Sugar soap is not sugar at all. There is no sugar in the list of ingredients of sugar soap. Sugar soap gets its name because when you mix all the ingredients together, the combination looks very similar to common table sugar. People use mildly abrasive sugar soap for different types of cleaning, but mainly for preparing a wall for a new coat of paint. Remember, keep this sweet-looking cleaner safely out of reach of children and pets.
Sodium carbonate is the first ingredient in a compound called trisodium phosphate, or more commonly TSP. Sodium carbonate easily dissolves in water, making it a good choice for a cleaning solution. This powder is white and has no scent. This alkaline compound will absorb moisture, so if you do use it for cleaning, make sure to keep it in a tightly sealed container. The principle way of getting sodium bicarbonate used to be through burning seaweed for the ashes, but now miners retrieve it from mines in the northern United States.
Sodium salts is the generic name for sodium phosphate. Sodium phosphate is the second ingredient in the TSP formula. One use for sodium phosphate is cleaning out the colon. This is what patients take before a colonoscopy exam. People also use sodium phosphate as a tenderizer for cooking meats. Sodium phosphate not only cleans out the colon and acts as a tenderizer for meat, but also acts as a cleaning ingredient when you mix it with sodium carbonate and sodium silicate.
Another name for sodium silicate is water glass or liquid glass. Sodium silicate is the abrasive compound in sugar soap. This mild abrasive scrubs away some stains and hard-to-remove dirt. It comes in a liquid or a solid form. Use the powder form when making TSP, and add water to the complete three-part solution to make a strong cleaner for using in your for tougher projects, such as cleaning the walls before painting or cleaning a tub or sink before refinishing with an epoxy paint solution. Other uses for sodium silicate include cement making, lumber processing and in automobile manufacturing.
References and ResourcesSelleys: Safety Data Sheet
Encyclopedia: Sodium Carbonate
Pub Med Health: Sodium Phosphate