Thread Number: 74278  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
Source for phosphate/ STPP
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Post# 980762   1/31/2018 at 16:30 by dylanmitchell (San Diego, CA)        

Please share the name of phosphate products you're using and where you found them. Looking for online sources or local sources in San Diego for phosphate. We have a few commercial cleaning and restaurant supply stores but I'm having trouble locating it. Washing machine loads of white laundry are struggling to get clean with our hard water. We had some a a few years back and a 1/4 cup did wonders to whites but it's hard to find these days. Someone should market 1/4 cup phosphate pods "fryer boiler additive" ... throw a "fryer boiler additive" pod in the laundry or dishwasher and you're back to clean clothes and dishes.

We're using Cascade Fryer Boil with phosphate in our dishwasher and it's working great despite our hard water. Would prefer something without chlorine though since it may be hard on dishwasher seals, trays, and parts. Cascade has dichloroisocyanurate dihydrate (bleach).

Thanks! I'm enjoying the forums and this site is a great resource.

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Post# 980771 , Reply# 1   1/31/2018 at 16:58 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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I've been using Boil Out (and the previous incarnation of it) for more than 7 years.

STPP for laundry for 9+ years.  Three times ordered from, last order from Dafna via eBay.

Post# 980784 , Reply# 2   1/31/2018 at 19:22 by dylanmitchell (San Diego, CA)        

Thanks DADoES!

Chemistry Store had and found Dafna on ebay and also Amazon.

This post was last edited 01/31/2018 at 20:02
Post# 980801 , Reply# 3   1/31/2018 at 22:36 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

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Is best when you can get it. When you can't, TSP is just as good, but you need more. TSP is available from The Home Depot.

Post# 980810 , Reply# 4   2/1/2018 at 01:10 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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I'd rather not have the precipitate from TSP in my laundry.  YMMV.

Post# 980835 , Reply# 5   2/1/2018 at 08:49 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
I've never had trouble with TSP participate

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I know it's a constant concern whenever these threads come up, but I've never experienced it.

I also said, for laundry, STTP is 'better', though for greasy dishes in the dishwasher TSP has advantages.

Obviously, if you live in a hard-water area where TSP participate forms, don't use it. If your hard water doesn't form participates with TSP, then you've got a far more easily found source of a really good cleaner in TSP.

It's also worth mentioning one of those annoying, immutable rules of Mother Nature - unless your STTP is packed absolutely air and moisture tight and used in a short span of time, you are using a mixture of STTP/TSP, with an ever increasing rate of TSP. And, gosh - it's still cleaning!

This is one of those arguments we get in here every single time this topic comes up and it's nonsensical to deny the well established chemistry.

Now, yes - if in your area, participate forms, don't use TSP. Until you know that, and unless you have a ready source of FRESH STTP, better at least find out.

Post# 980854 , Reply# 6   2/1/2018 at 12:19 by dylanmitchell (San Diego, CA)        

Appreciate the tips, feedback, and chemistry discussion. A good reminder that what we're really discussing on these forums is chemistry and mechanical action. We talk a lot about mechanical action (washers, dishwashers, etc.) but chemistry (detergents, chemicals, and ratios and temperature of water) is just as important.

STTP degradation over time and with exposure to moisture is all the more reason we need "fryer boiler additive" which would be STTP in water-soluble film pods sold in airtight containers that we could add to the washer or dishwasher.

And never use STP.... one because it's for cars and two because BG 44K works better...

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Post# 980860 , Reply# 7   2/1/2018 at 12:54 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Lotsa acronyms flying around, LOL.

I have moderately hard well-water.  No mechanical softener, which is the point of adding the STPP.  I am aware of the storage requirements, and keep it in plastic containers that have secure snap-on lids.

Post# 981411 , Reply# 8   2/5/2018 at 17:15 by dylanmitchell (San Diego, CA)        

Phosphate does make a difference and you can feel water is more slippery Got some Sodium Tripolyphosphate that's labeled as a food additive and some from Dafna General Store that came with MSDS and product info. Pods are a topic for another forum but work great with the phosphate. I can put the phosphate in the water and it mixes in before the pods wrapping dissolves. Pods may be the more expensive way to do laundry but they work well for this and time-delayed loads where I can through them in the bottom of the tub.

How long will the Sodium Tripolyphosphate last if kept in an airtight container. I'm using airtight food storage containers.

Post# 981878 , Reply# 9   2/8/2018 at 08:30 by wft2800 (Leatherhead, Surrey)        

Phosphates are a bad idea all-round. They've been banned in detergents this side of the Atlantic for a very good reason.

