R.A.D. - Rick's Alternative Detergent[edit | edit source]

Rick Findley has been working on creating a safe eco-friendly surfactant mix for making bubbles and is sharing the recipe. Give it a try, and if you succeed in creating an improved version, please share.

Rick is sharing this recipe with the understanding that if you make use of it that you will share any improvements with the community and will not keep your improvements secret. He has put in a great deal of research and experimentation to come up with this recipe and is sharing it with the hope that his good will will be returned by all that use it.

R.A.D. 2.0 (October 2018 Version)[edit | edit source]

by Rick Findley


  • Water
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA) * (IMPORTANT! This may come as a very fine powder and can irritate when airborne. It is advisable to wear a dust mask when handling it. You may be able to find it in coarse form.)
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB) (liquid)
  • Decyl Glucoside*
  • Lauramine Oxide*
  • JLube (**)
  • Suttocide A (optional - preservative)
  • Disodium EDTA (optional - preservative


The procedure involves three phases:

  • A - Hot water phase (add those ingredients best combined in hot water)
  • B - Cool-down phase (add room temperature water followed by ingredients best added when solution is cool
  • C - Dilution phase. At some point after making the concentrate, you dilute it with water

A-Hot Water Phase

  • Heat 250ml water to just below boiling (2 minutes in Rick's microwave)
  • Stir in 14g SLSA and continue stirring until dissolved
  • Stir in 3g Decyl Glucoside
  • Stir in 2g Lauramine Oxide
  • Stir in 0.3g Jlube
  • (Optional) Stir in 2g disodium EDTA

B-Cool Down Phase

This phase completes creation of 500 ml of concentrate

  • Add 250ml of room temp. water to solution created in Phase A
  • Stir in 5 g CAPB
  • (Optional) Add 3 grams Suttocide A

 C-Dilution Phase

Turn the concentrate into actual bubble juice.

  • Add 500ml room temp. water to 500ml concentrate
  • Adjust pH to 7.2-7.4 with BS/CA using pH meter

Preservatives[edit | edit source]

Rick has found a combination of preservatives that give RAD (or pretty much any bubble juice) excellent shelf-life. These have been added to the RAD 2.0 recipe above but can be used in most bubble juice recipes also.

He recommends .3% Suttocide A partnered with .2% (disodium) EDTA. For 1 liter of bubble juice (which will weigh close to 1 kg),use 3 grams Suttocide A and 2 grams (disodium) EDTA. Suttocide A is effective in a wide range of pH's but is weak vs yeast whereas EDTA is effective against yeasts and is effective in our preferred pH ranges. See the discussion in the comments section for more details. With this treatment a batch of RAD repeatedly exposed to the elements in January 2018 was still viable in June 2018!

--Section Added: October 2018

Notes and Comments Summary[edit | edit source]

Decyl Glucoside: March 2017. Rick notes (see comments section below) that adding 3 grams of decyl glucoside (a non-ionic surfactant) makes a noticeable difference. Edward Spiegel also reports that it seems to improve the feel of the mix quite a bit

R.A.D. In Action[edit | edit source]




Testing Rick's Alternative Detergent (RAD) by Rick Findley


RIck's Alternative Detergent (RAD) by rick findley


Testing Rick's Alternative Detergent (RAD)


RAD 1.0g (RAD 1.0 plus 3 gr. Decyl Gluconate)


Sourcing Ingredients[edit | edit source]

The surfactants used are available through stores that cater to home lotion and soapmakers. They are easily found on EBay. In Nov. 2018, Rick mentioned that LotionCrafter  has most of the ingredients you need with the missing ingredients available through The Chemistry Connection eBay store. ABOUT THE SLSA POWDER: Rick mentions that SLSA often comes sold as a fine powder, coarse powder or in flakes. He prefers the coarse grade as it is less likely to become airborne which can cause sneezing and irritation to the airways if you aren't wearing a dust mask.

Editor's Note[edit | edit source]

R.A.D. is a great recipe and early in its development. You will have a lot of fun with it. This may not (yet) compete with what can be done with Dawn in terms of size, but it is a much more kid-friendly mix that can make great bubbles, and we hope that over time it will develop into a formulation that will give Dawn-based solutions a run for their money.

Please share your RAD pictures and videos with us!

R.A.D. 1.0 (Oct. 2016 Version - Original Recipe)[edit | edit source]

by Rick Findley, 7 Oct 2016

This is an experimental mixing procedure and recipe which means there are undoubtedly improvements that can and will be made in the future--but for now this has proven to work.

I would like to make it clear that the whole purpose of RAD is to develop a simple DIY (and completely safe) alternative to commercial detergents. There is more testing and experimenting still to be done. The base recipe I came up with is very productive and promising. Competing with, or comparisons to, other products or recipes is premature. I am hoping that once RAD becomes broadly known other bubblers will join the "crusade" and help develop an alternative system that changes the game as we know it.

This is not a commercial grade product as I did not formulate it in a laboratory setting. I did not use distilled water nor did I sterilize my equipment or add any preservative--if I had done all these things it may have possibly extended the shelf life in a concentrated form. As it stands there has been no long term testing to establish stability, shelf life or degradation.

