Apllying Baby Shampoo

stevin(6)July 9, 2014

I know the ratio is 3oz per 1000 sqft. but how is the baby shampoo applied? is it placed in a hose-end sprayer or a pump sprayer?

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forsheems(Lexington, NC)

I've used a pump sprayer in the past but the easiest way if you're using a regular sprinkler for watering is this:


The spray nozzle end of this sprayer comes off so you can put it inline with your sprinkler. All you need is a short 2 foot long hose to attach it to your sprinkler. Add the baby shampoo, hook it up, and go do something else while you are shampooing the lawn.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 1:56PM
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I have an irrigation system but I will most likely use a hose end sprayer to apply the shampoo. would I dilute the shampoo or use it as is?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 2:11PM
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Just add the shampoo, too much won't hurt a thing. I typically use a while bottle of baby shampoo on 2k sqft.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 3:12PM
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Can someone recap for me briefly the benefit of shampoo used by itself (for softening up the soil?)?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 3:35PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

daniel, briefly? Not my forte, but sure. The shampoo is a surfactant which allows water to penetrate much more deeply into the soil. You have run into morpheuspa on other topics; one of his other hobbies is soap making, so he is one of the masters of this subject. Spray the shampoo at any rate between 2 and 50 (yes, 50) ounces per 1,000 square feet. Follow up with an inch of water to get that penetration. Wait a week and water another inch. A week after that, repeat the shampoo. It took my yard just two treatments at 3 ounces per. Others take more and some take less. The result you're looking for is soil that becomes soft like a sponge when you water and then dries out and gets very hard after a week (also like a sponge).

There are beneficial fungi in the soil which provide the feel of softness. By getting the moisture down deep you are creating the perfect environment for those fungi to fill the soil. There's no way you can puncture enough holes in the soil with an aerator to replicate what a few bazillion miles of fungi can do.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 9:56PM
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Hey, I like long answers, actually. I just didn't want to ask someone to go out or their way on something I could probably google. But since I have you on the line, is shampoo treatment generally considered a good thing to do for most any lawn?

(Not to hijack the thread...)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 1:09AM
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Word up, dudes.

To get technical, any anionic surfactant will work fine. Cationic and zwitterionic (I love that word) are ineffective and not very effective respectively.

Soap just happens to be cheap and handy--and you can often do better on price than baby shampoo. When lazier, I tend to use Suave as the price per ounce is much cheaper and it goes on sale a lot more often (and I like the apple scent).

When not lazy, I use 4 ounces of sodium laurel sulfate (available at good price from Bramble Berry) in 1 gallon of water as a concentrate, then apply 3 ounces of that concentrate per gallon to the lawn. Price per ounce is very low. At higher concentrations, it'll also remove oil from your garage floor very easily.

Toxicity is very low, but if using the SLS powder, don't breathe the stuff while mixing. It's not toxic, but it's a major irritant. I wear a mask.

The 3 oz per thousand measurement is extremely flexible; I've gone as high as 15 when I've had a "greasy soil" problem. Vast overuse can cause sodium buildup (all soaps are sodium or potassium salts), but I've never seen it become a problem (yet).

Soap allows water to penetrate more easily into the soil the same way that soap allows water to coat your hair, beard, skin, and dishes.

It also creates an environment in soils of more diverse ions, which causes the soil particles to flocculate (gather together) into nice, small peds that allow water and air to penetrate soils much more easily. Bacteria also like the peds as they make good homes with lots of cracks and caves for them to live in--and then the bacteria further flocculate the soil for you.

Conversely, clay and silt tend to be deflocculated soil, arrayed in plates and sheets that don't allow water or air to soak in easily. These soils tend to be hard, either soaked or bone dry, crack when dry, and don't support a great deal of microbial life below the surface.

Although any other soil type can become deflocculated, it's a little more rare in sandy soils.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 5:37AM
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M Mccarthy 8b ATX(8b)

Sorry to hijack, but I'm still confused on how you apply the shampoo. I understand 3 oz per 1000 sf, but is that straight up 3 oz of shampoo or do I need to mix it? I have a sprayer I was going to hook to my hose to apply. Sorry to be a dufus but this just needs to be spelled out for me. Thanks!!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 1:02PM
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You're not a dufus. My instructions sometimes border on the incredibly wordy.

3 oz of soap per thousand square feet. Give or take.

So if you hook it to your hose, you're going to use gallons of water to dilute that soap. That's fine, if 3 oz of soap are going down per thousand square feet, you're doing exactly what you should be doing.

You may find that the soap doesn't flow easily through your sprayer as it's kind of thick. In that case, please feel free to dilute it in the sprayer can with an equal amount of water and adjust the amount going down accordingly to 6 oz per thousand of your mix.

You can certainly dilute it more or less if you want, just adjust the amounts for your dilution.

After that, how many gallons of water you use to apply a given amount of pure soap or your mix doesn't matter, and actually helps get it into the soil where it can start working.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 2:15PM
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M Mccarthy 8b ATX(8b)

Thank you! This all makes sense! I was really confused on how I would drizzle 3 oz of shampoo over 1000 sf and I thought, that can't be right... Of course it also helps to know how hose end sprayers work! :) We just bought it and haven't tried it out yet. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:02PM
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No problem! This is a great way to test your hose-end sprayer as well--if you accidentally overdo it by...well, a lot...it really doesn't matter in this instance.

If you find you did overdo it by...well, a lot...just irrigate the area for fifteen minutes or so to wash the soap into the soil. No harm done, although you might notice that for a short period of time that part of your lawn and/or gardens demands a bit more water. Supply it. It shouldn't last for more than a good rainstorm or two.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:28PM
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Applying with hose-end sprayer... If I'm unable to water it in... Harmful to the turf? ... Ineffective effort? Thanks for the help!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 10:22AM
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Theoretically there's some burn potential as soap is a salt, but that's really unlikely with a hose end as the dilution is really high to begin with. You'd see that more with a backpack sprayer.

It works fine if you don't water it in, it just waits for the next rainfall to start. No harm done.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 11:21AM
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As always... Thank you Mr. Lehigh Valley sir!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 11:59AM
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