Man's physical universe



Detergents and Abrasives Have Their Place in Cleanliness as Well as in


Abrasives are useful in removing films of foreign material by mechanical

action. Many abrasives of different degrees of hardness are available,

and it is important to select the proper abrasive for a given purpose.

Powdered glass, though a good abrasive, will soon wear the enamel

from the teeth when used as a constituent of a dentifrice. Certain

popular abrasives that contain volcanic ash or diatomaceous earth

and similar powders are frequently too coarse for continued use on

enamel or porcelain.

Detergents are substances that have cleansing qualities similar to

those of soaps. Sodium alkyl sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate,

and triethanolamine lauryl sulfate have been patented and are licensed

for sale for special purposes under such names as "Drene," "Dreft,"

"Teel," and "Irium." They have the detergent properties of soap,

but they do not form alkaline solutions and are unaffected by hardness

in waters. In addition to the sodium alkyl sulfates which have been

made available for domestic uses, there are fifty or more other types

of "soapless soaps" which are finding wide application, especially in

the textile industries.

Phosphates Are Rapidly Finding Favor in American Homes.

The known phosphate rock deposits in

the United States amount

to about seven billion tons. Of that amount about 9 per cent are

located in Florida and Tennessee, where phosphorus is being extracted

from phosphate rocks by electrochemical methods at Muscle Shoals

Dam by the T.V.A. Nearly 91 per cent of the phosphate deposits are

located in the western states, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming.

These western deposits are being utilized to a small extent only,

partly because of the high cost of transportation, but largely because

the underground mining methods required to work these deposits are

more expensive than the surface mining methods used in Florida and


The most important use of phosphates is in fertilizers, but three

sodium phosphates are coming into wide use in industry and in the

homes of the United States.

1. Trisodium Phosphate.

Trisodium phosphate, Na3P04 I2H2O,

hydrolyzes to produce a solution which is more strongly basic than

soap but not as strongly basic as lye. This salt is the cheapest of the

sodium phosphates and is used for cleaning operations such as washing

dishes or cleaning sinks and tubs, where a moderately strong alkali

will do no harm.

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