Murphy Oil Soap

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Murphy Oil Soap is a cleaning product marketed by Colgate-Palmolive.[1] In 1910, Jeremiah Murphy, director of the Phoenix Oil Company, bought the formula for Murphy Oil Soap from a recent immigrant from Germany. The soap, with its potassium vegetable oil base, and no phosphates proved to be very popular in Ohio. The company continued to be run by the Murphy family for 80 years, when they sold to Colgate.[2] It is available in a concentrated liquid form which is then mixed with water, as well as pre-diluted form which comes in a trigger spray bottle. Commercials for the product state that the product is ideal for cleaning wood surfaces.

The other constituents of Murphy Oil Soap are sodium EDTA, propylene glycol, fragrance, surfactants, and water.[3]


Murphy Oil Soap is commonly used to clean and polish horse tack, such as bridles and saddles. It is also commonly used to clean black-powder weapons after use, since the lack of petroleum-based oil and the presence of vegetable oil lessens the amount of sludge that is created when cleaning black powder residues from weapons. It has also been found to efficiently remove the black powder residue that builds up on automobile wheels and hubcaps from the disc brakes. Murphy Oil Soap is also an excellent lubricant to use with water when throwing clay on a potter's wheel[citation needed]. It has also been found to quickly and easily dissolve water-based inks, such as Crayola marker ink, from acid-free paper.[4] Murphy Oil Soap is also a favourite among artists as a brush cleaner. After removing excess oil paint from the brush with a rag and cleaning with a mineral spirit, the brush can be cleaned with a small amount of dilute soap.[5] Diluted Murphy Oil Soap (2-4%) is often used by home gardeners as an insecticidal soap spray.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History". Colgate-Palmolive. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Murphy Phoenix Company". Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Cleveland OH: Case Western Reserve University. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  3. ^ THE MURPHY-PHOENIX -- MURPHY OIL SOAP LIQUID MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET as published by OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES Archived 2008-11-08 at the Wayback Machine. FSC: 9160. NIIN: 00B130042. Manufacturer's CAGE: 5R288. MSDS Serial Number: BKLST
  4. ^ Based on testing conducted at the home of an artist, who used the method to create a hybrid drawing/painting technique used here:
  5. ^ "Brush Cleaning – A Brush Makers Top Tips". Retrieved 2017-05-16.