Unveiling the Science Behind Liquid Laundry Detergents: Ingredients, Functions, and Formulation

Automatic enclosed liquid detergent production line

Laundry detergent is a daily essential, but do you know what goes into making it? Join us as we unveil the science behind liquid laundry detergents. From SLES to LABSA, AEO-9, CDEA, and EDTA, we'll uncover the roles and amounts of key ingredients that ensure your clothes stay fresh and clean. Whether you're using standard or high-efficiency formulas, your laundry detergent's effectiveness is backed by years of scientific research and formulation expertise.

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Laundry detergent is an indispensable part of our daily lives, helping us maintain clean and fresh clothes. However, what goes into making this essential cleaning agent? In this article, we’ll explore the intricate science behind liquid laundry detergents, from the ingredients that play crucial roles to the precise order of their addition during manufacturing.

The Role and Amount of SLES in Laundry Detergent

Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate sample

Role of SLES in Laundry Detergent:

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is the unsung hero in liquid laundry detergents. As a surfactant, SLES is tasked with reducing the surface tension of liquids, making them easier to mix. But its importance doesn’t stop there:

  • Cleaning Power: SLES acts as a surfactant, wetting surfaces, emulsifying oils, and suspending soil, ensuring effective cleaning and stain removal.
  • Foaming Agent: It contributes to the foaming properties of the detergent, essential for thorough cleaning.
  • Versatility: SLES enhances the overall performance of the detergent, making it more effective at removing dirt, stains, and grime.

Amount of SLES in Laundry Detergent:

SLES typically makes up 25-28% of the detergent’s composition, though the exact percentage may vary among different brands and products. This surfactant is the cornerstone of laundry detergents, boosting their cleaning power.

The Role and Amount of LABSA in Laundry Detergent

Role of LABSA in Laundry Detergent:

Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonic Acid (LABSA) plays an indispensable role, especially in powder detergents. Its functions are multi-faceted:

  • Cleaning Power: LABSA takes center stage as the primary surfactant, responsible for the detergent’s cleaning effectiveness. It breaks down and removes dirt, stains, and oils from clothing with precision.
  • Foaming Properties: LABSA contributes to controlled foam, lifting and suspending dirt during the wash.
  • Emulsification: It aids in breaking down and dispersing oily stains effectively.

Amount of LABSA in Laundry Detergent:

The concentration of LABSA in detergent powder typically ranges from 5% to 28%, with manufacturers carefully calibrating it to achieve the desired cleaning and foaming properties.

The Role and Amount of AEO-9 in Liquid Detergent

Fatty Alcohol-Polyoxyethylene Ether (AEO-9) sample

Role of AEO-9 in Liquid Detergent:

Fatty Alcohol Polyoxyethylene Ether-9 (AEO-9) is a nonionic surfactant that brings a unique set of capabilities to liquid detergents:

  • Emulsification: AEO-9 excels at breaking down and dispersing oily stains and soils during the washing process, ensuring they don’t stand a chance.
  • Foaming Agent: While excessive foam isn’t always desirable, controlled foaming with AEO-9 helps lift and suspend dirt and grime.
  • Decontamination: AEO-9 is a key player in the decontamination process by enhancing the detergent’s ability to dislodge and remove various types of dirt and stains from fabrics.
  • Biodegradability: AEO-9’s high biodegradability makes it an eco-friendly ingredient in detergent formulations.
  • Solubility: AEO-9 exhibits good solubility, ensuring it can be effectively dispersed in the liquid detergent.

Amount of AEO-9 in Liquid Detergent:

AEO-9 is usually found in concentrations ranging from 1% to 2% by weight in liquid detergents. The specific amount may vary depending on the manufacturer’s goals for cleaning and foaming performance.

The Role and Amount of CDEA in Liquid Detergent

Coconut Diethanolamide (CDEA)

Role of CDEA in Liquid Detergent:

Cocamide Diethanolamine (CDEA) is a key player in liquid detergents, contributing its unique attributes to the formula:

  • Foaming Agent: CDEA is renowned for its foaming properties. When added to liquid detergents, it enhances the foaming capacity of the product. This is particularly valuable in products like shampoos and liquid soaps, where rich lathering is desired.
  • Viscosity Enhancer: CDEA increases the viscosity of liquid detergents, contributing to their texture and stability. This property enhances the user experience, making the product feel more substantial and easier to apply.
  • Cleaning Power: CDEA also contributes to the cleaning power of liquid detergents, particularly for removing greasy and oily dirt. It aids in breaking down and emulsifying oils and dirt for effective cleaning.
  • Dermatological Effect: In personal care products like shampoos and liquid soaps, CDEA can provide a soothing and moisturizing effect on the skin.

