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Some Facts You Have to Know about Detergents

Oct. 08, 2021

Detergents and soaps are used for cleaning because pure water cannot remove oily organic dirt. Basically, soap allows the oil and water to mix in order to remove the oil during the rinsing process.

During the First World War, synthetic detergents were developed in Germany. An alkyl sulphate surfactant was formulated as a result of the shortage of soap making ingredients due to the Allied blockade in Germany. Detergents are primarily surfactants and can be easily produced from petrochemicals. Surfactants reduce the surface tension of water, essentially making it "wetter" and thus less likely to stick to itself and more likely to interact with oils and greases.

Both dishwashing detergents and laundry detergents contain many other compounds, often including enzymes, bleach, fragrances, dyes, fillers and fluorescent brighteners. Additives are necessary because detergents have difficulty removing dyes, pigments, resins and denatured proteins. Follow SANCOLO to read more about this.

Definition of detergents

Detergents are a class of surfactants that have cleaning properties when diluted in water.

Most detergents are alkyl benzene sulfonates.

Detergents are classified as anionic, cationic or non-ionic depending on the charge they carry.

Although detergents are used for cleaning, they can also be used as fuel additives and biological reagents.



Additional ingredients

Modern detergents contain more than just surfactants. Cleaning products may also contain enzymes to degrade protein-based stains, bleaching agents to remove stains and increase the effectiveness of the detergent, and blue dyes to prevent yellowing.

Like soaps, detergents have hydrophobic or water-repellent molecular chains and hydrophilic or hydrophilic components. Hydrophobic hydrocarbons are repelled by water, but are attracted to oils and greases. The hydrophilic end of the same molecule means that one end of the molecule is attracted to water, while the other end is bound to oil.

Principle of operation

Until some mechanical energy or agitation is added to the equation, neither detergent nor soap can accomplish anything but bind to the soil. Shaking around with soapy water allows the soap or detergent to suck the dirt away from the clothes or plates and into the larger rinse sink. Rinsing will wash away detergent and dirt.

Warm or hot water will melt the grease, making it easier for the soap or detergent to dissolve the dirt and pull it into the rinse water. Detergents are similar to soap, but they are less likely to form a film and are not affected by the minerals in the water.

Modern detergents

Modern detergents can be made from petrochemicals or oleochemicals of vegetable and animal origin. Alkalis and oxidisers are also chemicals found in detergents. The following are the functions of these molecules.

Petrochemicals/grease chemicals: these fats and oils are hydrocarbon chains that are attracted to oily and greasy dirt.

Oxidising agents: sulphur trioxide, ethylene oxide and sulphuric acid are among the molecules used to produce the hydrophilic components of surfactants. Oxidising agents provide the energy for chemical reactions.

Bases: Sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide are used in detergents, even though they are used in soap making. They provide positively charged ions to facilitate chemical reactions.

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We are a famous manufacturer of CDBS (calcium dodecylbenzene sulfonate), anhydrous calcium salts, non-ionic surfactants, pesticide emulsifiers, polycarboxylic acid cement water reducing agents and other monomers in China. Please contact us to get reliable cooperation.

We have a production plant with an annual capacity of 5,000 tons of CDBS (hydrated/anhydrous calcium salt); 5,000 tons of non-ionic surfactants; and 10,000 tons of polycarboxylic acid cement water reducing agent. 

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