By: Dr. Madhu Sharan and Dr. B.N. Chaulker


Aritha and shitakes which posses cleaning property and has been used since antiquity for washing hairs and ornaments can be used as laundering agent when combined with detergent.

The constant progress in laundry detergents in the last few decades has significantly improved their profile from the environment point of view. In the assessment of a detergent ecological compatibility has become a dominant factor. Thus a great value should be attached to chemicals known to be harmless to humans following any realistic type of exposure even at the earliest stage of raw material selection.

For detergent, the processes right down the supply chain from the manufacturing phase to the application phase are potentially threatening to the environment in different ways.

Nowadays several manufacturers are using aritha and shikakai in shampoos and hair oil. But scientific aspects about the proportion and individual effects, and the cumulative effects have not been reported in spite of their environment utility. If these are to be used as substitute for the synthetic detergents, then it can be a boon to consumers as well as for ecology.

As these are used for cleaning these should work on fabric also. As the natural products are biodegradable they will prove to be eco-friendly and subsequently will not effect the environment as effluent also. Thus detergency actions of shikakai have been known since long but their scientific exploration is still to be done.

The concept here is to study the existing knowledge base for the environment in manner that enables a manufacturer in selecting substances that are less harmful to consumers and environment.

Material and Method

The experimental work consisted of three parts:

  1. preparation of samples for laundering
  2. extraction of the content from aritha and shikakai
  3. laundering of soiled samples

Five commercially available fabrics (cotton, wool, cotswool, polyester and polyester) with specifications given in table 1 were used.

All the fabrics were scoured maintaining M:L ratio 1 :30.

Cotton fabric was scoured at BODC to B5C for 45minutes using 5g/l soap and 5g/1 soda ash. The wool and cotton fabrics were scoured at 50C to 60C for 30 min using 2.5 g/I soap and 2.5 g/I soda ash. The polyester cotton and cotswool fabrics were scoured at 60oC to 800C for 30 min using 2.5 g/I soap and 2.5 g/l soda ash.

After scouring, fabrics were rinsed thoroughly in water and air dried.