EASY way to make your own chlorine removal shampoo/bodywash for very little money. (Note: In the following, I use the word “weight” when the correct word is “mass”, but it only makes a practical difference if you are in outer space or on another planet.)
1) Cheap shampoo. I am able to get 12 – 15 fluid ounces (355 – 444 ml) of cheap shampoo (e.g. Alberto VO5, etc) at the local grocery store or Dollar General or Dollar Tree or Wal-Mart for $0.99 - $1.29. If you want a better quality shampoo, Mane and Tail Horse shampoo ($3.00 for 12 oz at Family Dollar) works very well. Don’t use anything with higher concentrations of baking soda (e.g. Arm and Hammer products) as it seems to affect the performance.
2) Sodium Thiosulfate (hereafter abbreviated ST) or Sodium Thiosulfate Pentahydrate (hereafter abbreviated STP). This can be had online via Amazon or the like. I paid about $16.00 for 500 grams (1.1 lb) of STP. This is enough for 40 – 50 12 ounce bottles of shampoo. Get reagent grade (99.5% pure) or better. You can get it cheaper at a swimming pool supply store, but I have no idea how pure it is. Both ST and STP work equally well, but you will need to add 57% more mass of STP than ST due to the mass of the pentahydrate part of the molecule.
3) An electronic postage scale or similar that weighs in GRAMS and is accurate to 1 gram or better. If you don’t have one or don’t have one where you work, you can probably get a new one for $40 or less. Check Craigslist or similar for used ones.
4) A small funnel. (optional, but really helps)
How to make the shampoo/bodywash:
1) Weigh the full bottle of shampoo in GRAMS.
2) Empty the bottle into a plastic container. Then turn the bottle over and let the dregs of it drain into the container – this will probably take 15 – 30 minutes or so.
3) Weigh the empty bottle in grams.
4) Subtract the weight of the empty bottle from the weight of the full bottle. This is X, the weight of the shampoo in grams.
5) For each 1% of ST you want to add to the shampoo, multiply X by 0.01. If you are using STP, multiply X by 0.0157 – The difference is because the pentahydrate adds about 57% mass to the each molecule of ST. This will be the weight of ST/STP to add to the shampoo.
6) Weigh out the amount of ST/STP calculated in step 5 and dump it into the shampoo. Mix well (it dissolves quickly).
7) Pour it back into the original bottle or where ever, using the funnel. Let the container drain completely.
Note: Don’t get OCD about the accuracy of the scale being only 1 gram. There will be more than enough ST/STP in the shampoo to do the job even if you are a gram off.
1) I have a 15 fluid ounce (444 ml) bottle of shampoo.
2) The weight of the full bottle is 488 grams.
3) The weight of the empty bottle is 42 grams.
4) Therefore, the weight of the shampoo is 446 grams.
5) I am using STP and I want to make a 2% solution. (Note: I like 2%), so the equation to get the weight of STP is: 2 * 0.0157 * 446 = 14.004 grams STP.
6) Weigh out 14 grams of STP, dump it in the shampoo, mix it up and put the mixture back in the original bottle or where ever.
Total cost from example:
STP: $16.00 * 14 / 500 = $0.45
Difference compared to UltraSwim (approx $7.50): $5.96 and it works better. MUCH better.
How to use:
Use like regular shampoo/bodywash. Be sure to rub some of the suds from your hair all over your body. Any chlorine that the suds touch will be GONE, GONE, GONE. Finish with hair conditioner and skin moisturizer, if you use them.
“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde
Welcome back, LBJ! Wonderful to see one of your inspired postings again in these parts.
Awesome Post Leonard, thanks !
This is amazing. Definitely going to try it! I love a good excuse for home science 🙂
LBJ is back! Missed you.
We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams