Chanteclair degreaser and Marseille soap


Renowned multipurpose degreaser for domestic use, the universal Chanteclair made its way into the market thanks to an intensive advertising campaign that sponsored it as a Marseille soap-based degreaser.

Marseille soap, in the collective culture, is synonymous with naturalness, cleanliness, fragrance and quality.

Unfortunately, a more in-depth analysis can easily verify (both on the label and in the safety data sheet) that there is no trace of soap; the product only imitates its fragrance and its foaming and milky appearance. The label bears the words "Perfume of Marseille", confirming that it is purely psychological marketing.

Let's see in detail the ingredients shown in the safety data sheet and on the label:

  • Alcohol, C9-11, ethoxylated (CAS 160875-66-1): 1-3% - non-ionic surfactant
  • Isopropanolamine (CAS 78-96-6): 1-3% - buffer, solubilizer of oils and fats (harmful)
  • Tetrapotassium Pyrophosphate (CAS 7320-34-5): 1-3% - emulsifying, sequestering
  • Quaternized C12-14 ethoxylated amine (CAS 1554325-20-0): 1-3% - amphoteric surfactant
  • Perfume, geraniol, lemongrass, limonene, benzyl alcohol.

The pH is around 11.

This finding does not want to demonstrate a poor effectiveness of the product, but just wants to clarify that common idea that massive advertising has led the public to believe, justifying higher costs than other traditional degreasers. Real Marseille soap has a rightly higher cost as it is made with natural raw materials and processes, while Chanteclair (and other sub-brands) use cheap industrial raw materials that are hardly tolerated by the skin.

The real Marseille soap is produced using only extra virgin olive oil (72%) and soda (once obtained from the ashes of glasswort), without the use of scented additives; the final appearance of the soap can vary from greyish to olive green. Even in this case, on the market there are soaps declared from Marseille that actually contain mixtures of different cheaper oils. Only the component Olea Europaea Fruit Oil or Potassium (or Sodium) Olivate should appear on the label (in addition to water and soda/potash).

To produce a household detergent or liquid soap using Marseille soap (or similar soaps) it is necessary to dissolve soap flakes in very hot water until completely mixed. The concentrations of soap to be used vary according to the final use. For a detergent a percentage of around 5% is sufficient in order to facilitate the spray application, for a liquid soap it is possible to increase the concentration up to 20% to obtain a typical and creamy consistency, attention that over time could thicken too much and for this is highly recommended to include at least 5% glycerin in the formula.

Optional fragrances and various additives, as regards the detergency it is possible to add bicarbonate (2-3%) to assist the degreasing and polishing strength. Never use acid additives, such as lemon juice or vinegar, as the different acidity would cause the soap to become out of phase with the water.

Marseille soap is effective for all household cleaning tasks, including washing hobs, car bodies and porous or heavily soiled surfaces. It has a natural sanitizing action and, used without exceeding it, can be used for personal hygiene of the whole body, as well as to clean the laundry.