Amount of CDEA in Liquid Detergent:

Liquid detergents typically contain 2% to 4% CDEA by weight. This ingredient enhances foaming and cleaning performance, particularly in high-foaming products like shampoos and body washes.

The Role and Amount of EDTA in Liquid Detergent

Role of EDTA in Liquid Detergent:

Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid (EDTA) is a significant component in the formulation of liquid detergents, contributing its unique properties:

  • Water Softening: EDTA acts as a chelating agent, binding to metal ions like calcium and magnesium in hard water. This softens the water, allowing the primary surfactants to work more effectively and preventing mineral deposits on fabrics.
  • Stain Removal: By sequestering metal ions, EDTA prevents them from binding to stains or fabrics, making it easier for the detergent to break down and remove stains.
  • Preservative: EDTA can also act as a preservative in liquid detergents, extending the product’s shelf life by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and maintaining stability.

Amount of EDTA in Liquid Detergent:

The concentration of EDTA in liquid detergents can vary depending on the specific formulation and product requirements. In general, EDTA is used in relatively small percentages compared to primary surfactants. The amount of EDTA is carefully adjusted to achieve the desired water softening and stain removal effects without overloading the product with unnecessary chelating agents.

It is common for the concentration of EDTA in household laundry detergents to range from 0.5% to 5% by weight. However, the exact percentage may vary between different brands and formulations. Manufacturers carefully consider the balance of ingredients to optimize the detergent’s performance, especially in regions with hard water.

The Role and Amount of Sodium Chloride in Liquid Detergent:

Role of Sodium Chloride in Liquid Detergent:

Sodium chloride, or table salt (NaCl), plays a specific role in liquid detergent formulations:

  • Viscosity and Thickness: It increases the detergent’s viscosity and thickness for user convenience.
  • Enhanced Detergent Texture: Sodium chloride provides a balanced texture to the detergent. It contributes to the solid consistency of the liquid detergent, ensuring it’s neither too thick nor too thin. This balance is crucial for user convenience and product stability.
  • Stabilizing Surfactants: Sodium chloride helps stabilize the surfactants in the detergent, ensuring that they maintain their performance over time. Surfactants are responsible for breaking down and removing stains, so their stability is essential for effective cleaning.
  • Reduced Separation: Sodium chloride helps detergent ingredients adhere to one another, preventing phase separation and ensuring the uniform distribution of components in the liquid detergent.

Amount of Sodium Chloride in Liquid Detergent:

Typically, sodium chloride is added at concentrations of 2-3% by weight, carefully adjusted to achieve the desired thickening and stabilization effects without compromising the performance of other detergent components.

The Role and Amount of Deionized Water in Liquid Detergent:

Role of Deionized Water in Liquid Detergent:

Deionized water, often abbreviated as DI water or simply as distilled water, plays a crucial role in the formulation of liquid detergents:

  • Solvent and Carrier: Deionized water acts as a solvent and carrier for the various detergent ingredients. It provides a medium in which other components can be dissolved or suspended, ensuring they are evenly distributed throughout the detergent.
  • Dilution and Concentration: Manufacturers use deionized water to control the concentration of the detergent. By adding the appropriate amount of water, they can adjust the concentration of the detergent solution to meet the desired product specifications.
  • Preventing Residue and Stains: Deionized water is particularly useful because it contains no minerals or ions. This lack of impurities means that it leaves behind no residue, spots, or stains on surfaces or clothing when used in detergents. It helps ensure that the cleaning process leaves surfaces or fabrics spotless.
  • Ensuring Consistency: The use of deionized water helps maintain the consistency and quality of the detergent. It ensures that the detergent doesn’t introduce impurities or unwanted substances that might interfere with its cleaning performance.

Amount of Deionized Water in Liquid Detergent:

The specific amount of deionized water in a liquid detergent formulation varies among products and manufacturers. The quantity of water is carefully calibrated during the detergent manufacturing process to achieve the desired concentration and consistency while maintaining the effectiveness of the detergent. Liquid laundry detergents, especially in non-concentrated forms, are typically composed of a significant percentage of water, ranging from 60% to 90% of the total composition.

