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Chemical analysis of Pledge Furniture Polish

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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 11:39 AM     #1
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Chemical analysis of Pledge Furniture Polish

I ran across this on another site and thought it might make for interesting reading for all those folks who make fun of old timers who have used Pledge on our cars and bikes for years. The man who wrote it claims to be a chemical engineer. For whatever it is worth, I don't use the Pledge brand anymore but substitute the cheap stuff found at the Dollar store, which costs $1.50 for a tall aerosol can. It works just as good and costs about a third of what the name brand Pledge costs.


Lets start out with the actual ingredients found in a spray can of Pledge.

Please note that the base formula will be different being dispensed from a spray can or pressurized aerosol vessel due to the fact that a "propellant" is needed to transfer the product from the container to a surface, in this case lets say a fender or a windshield. A trigger plastic spray container would not require this propellant additive.

For the purpose of this discussion, I will list the information relative to Pledge in the aerosol spray can as it appears to be the most common used by others on this forum.
The base ingredients are:

1. Naphtha, petroleum, light alkylate 5%-10% or (isoparaffinic hydrocarbon solvent)
2. Polydimethylsiloxanes (Silicon oil) 5%-10%
3. Water 70%-85%
4. Butane1% -5%
5. Isobutane1% - 5%
6. Propane1% - 5%

Now we can breakdown what these are and what they do.

The first ingredient is:

1-Naphta,petroleum,light alkylate.
This is a hydrocarbon solvent-based dispersant formulation which combines oil penetrability. In other words remember the label says "smear and smudge proof"? These are the ingredients that will break down and remove the smears, finger or dermal tissue oils. Criminals take note.. use this to eliminate finger prints. Just dont be a dumb (EDITED) and leave the can behind!!

Now, what is a hydrocarbon?
A general term for organic compounds which contain only carbon and hydrogen. They are divided into saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons, aliphatic (alkane or fatty) and aromatic (benzene) hydrocarbons. Crude
oil is essentially a complex mixture of hydrocarbons.

To break it down even further, I will now define an organic compound.

An organic compound is any member of a large class of chemical
compounds whose molecules contain carbon.
What is carbon you asked? I knew ya would!!

Carbon is a chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent (a state of an atom with four electrons making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds.)

A chemical element is a type of atom that is distinguished by its atomic number; that is, by the number of protons in its nucleus. The term is also used to refer to a pure chemical substance composed.

What does this all mean?? It is a pure chemical substance.
Why is it in there? Remember the finger print? It is a solvent that removes oily residues. This is the cleaning agent in the product.
Look at the can.."It dusts and cleans". this is what makes it clean/remove dirt,grease,oil,grime.

That was the more lenghty one. The remainder are relatively simple. If you are still reading at this point, thanks for bearing with me.Go grab another beer! I will summarize at the end and compare to other products on the market in terms of ingredients, costs and results.

The second noted ingredient is:


2-Polydimethylsiloxanes or Silicon oil 5%-10%.
This is silicone based oil. The molecular structure of this is such that friction is significantly reduced. This nifty additional ingredient is also the reason why the ..refer to label again.. NO WAX BUILD-UP!! Silicone will blend with it'self and not mix or layer with other chemicals.
It does however have the ability to piss bike painters off due to the fact that it needs to be completely removed proir to coating with paint. If not...start all over again. It makes surfaces slick so that nothing sticks. It also provides the shine to the surface.
This chemical is also present in 95% of products us bikers use on our scoots such as Armor All, Meguires Wax and STP Son of a Gun just to mentiion a few so if you are worried about using Pledge in the past on your bike, you may alraedy have and just did not know it.
This silicone oil is also an ingredient in Right Guard deodorant, baby powder,Desitin, Gillette Dry and several moisturizers and creams. This is why Pledge does not contain wax, they use this instead.
Makes me want to try it with the goa....wife!
To the guy that posted about the fella steping on his fender and sliding off...about to 5 drops of this in a drink will cause lets just say possible incontenence" which will then require the need for additional Desitin with the same ingredient to help that diaper rash from the copiuos ammounts of passing solids!!! Great stuff ain it?

The third ingredient:

3-Water. This acts as a dilutor. Kind of like "filler" in cheap dog food but in liquid form.
Cant use the product undiluted.

The remaining butane, isobutane and propane are the propellants that assist in expelling or propelling the liquid product from the can. The methane is building under pressure and the propane, butane provides the ignition source. Kinda like putting your tounge on a 9v battery. You know you are gonna do it eventually when no one is looking. Try chewing aluminum foil!! Nah...dont do that either.

Other ingredients such as aromatic compound like orange, lemon or any other organic scent additive can also be incorporated.

