Solvents Versus Detergents

Everybody knows oil and water don’t mix.  You have 2 choices to remove oils such as grease.  Dissolve it off with solvents or emulsify it off with detergents. 



The Bad Choice: Solvents

Solvents will remove 99% of grease.  When a solvent dissolves grease off your hands, it penetrates too deep into your skin.  Removing your natural oils.  Then it leaves a very thin sticky film of dissolved grease.  Many times you need to wash again with plain soap to remove the sticky film.  The oils and water will separate again once they enter the drain.  This usually leads to a grease buildup and possible clogging problems.


The Good Choice: Detergents


Detergents also remove grease. But, through a different process called emulsification. This chemistry is easier on your skin, and you can skip the 2-step washing process. The detergents break down the oils into a stabilized emulsion. Oils are broken down into microscopic droplets called micelles, where they can’t separate and attach to your pipes. They are carried all the way to the water treatment plant.



Your Take Away Points
Water Treatment Plant


  • Solvents are harsh on your skin. They are usually made with mineral spirits. No, really! Look at the ingredient list. Petroleum Distillates or Alkanes are actually names for mineral spirits. 

  • If you don’t need to wash using any water (Waterless), it is a solvent product.

  • We only recommend “Waterless” products in situations where water is not available.

  • Detergent products are much better for you and your piping system.



History of Soap

Mastering the basics is the first step to doing a good job. At Full Bore, that means knowing where soap came from - so we can make it even better. We thought we'd share a little history of soap in case you ever find yourself playing Jeopardy!   

Cylinders containing boiled fats with ashes were found during excavations of Babylon that date back to 2800 B.C. This is the first known use of soap. In 1500 B.C., the Egyptians combined animal and vegetable oils with salts to form a soap product used for treating skin diseases.

During the great Roman Empire (310 B.C.), bathing rose to a new level with the building of large bathhouses. Water was supplied via aqueducts and soap was recommended for both medicinal and cleansing purposes.

The word "soap" actually got its name from Mount Sapo where the Romans routinely sacrificed animals. Rain would carry the leftover animal fat and ash down the mountain toward the Tiber River.  It collected there along the clay banks, where women washed clothes - with much less effort.

Through the years since the Roman Empire, soaps have been made by many different cultures and are essential in growing, civilized societies. As population densities increased, diseases spread quickly.  Around the 17th century, humans began to associate filthy compact living with disease. 

Cleaning practices and products remained the same for many years, until detergents, originally known as Syndets or synthetic detegents were first developed in the 1940’s. These “man-made” soaps made life so much easier, and cleaner.  It's hard to believe so many everyday products we depend on were developed just within the last 80 years.

Who knows what the next 80 years will bring, or even the next six!  Whatever it is, Full Bore will be up for the challenge, making sure you have the best cleaner possible for whatever you get into.  Go ahead.  Get Dirty.  Full Bore will get you clean.

Still Want to Learn More?

These links will help!