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Encyclopedia > Fabric softener

Fabric softener (also called Fabric Conditioner) is used to prevent static cling and makes the fabric softer. Popular brand names include Lenor, Lenor/Downy, Snuggle, and Comfort. Most newer washing machines have a dispenser to add liquid fabric softener to the load of laundry automatically on the final rinse; in launderettes it may need to be added manually. Some brands of washing powder have fabric conditioning built-in which is claimed to save money when compared to buying ordinary washing powder and fabric softener separately. There are some fabric softeners that besides softening clothes also claim to make ironing easier whereas some claim to make clothes dry faster. The use of fabric softener may however reduce the water absorption capabilities of the fabric, and is contra-indicated in some articles like microfibre textiles. For best results, un-diluted fabric softener should not be poured directly onto clothes. Static cling is caused by static electricity, usually due rubbing as in a clothes dryer (the Triboelectric effect). ... Lenor may refer to: Lenor, brand name of fabric softener produced by Procter & Gamble Par Lenor, character in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode The Perfect Mate Category: ... Downy (Lenor outside the U.S. and Canada) is a brand name of fabric softener produced by Procter & Gamble. ... Snuggle bear Snuggle is the brand name of a Unilever fabric softener sold in the United States. ... Look up comfort in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Front-loading washing machine. ... Categories: Stub ... An iron Ironing or smoothing is the work of using a heated tool to remove wrinkles from washed clothes. ... Microfibre is a term for fibres with strands thinner than one denier. ...

Another form of fabric softener is in the form of dryer sheets which are added to clothing in the tumble dryer to soften the fabrics and prevent static. Dryer sheets, or dryer anticling strips, can also be used to keep clothes smelling good while being stored. An electric clothes dryer A clothes dryer or tumble dryer (also spelt with an i: drier) is a major household appliance that is used to remove the residual moisture from clothing or fabrics, generally shortly after being cleaned in a washing or washing/drying machine. ...

Fabric softeners work by coating the surface of the cloth fibers with a thin layer of chemicals; these chemicals have lubricant properties and are electrically conductive, thus making the fibers feel smoother and preventing buildup of static electricity. Other functions are improvements of iron glide during ironing, increased resistance to stains, and reduction of wrinkling. A lubricant (colloquially, lube, although this may also refer to personal lubricants) is a substance (usually a liquid) introduced between two moving surfaces to reduce the friction and wear between them. ... Electrical conductivity or specific conductivity is a measure of a materials ability to conduct an electric current. ...

Cationic softeners bind by electrostatic attraction to the negatively charged groups on the surface of the fibers and neutralizing their charge; the long aliphatic chains are then oriented towards the outside of the fiber, imparting lubricity. Vinegar works on some materials in a similar way, as the hydrogen ions bind to the anionic groups on the fibers.

The disadvantage of coating fibers by hydrophobic layer is in decreasing the water absorption properties of the fabric, which may be an issue with eg. towels and diapers. Therefore the cationic softeners are often combined with other chemicals with lower affinity to the fibers.


The earliest fabric softeners were developed during early 20th century to counteract the harsh feel the dying methods imparted to cotton. The cotton softeners were typically based on water emulsion of soap and olive oil, corn oil, or tallow oil. Handmade soap Soap is a surfactant used in conjunction with water for washing and cleaning. ... Olive oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the olive (Olea europaea), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. ... Corn oil is oil extracted from the germ of corn. ... Tallow is rendered beef or mutton fat, processed from suet. ...

Contemporary fabric softeners tend to be based on quaternary ammonium salts with one or two long alkyl chains, a typical compound being dipalmitoylethyl hydroxyethylmonium methosulfate. Other cationic compounds can be derived from imidazolinium, substituted amine salts, or quarternary alkoxy ammonium salts. One of the most common compounds of the early formulations was dihydrogenated tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride (DHTDMAC). Categories: Chemistry stubs ... An alkyl is a univalent radical containing only carbon and hydrogen atoms arranged in a chain. ... Imidazoline is a nitrogen-containing heterocycle derived from imidazole. ... In chemistry, the alkoxyl group is an alkyl group linked to oxygen thus: R-O- In this function, R represents the alkyl group. ...