If you need to get whites really clean, you need a good powder detergent with oxygen bleach, loads of heat (preferably 190+ Fahrenheit), and time. An unheated old-school top-loader isn't going to cut it.

Post# 981895 , Reply# 10   2/8/2018 at 11:08 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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TSP is as close as your cereal isle in your local grocer.....

Post# 981925 , Reply# 11   2/8/2018 at 14:06 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Sttp and tsp

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When processed through an appropriate sewage treatment facillity are problem for the environment.

Post# 981958 , Reply# 12   2/8/2018 at 19:33 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Anyone who has studied Human Physiology

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Such as healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc...) among some others can tell you phosphates are a necessary part of human biology. Human being excrete phosphates naturally. This is piled on by the various amounts consumed as food additives.

Thus all sewage treatment plants must to some extent cope with removal of phosphates.

Grass is always greener over a septic tank for a good reason; it means nutrients from household/human waste are rising up high enough to feed plant life.


While many of us here are in love with STPP, have vintage laundry manuals (commercial/industrial and domestic) going back to middle or early part of last century giving TSP as a builder for laundry. This was using soaps as "detergent" for wash day.

Main differences between STPP and TSP is that the latter is a precipitating water softener, and is more alkaline than former. However TSP is cheaper than STPP on balance which might have been another factor in choice.

As for the necessity of phosphates with modern TOL detergents, yes, I'll give you that; it really isn't needed as powders like Persil (German), Ariel (European) and other top shelf products seem to have pretty much nailed things down.

Now we can have debates until the cows come home regarding how "clean" or "bright" laundry done in a phosphate versus not detergent; but am willing to bet given controlled situations and adjusting for soil levels and so forth, modern TOL non-phosphate detergents give equal results.

Main issue of debate is that no single chemical or substance to date replaces the properties of phosphates. Thus from a "green" point of view a detergent built with phosphates likely will likely have a simpler formula versus something else.

Post# 981964 , Reply# 13   2/8/2018 at 20:38 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Thank you, Laundress

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While I love STTP when I can get it, the nonsense some people here spew about TSP is just plain wrong. Especially when one considers what happens when hot water and STTP come together.....

Post# 981974 , Reply# 14   2/9/2018 at 00:02 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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For a change, I bought some sodium hexametaphosphate from the Chemistry Store. This is (I think) the original Calgon. It's much more expensive than the STPP, and not really worth it, but it's made in America rather than China so that's something.

It's reputedly very hygroscopic, and presumably for this reason, the Chemistry Store packages it in a plastic tub with a rubber seal. I've had it for several months and it hasn't solidified...yet. ;)

I've stopped using it with really good detergents like the Persil Perls. As Launderess says, it doesn't seem necessary with them.

Post# 981983 , Reply# 15   2/9/2018 at 01:18 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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STPP that I've bought from Chemistry Store also arrived in plastic tubs with rubber seals on the lids.

Post# 981987 , Reply# 16   2/9/2018 at 02:22 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Original Calgon formula

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At some point became a blend (or was invented as) sodium hexametaphosphate and STPP to cover all bases when it came to water softening.

For giggles:

Post# 981988 , Reply# 17   2/9/2018 at 02:28 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
And now

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For those of us who have studied marketing and or taken a class in statistics.....

Notice that advert only claims that in *hardest water* Calgon gets laundry "up to 30% cleaner...." Well what if one does not have hard water? Suppose like we do in New York the stuff is rather soft. Well that would put a completely different complexion on things wouldn't it? But the makers of Calgon weren't letting that cat out of bag. The clever chops at advert agency were paid to make Her Indoors believe she needed Calgon...

Post# 982001 , Reply# 18   2/9/2018 at 08:15 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
I find it absolutely fascinating

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That we are willing to tolerate these periods of poor quality while manufacturers use us as beta testers.

Remember how awful the American motors' performance was back during the shift to cleaner running cars? It took them ages to figure things out.

Ditto automatic dishwasher detergent. Laundry detergent is improving, but the triple handicap of too cold water, horrifically bad mechanical action in the HE washers and formulas without phosphates left us with a very long period of dirty clothes and too strongly scented laundry (to cover the stink) in the US.


I'll stick with my STPP and TSP and let the hysterical gehobene Zeigefinger wave in the wind. 


And, yes - Calgon did a brilliant job of marketing. Then again, folks in New York City buy bottled water like mad and they have the best tasting tap water on the planet earth.

Post# 982043 , Reply# 19   2/9/2018 at 15:03 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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"STPP that I've bought from Chemistry Store also arrived in plastic tubs with rubber seals on the lids."

Odd, the ones I've bought didn't have them. Thought they were doing something special for SHMP.

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