Decoction Comparison: Soapnut vs Soaproot
So, we've made 2 lovely soapy decoctions. Before we start testing them for different uses, let's adjourn to the lab and have a look at how these 2 natural surfactants behave in a side-by-side comparison test!
Batch YieldThe soapnut liquid gave a slightly higher yield than soaproot - this was (probably) due to a combination of me lifting the lid while making the soaproot decoction (yield loss) and the squeezing of the soapnut bags (yield gain).
All in all there was approximately 20ml more soapnut liquid than soaproot liquid.
Color and Viscosity Check
Soaproot liquid has a color similar to weak tea and a thinnish, water-like viscosity. Even though it is watery, the liquid is quick to create small bubbles when agitated (just pouring up the liquid created these suds).
Soapnut liquid is slightly darker than soaproot (the color difference is most visible in the top picture). Viscosity-wise, soapnut liquid is noticeably thicker. I would describe it as a runny gel (which thickens somewhat after time). Soapnut suds seem more 'soap-like' with larger bubbles than soaproot.
Foam TestAlthough the 2 foam bottles look different in the pic above, they are both from the same supplier (and delivery!), so we're going to assume the function is identical.
100 ml of liquid was placed in a foam bottle. The foam bottles were not agitated prior to pumping 5 pumps of each into a small container.
Below: the 2 foams immediately after being pumped. The soaproot foam is very quick to dissipate while the soapnut foam looks quite stable.
Below, after 5 minutes.
It's pretty clear that soapnut wins the foam test - there is still body to this foam while the soaproot foam has all but disappeared.
As For the NoseI'll be honest. There's not much in the way of nose candy from either of these surfactants. While soapnut liquid smells quite pungent and reminds me of 'old wine vinegar', soaproot has a milder, more neutral, earthy/woodsy scent. Neither bring thoughts of soap and cleanliness to mind.
As foam, the scent (luckily) softens some.
The foam test was repeated, then – as an afterthought – I shook both bottles vigorously and tested a third time. The results weren't noticeably different.
Now, With Agitation
Next upNext time we revisit these 2 surfactants it will be to see how they function - both for skin and hair.
Make it!Make your own SoapRoot Decoction
Make your own SoapNut Decoction