Order of Adding Laundry Detergent Raw Materials:

The order of adding laundry detergent raw materials is crucial for a successful formulation. First, add 90% water, LABSA, and AES to fully dissolve. Then, add AEO-9 and stir evenly. Dissolve EDTA into water and pour it in. Next, add sodium chloride. Finally, add Casson and Flavor (these two need to be added below 40 degrees). Complete the process by adding water.

Why SLES and LABSA are Added in Largest Amounts in Common Standard Laundry Detergent Liquid Formulas:

Common standard laundry detergent liquid formulas include significant amounts of SLES and LABSA because of their indispensable roles in the cleaning process. SLES, known for its foaming properties and mildness, enhances cleaning and stain removal. LABSA, as the primary surfactant, effectively breaks down and removes dirt, stains, and oils from clothing. Their synergy ensures a powerful yet gentle cleaning experience.

Why SLES, CAB, and AEO-9 are Added in Largest Amounts in HE Laundry Detergent Liquid Formulas:

AZZY ultra-concentrated laundry detergent liquid sample

HE laundry detergent liquid formulas prioritize SLES, CAB, and AEO-9 because they are tailored for high-efficiency washing machines. SLES offers effective cleaning with reduced foaming, ideal for machines using less water. CAB enhances stability and mildness, crucial for HE machines. AEO-9, a non-ionic surfactant, aids in soil removal in HE machines with low water levels, ensuring efficient cleaning without excess foam. These ingredients are carefully balanced to meet the specific needs of HE machines while maintaining cleaning effectiveness.

Next time you do your laundry, take a moment to appreciate the science and precision that go into creating your liquid laundry detergent. From SLES and LABSA to AEO-9, CDEA, EDTA, and the strategic use of water, each ingredient plays a vital role in ensuring your clothes come out fresh and clean. So, whether you’re using a standard or high-efficiency formula, you can trust that your laundry detergent is backed by years of scientific research and formulation expertise.

Why choose STPP Group as a supplier of liquid washing raw materials and liquid washing production lines?

At our company, we take pride in our expertise in providing high-quality liquid washing raw materials and liquid washing production lines.

Our Commitment to Quality

At STPP Group, we take immense pride in our commitment to quality. Our dedication to providing top-tier liquid washing raw materials and production lines stems from our belief in producing laundry detergents that not only meet but exceed industry standards. With our team of experts and state-of-the-art facilities, we ensure that every ingredient and production line we offer adheres to the highest quality control measures.

Industry-Leading Expertise

Our company has earned a reputation for being at the forefront of detergent production. With years of industry experience and a team of seasoned professionals, we understand the nuances and demands of the market. We continually invest in research and development to stay ahead of the curve, offering you the latest advancements in detergent technology.

Customized Solutions

One size does not fit all, especially in the highly competitive world of detergent production. At STPP Group, we understand that your needs are unique. That’s why we offer customized solutions to meet your specific requirements. Whether you’re looking for tailored detergent formulations, ingredient blends, or production line setups, we’re here to create solutions that fit your business like a glove.

Sustainable Practices

In an era where sustainability is a global imperative, we’re committed to environmental responsibility. Our company emphasizes the use of eco-friendly ingredients and sustainable manufacturing processes. We’re here to help you meet your sustainability goals by providing detergent solutions that minimize environmental impact while maximizing cleaning efficiency.

Customer-Centric Approach

Our customers are at the heart of everything we do. At STPP Group, we prioritize your needs and are dedicated to delivering the best customer experience. From offering competitive pricing to providing prompt technical support, we’re here to make your journey in the detergent industry smooth and successful.

Global Reach

STPP Group doesn’t just serve locally; we have a global footprint. Whether you’re looking for solutions in North America, Europe, Asia, or beyond, our international reach ensures that you have access to our top-notch products and services, no matter where your business is located.

Stay Updated with Our Blog

Want to stay informed about the latest industry trends, detergent innovations, and company updates? Be sure to check out our blog on our website. We regularly share valuable insights and knowledge that can help you make informed decisions in your detergent production journey.

Connect with Us

For any inquiries, quotes, or to discuss how we can assist you in your detergent production endeavors, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our dedicated team. We’re here to answer your questions, provide guidance, and help you take the next steps toward success.