Ingredients[edit | edit source]

  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB) * (liquid)
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA) * (IMPORTANT! This is a fine powder that is an irritant when airborne if breathed in. It is generally advised to wear a dust mask when handling it.)
  • Decyl Glucoside (optional). While this wasn't part of the 1.0 recipe, Rick recommends using it. See notes below.
  • Lauramine Oxide (optional)
  • Water
  • JLube (other polymers work also)

* - All ingredients are listed as non-toxic, eco friendly, non-irritants and are bio-degradable.

Materials[edit | edit source]

  • Microwave oven **
  • 2-4 cup capacity micro safe container (you need a container with 2X the capacity of the amount you are putting into it).
  • Wooden stir stick (chop stick or popcycle stick, etc.)
  • Digital scale and pH meter

Recipe[edit | edit source]

Makes 500 ml of concentrate and 1 liter diluted juice. This recipe scales up well. To make a larger batch, multiply all amounts accordingly.

Rick notes that it takes 2 minutes to boil water in his microwave to boil 1 cup of water (250ml): ADJUST YOUR HEATING TIMES ACCORDINGLY!

If you do not have a microwave oven you can add 250ml water to a small pot and gradually heat to below boiling while you stir in the powder ingredients.


  1. Weigh 14 grams SLSA. Take care not to get the powder airborne as it is an irritant if breathed in. A dust mask is advisable.
  2. Weigh 5 grams CAPB
  3. Optional: weigh 3 grams Decyl Glucoside (if using it).
  4. Optional: weigh 2 grams Lauramine Oxide (if using it).
  5. Weigh 0.3g JLube
  6. Add 250 ml of tap water to a 2 cup capacity Pyrex measuring cup.
  7. Sprinkle in your Jlube while stirring.
  8. Place Pyrex container in Micro for 1 minute--keep your wooden stir stick in the container while it is heating in the micro.
  9. Remove from micro and sprinkle in your SLSA while stirring Note: SLSA will not dissolve until heated.
  10. Place into Micro once again for 1 minute.
  11. Remove from Micro and stir into a vortex for 1 minute. Solution with dissolve fully and turn clear after stirring.
  12. Add 250 ml more water (room temperature).
  13. Stir in CAPB
  14. (optional) Stir in Decyl Glucoside and Lauramine Oxide.


The recipe above makes a concentrate. To use it as bubble juice:

  • Add 500ml water to the concentrate.
  • Adjust pH to 7.4--7.6 using citric acid and baking soda.

Usage Note: Although this recipe will produce good results immediately after mixing, it does seem to produce better after waiting.

Odds and Ends[edit | edit source]

ABOUT THE SLSA POWDER: Rick mentions that SLSA often comes sold as a fine powder, coarse powder or in flakes. He prefers the coarse grade as it is less likely to become airborne which can cause sneezing and irritation to the airways if you aren't wearing a dust mask. Also worth noting: SLSA does not actually require very hot water to dissolve. It will dissolve in room temperature/warm water but requires a great deal of stirring. DAWN DILUTION EQUIVALENCE. RAD 1.0 sems to achieve a film thickness similar to that of pH-adjusted Dawn Pro 20:1 (water:detergent ratio) juice. -- Edward Spiegel

RAD STRING OF PEARLS. Rick notes that RAD works well for his String of Pearls trick.

IMPROVING SUB-PAR DETERGENTS. Rick notes that RAD can be useful in helping boost juice made with sub-par detergents. Adding 1/4 cup of diluted RAD 1.0 added to 1.0 liters of juice made from inferior detergent helped considerably. A combination of RAD 1.0, Johnson's and Johnson's Baby Shampoo, water and some PEO can also be effective and kid friendly.

Ongoing updates[edit | edit source]

Feb. 12, 2018 - Rick comments: "I have discovered that adding 2gr of Lauramine Oxide to 1 liter of diluted RAD improves the overall performance and life span of large airborne bubbles I launched using a 60" topstring wand.  Still more to do during various conditions, but this is a step forward for RAD. It also lowers the Krafft Point to below 50 degrees F."

July 2018 (Preservatives/Shelf-Life) - Rick has found that Suttocide A and disodium EDTA are effective as bubble juice preservatives when used together. With this treatment a batch of RAD repeatedly exposed to the elements in January 2018 was still viable in June 2018! Details included in the article above.

Experimenter's Notes - Tried and Failed[edit | edit source]

Rick has shared a list (see comments section below) about surfactants that he has tried in RAD. The ones marked with * were not helpful. This list may be helpful for people that want to contribute to the project with further experimentation:

Rick says: "As promised these are the surfactants I have tried...(looking for a secondary surf for SLSA):  

  • SCS--Sodium Coco Sulfate*
  • DLS--Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate*
  • LAL--same as SLSA
  • Lauramine Oxide
  • Cocamidoropyl Betaine
  • Decyl Glucoside
  • Lauryl Glucoside
  • SLES
  • SLS

He says: "The last 2 (SLES and SLS) I discarded because of their toxicity.  The 2 I have not tried are Coco Glucoside (since I have tried the other 2 glucosides I decided to save my money) and ALS--Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate.  I hope you share whatever advances or progress you make with us.  Good luck!"

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