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A guide into dilution ratios

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Many products are sold as “concentrates”, this means that you need to dilute them yourself before use. However, the explanation of the dilution is often very short because there is limited space on the label. This guide will help you with a simple chart and also an easy way for you to calculate the dilution ratio. We’ll also include a few easy tips.

Why the need for a dilution ratio?

When manufacturers make products, they often decide to make a concentrated version. This is cheaper to make (because there is much less need for a carrier), cheaper to bottle (effectively more product in a smaller bottle) and more customer-friendly seeing as some liquid go really fast (QD for example). A manufacturer can also decide to make bigger and/or concentrated versions for professional detailers that go through a lot of product in a week. This means less space on the shelves with more product to use.

How to read the dilution ratio

A dilution ratio is usually written as [amount of carrier]:[amount of product]. So in the case of 25:1, this means [25 parts of a carrier]:[1 part of the product].
Parts = the measuring unit. For example: liter, milliliters, kilogram etc.
Carrier = the thing to dilute with. In most cases this will be water.
Product = the product that has the dilution ratio written on the label

If a bottle of shampoo says 25:1, and you are working with liters of water, that would mean [25 liters of water]:[1 liter of shampoo].
Most buckets are only 10 liters, so that would mean we would have to divide both number by 2.5. This equates to: [10 liters of water]:[0.4 liter of shampoo].

Note, there are some countries where they write the dilution ratio the other way around. They would not write 25:1, but 1:25. If you are using a product from a foreign country, check first how they write dilution ratios.

Calculate the dilution ratio

There is an easy way to calculate the amount you need to add.

[total amount of product] / ([Amount of product] + [ratio number])

Total amount of product = the amount of product you wanna end up with.
Amount of product = is the first number in the dilution ratio. In the case of 25:1 this means 25.
Ratio number = the second number. In the case of 25:1 this means 1.

Lets say the bottle says: 25:1 as a dilution ratio, and you wanna end up with 10 liters of product, it would be:

10 / (25+1) =
10 / 26 =
0.38

This means you need 0.38 liters of the product, and fill the rest up with water (until you have a total of 10 liter) to have a dilution ratio of 25:1.

The dilution ratio chart

Click the chart to go to the full size version, either save it on your phone or add the link to your favorites.

Dilution Ratio Chart
Dilution Ratio Chart

For those who prefer text as well:

Liters       0,1 0,25 0,5 0,75 1 1,5 2 2,5 5 7,5 10 12,5 15    
  1 : 1 0,050 0,125 0,250 0,375 0,500 0,750 1,000 1,250 2,500 3,750 5,000 6,250 7,500    
  2 : 1 0,033 0,083 0,167 0,250 0,333 0,500 0,667 0,833 1,667 2,500 3,333 4,167 5,000    
  5 : 1 0,017 0,042 0,083 0,125 0,167 0,250 0,333 0,417 0,833 1,250 1,667 2,083 2,500    
  10 : 1 0,009 0,023 0,045 0,068 0,091 0,136 0,182 0,227 0,455 0,682 0,909 1,136 1,364    
  15 : 1 0,006 0,016 0,031 0,047 0,063 0,094 0,125 0,156 0,313 0,469 0,625 0,781 0,938    
Dilution ratio 20 : 1 0,005 0,012 0,024 0,036 0,048 0,071 0,095 0,119 0,238 0,357 0,476 0,595 0,714   Units in
  25 : 1 0,004 0,010 0,019 0,029 0,038 0,058 0,077 0,096 0,192 0,288 0,385 0,481 0,577   liters
  30 : 1 0,003 0,008 0,016 0,024 0,032 0,048 0,065 0,081 0,161 0,242 0,323 0,403 0,484    
  40 : 1 0,002 0,006 0,012 0,018 0,024 0,037 0,049 0,061 0,122 0,183 0,244 0,305 0,366    
  50 : 1 0,002 0,005 0,010 0,015 0,020 0,029 0,039 0,049 0,098 0,147 0,196 0,245 0,294    
  75 : 1 0,001 0,003 0,007 0,010 0,013 0,020 0,026 0,033 0,066 0,099 0,132 0,164 0,197    
  100 : 1 0,001 0,002 0,005 0,007 0,010 0,015 0,020 0,025 0,050 0,074 0,099 0,124 0,149    
  150 : 1 0,001 0,002 0,003 0,005 0,007 0,010 0,013 0,017 0,033 0,050 0,066 0,083 0,099    
  200 : 1 TSTM 0,001 0,002 0,004 0,005 0,007 0,010 0,012 0,025 0,037 0,050 0,062 0,075    
  250 : 1 TSTM 0,001 0,002 0,003 0,004 0,006 0,008 0,010 0,020 0,030 0,040 0,050 0,060    
  500 : 1 TSTM TSTM 0,001 0,001 0,002 0,003 0,004 0,005 0,010 0,015 0,020 0,025 0,030    
  750 : 1 TSTM TSTM 0,001 0,001 0,001 0,002 0,003 0,003 0,007 0,010 0,013 0,017 0,020    
  1000 : 1 TSTM TSTM TSTM 0,001 0,001 0,001 0,002 0,002 0,005 0,007 0,010 0,012 0,015    
  1500 : 1 TSTM TSTM TSTM TSTM 0,001 0,001 0,001 0,002 0,003 0,005 0,007 0,008 0,010    
  2000 : 1 TSTM TSTM TSTM TSTM TSTM 0,001 0,001 0,001 0,002 0,004 0,005 0,006 0,007    
  2500 : 1 TSTM TSTM TSTM TSTM TSTM 0,001 0,001 0,001 0,002 0,003 0,004 0,005 0,006    

Some general tips

The plastic cup trick

If you have certain products you need to dilute very often you can do the “plastic cup” trick.
Only thing you need is:

  • A plastic cup
  • A marker (like an Edding)
  • A measuring tool
  • A piece of string
  • Something to make a hole with

The steps:

  1. Calculate how much you need of the product to fill your bottle/tank/bucket (or use the chart)
  2. Pour the right amount in the measuring tool
  3. Pour this in the plastic cup
  4. Use the marker to draw a line where the top of the product is
  5. Empty the plastic cup
  6. On the very top, make a hole
  7. Pull the string through the hole
  8. Hang the cup by the string on the bottle/tank with the product

You’ll never have to search for the right amount again. Just fill the cup to the line and pour the cup in the bottle/bucket/tank or whatever you are using.

Never get waterspots trick

It can sometimes be a bit hard to use certain products without any risk. If you use a QD in the summer, it will dry up before you are ready enough to wash the car again. This will mean you risk getting water spots. This can easily be avoided by using demineralized water. This can also be called: purified water, demi water, deionized water, filtered water, distilled water and osmosis water. Although they are not all exactly the same thing, they will offer you the same results.

Never having to search trick

Safe the above picture to your phone, or add it to your favorites. That way you never have to search for it again.

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