2009-06-23

Detergents and additives

The photo was taken from a type of detergent used to cleaning cloths.

Detergent is a salt formed from the reaction between an alkyl hydrogen sulphate and an alkali.

















Additives are added to make detergent more effective in cleaning.

Examples of additives that can be recognized are:
Optical whitener:
stabiliser:
fragrance:

Funtion of different types of additives in detergent:
  1. biological enzyme : remove protein stains such as blood. E.g. amylase, proteases, lipase.
  2. whitening agent(include bleaches): convert stains to colourless substances, thus make clothes whiter and cleaner. E.g. sodium perborate and sodium hypochlorite
  3. optical whitener: make white clothes look whiter. E.g. fluorescent dyes
  4. fragrances : add freagrance to fabrics.
  5. drying agent: ensure the detergent powder is always dry. e.g. sodium sulphate & sodium silicate
  6. stabiliser : control foaming in detergent. e.g. alkyl monoethanolamide
  7. builder: enhance the cleaning efficiency of detergent by softening the water. e.g. sodium tripolyphosphate
*sodium tripolyphosphate is banned as when it is discharged into lakes, will cause euthrophication.
Normally a box of detergent contains between 15 - 20% of detergent.

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