Anionic softeners and antistatic agents can be eg. salts of monoesters and diesters of phosphoric acid and fatty alcohols; these are often used together with the conventional cationic softeners. Cationic softeners are incompatible with anionic surfactants presenting the bulk of surfactants used in detergents, with whose they form inefficient precipitate; therefore they can not be mixed with the detergent, but have to be added during the rinse cycle instead. Anionic softeners can be combined with anionic surfactants directly. Other anionic softeners can be based on smectite clays. Some compounds, eg. ethoxylated phosphate esters, have properties of both softening, anti-static, and surfactant. [1] Antistatic agents are compounds used for treatment of materials or their surfaces in order to reduce or eliminate buildup of static electricity generally caused by the triboelectric effect. ... General formula of a carboxylate ester. ... Phosphoric acid, also known as orthophosphoric acid or phosphoric(V) acid, is an inorganic mineral acid having the chemical formula H3PO4. ... Fatty alcohols are aliphatic alcohols derived from natural fats and oils. ... Surfactants are wetting agents that lower the surface tension of a liquid, allowing easier spreading, and lower the interfacial tension between two liquids. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Clay. ... Ethoxylation is a chemical process in which ethylene oxide (IUPAC name: 1,2-epoxyethane) is added to fatty acids in order to make them more soluble in water. ...

The softening compounds differ in affinity to different materials. Some are better for cellulose-based fibers, others have higher affinity to hydrophobic materials like nylon, polyethylene terephthalate, polyacrylonitrile, etc. Cellulose as polymer of β-D-glucose Cellulose in 3D Cellulose (C6H10O5)n is a polysaccharide of beta-glucose. ... Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers first produced on February 28, 1935 by Wallace Carothers at DuPont. ... Polyethylene terephthalate (aka PET, PETE or the obsolete PETP or PET-P) is a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family that produced by the chemical industry and is used in synthetic fibers; beverage, food and other liquid containers; thermoforming applications; and engineering resins often in combination with glass fiber. ... Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) is a resinous, fibrous, or rubbery organic polymer. ...

Silicone based compounds, eg. polydimethylsiloxane, are one of the new softeners that work by lubricating the fibers. Silicone derivates are used as well, eg. modified to contain amine or amide groups; they bind better to the fabrics and have much improved feel. They have essentially the same role as oils had in the early formulations. Silicones (more accurately called polymerized siloxanes or polysiloxanes) are inorganic-organic polymers with the chemical formula [R2SiO]n, where R = organic groups such as methyl, ethyl, and phenyl. ... Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is the most widely used silicon-based organic polymer, and is particularly known for its unusual rheological (or flow) properties. ... The general structure of an amine Amines are organic compounds and a type of functional group that contain nitrogen as the key atom. ... Amide functional group Amides possess a conjugated system spread over the O, C and N atoms, consisting of molecular orbitals occupied by delocalized electrons. ...

As the softeners themselves are often of hydrophobic nature, they are commonly occurring in the form of an emulsion. In the early formulations, soaps were used as emulsifiers. The emulsions are usually opaque, milky fluids. However there are also microemulsions where the droplets of the hydrophobic phase are substantially smaller; the advantage of microemulsions is in the increased ability of the smaller particles to penetrate into the fibers. A mixture of cationic and non-ionic surfactants is often used as an emulsifier. Another approach is using a polymeric network, an emulsion polymer. [2] A. Two immisicible liquids, not emulsified; B. An emulsion of Phase B dispersed in Phase A; C. The unstable emulsion progressively separates; D. The surfactant (purple outline) positions itself on the interfaces between Phase A and Phase B, stabilizing the emulsion An emulsion is a mixture of two immiscible (unblendable... Handmade soap Soap is a surfactant used in conjunction with water for washing and cleaning. ... An emulsion is a mixture of two immiscible substances. ... Microemulsions are clear, stable, isotropic liquid mixtures of oil, water and surfactant, frequently in combination with a cosurfactant. ...

Other compounds are included to provide additional functions; acids or bases for maintaining the optimal pH for adsorption to the fabric, electrolytes, carriers (usually water, sometimes water-alcohol mixture), and others, eg. silicone-based anti-foaming agents, emulsion stabilizers, fragrances, and colors. [3] A relatively recent form on the market are the ultra-concentrates, where the amount of carriers and some other chemicals is substantially lower and much smaller volumes are used. haha loser The correct title of this article is . ... An antifoaming agent is a food ingredient intended to curb effusion or effervescence in preparation or serving. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Get A Grip (524 words)
Keep a fabric softener sheet in the stored bag.
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There are chapters on fabrics, clothing care, foreign size conversions and grooming.
  More results at FactBites »



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