How to add Detergent to Cement

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Things You'll Need

  • Cement

  • Crushed rock

  • Sand

  • Unscented liquid dish detergent

  • Shovel and wheelbarrow/concrete mixer

Liquid dish detergent can be added to cement to help strengthen and ensure the longevity of concrete. Dish detergent adds tiny air bubbles to your cement mixture. This is otherwise known as air entrainment. Once cured, the bubbles become tiny pockets of air in the concrete. These pockets allow the concrete to breathe thus preventing cracking as the concrete expands and contracts in fluctuating weather conditions. Liquid dish detergent also plasticizes the concrete, which makes it easier to work with for patching and troweling. Liquid dish detergent should not be added to ready-mix concrete, as it already contains an air entrainment agent.

Step 1

Mix your cement, crushed rock and sand with a shovel in a wheelbarrow or in a revolving concrete mixer. The traditional recipe for concrete is three parts crushed rock, two parts sand and one part cement, however dish detergent can be used for any concrete recipe. Mix it until all parts are evenly combined.

Step 2

Add liquid dish detergent before adding water. Use three cups of detergent for a 47-pound bag of cement or six cups of detergent for a 94-pound bag of cement.

Step 3

Begin adding water while stirring the concrete. Stir the concrete with a shovel by using folding motions. Add water bit by bit, until you achieve a thick, soupy consistency. Keep mixing while adding water to ensure that the detergent is activated and uniformly incorporated into the concrete.


Mason Howard

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.