Now with this little snippet of knowledge, how does one apply it to everyday living.
If Martha Stewart says that a prison panty liner work just as well as a microfibre cloth stop reading. If not..please bear with me for I am almost done.
Several products out there are costly for several reasons. 1 because of proprietary ingredients/raw materials, 2 advertising costs, supply and demand and product to market costs. What will the market bear? I have always compared ingredient when shopping. Silicone oil is silicone oil, Pepto Bismal, for the guy trying to stand on the fender coated with silicone oil is pink Bismuth...same thing!
Pink bismuth is MUCH cheaper.

I heard of a product called Plexus. A great cleaner and conditioner for Lexan. At $15.95 for a 13oz can versus an 18oz $4.99? can of Pledge? I have not bought or used Pledge and do not know the actual cost I am sure it is not even close to this other product.

In summary:

* Will not damage finish
* Will provide a nice shine
* Will not build up or layer
* Safe on windshield. No alcohol or amonia
* Safe on chrome
* Also has some (although not real good) anti corrosion properties. I use Boeshield T-9 for this application.

One precaution!! Flammable! Do not use around open flames or on hot pipes or other hot components. Do not get on or use on denim ar matted finishes!!

I would also highly recommend that a wet or water wash, or a soft wetted cloth, (I use warm clothes because the heat helps soften bug guts better than cold) be done or used first to remove surface debris and particulate from the soon to be applied to surface, fenders, gas tanks,side panels. This will reduce potential scratching of your paint.

Well, I hoped this helps. Like I said, I have never used "Pledge". But I have applied the same ingredients in Pledge (just under a different name...Maguires Wax) on my bikes not knowing it, and they have all looked great!

No get off the computer and spray your bike with Pledge!, or go riding...

Please read what you post.

Please read...
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 11:52 AM     #2
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Re: Chemical analysis of Pledge Furniture Polish

Great information, thanks. After reading the posts on the Pledge thread I suspected that it was similar to many higher priced "automotive" specialty products. I just ordered a Clearview windshield for the Road Glide and noticed that in the care section, at the end they listed Pledge as one of the recommended products to use.

Picked up 3 17.7 oz cans at Sam's yesterday for $10.88, one for the bike, one for the garage and one for the house.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 01:27 PM     #3
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Re: Chemical analysis of Pledge Furniture Polish

I took the Pledge recently having read about it on this forum and it really does the business. Shiney clean scoot. Cheap as chips as well.
Nice to read an authoratative piece which shows that Pledge has the same general active agents as the more expensive alternatives.
Thanks for an interesting post.
Glider will be very pleased.

Last edited by cedarbrook63; Mar 22nd, 2009 at 01:28 PM. Reason: omission
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 01:50 PM     #4
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Re: Chemical analysis of Pledge Furniture Polish

Well,I read about it,tryed it,and now I'm a convert.Pledge does the bizz,every bit as good and even better than your high priced fancy labeled stuff.Pledge rocks!!!!!!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 01:59 PM     #5
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Re: Chemical analysis of Pledge Furniture Polish

And....It's lemon fresh!!!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 03:00 PM     #6
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Re: Chemical analysis of Pledge Furniture Polish

There goes my pledge stock through the roof!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 03:30 PM     #7
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Re: Chemical analysis of Pledge Furniture Polish

I used pledge on my old Kaw's windshield 10 years ago to get rid of [fill in] the fog like and fine scratches it had. After just a few times the clairity came back, and becouse of the over spray I found the tank was shining more, I have to admit that I fell off the wagon when I bought my 03 RKC and went to other products. Silicone baced wax brings back fadded paint fast and easy. If any doubts, find an old faded fender and spray pledge on it, you will be surprised.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 09:32 PM     #8
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Re: Chemical analysis of Pledge Furniture Polish

Being single, dusting is not on my list of priorties, at least not with pledge.... But I did find some under the sink, that the ex must have left behind! I was very impressed! Problem is I didn't have enough in the can to finish... So first thing tomorrow I'm heading to pick some up. The front fender and tank look awesome though! I'm darn near converted!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 09:39 PM     #9
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Re: Chemical analysis of Pledge Furniture Polish

Quote: Originally Posted by walt5162 View Post
I'm darn near converted!
Come back when you're a full convert!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 09:53 PM     #10
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Re: Chemical analysis of Pledge Furniture Polish

Retrop, that was one of the longest post I've read...eh...within the last few hours anyway, rivalling RichardS. Good post, no matter what witches' brew is in the mix, it works...kind of surprised about petroleum distillates, could cause problem with some plastic and rubber products...so use sparingly and wipe it off, soon after application.
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