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Encyclopedia > Laundry detergent
A display of laundry detergent

Laundry detergent, or washing powder, is a substance which is a type of detergent that is added when one is washing laundry to help get the laundry cleaner. It is often colloquially called laundry soap or simply detergent or soap though, because soap is an organic fat-based compound and detergent is an artificial surfactant, detergent is not a true "soap". It helps wash the fabric in a manner rather analogous to the way soap helps wash hands, other parts of the body, or other things cleaner than washing with water alone. Laundry detergent has traditionally been a powdered or granular solid, but the use of liquid laundry detergents has gradually increased over the years, and these days use of liquid detergent equals or even exceeds use of solid detergent. Some brands also manufacture laundry soap in tablets and dissolvable packets, so as to eliminate the need to measure soap for each load of laundry. In some countries where washing clothes by hand is more popular, detergent bars are more popular. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2048x1536, 748 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2048x1536, 748 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Laundry detergents are just one of many possible uses for detergents Detergent is a compound, or a mixture of compounds, intended to assist cleaning. ... Italian street, with laundry hung to dry Laundry can be: items of clothing and other textiles that require washing the act of washing clothing and textiles the room of a house in which this is done // Man and woman washing linen in a brook, from William Henry Pynes Microcosm... A collection of decorative soaps used for human hygiene purposes. ... Impact from a water drop causes an upward rebound jet surrounded by circular capillary waves. ... Powder is a substance that has been crushed into very fine grains. ... This box:      For other uses, see Solid (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Liquid (disambiguation). ...

Contents

History

In the 1960s, detergent manufacturers waged an advertising battle over who had the longest lasting suds, and detergent compounds quickly appeared in the waterways. Suds began to appear in streams, rivers, lakes, and at the foot of Niagara Falls, piles of discolored detergent foam rose eight feet high. For other uses, see Niagara Falls (disambiguation). ...


Detergents also contain phosphate additives to soften the water and thereby improve the effectiveness of the detergent molecules. It was noted that between 1940 and 1970 the amount of phosphates in city wastewater increased from 20,000 to 150,000 tons per year. In chemistry, a phosphate is a polyatomic ion or radical consisting of one phosphorus atom and four oxygen. ...


With the increase in phosphates, algal blooms grew splendidly on the excess phosphorus and consumed the majority of all oxygen in the waters, killing fish and plants. A red tide resulting from a dinoflagellate bloom discoloring the water on the right An algal bloom is a relatively rapid increase in the population of (usually) phytoplankton algae in an aquatic system. ...


Uses of laundry detergent

Laundry detergent is used by almost every household in the developed world, so its production and sale has become an important industry. One can find many different brands of laundry detergent in the shops, and each one may claim to have any number of special qualities. Each brand has its own instructions on how it should be used and what amount to use written on the container it comes in. Some brands of laundry detergent purport to be more concentrated and can be added in smaller amounts. The detergent can be added onto the laundry or to the wash water at the start of the wash, or it can be added beforehand or soon after starting the wash into a special compartment in a washing machine made for that purpose, to be flushed into the wash by the wash water. Often bleach is a separate additive to the wash, but there are laundry detergents which have bleach already blended in with them. For other uses, see Brand (disambiguation). ... An instruction is a form of information which is communicated in order to explain how an action, behavior, method, or task is to be begun, completed, conducted, or executed. ... Look up container in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Concentration (disambiguation). ... Front-loading washing machine. ... This article is about the chemical whitener. ...


All laundry detergents are soluble in water so as to make the water more effective at cleaning the laundry. The detergent does its work and is needed during the initial "Wash" cycle to separate the dirt or soil out from the fabric. The purpose of the rinses which follow is to rinse the washer with the detergent residue from the laundry as well as to remove the dirt suspended in the wash water by replacing the initial wash water with fresh water. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Solution. ...


Separate stain pre-treatment products are sometimes available to be added directly to stained areas of fabrics. However, undiluted liquid laundry detergent or a paste of solid detergent made by mixing in a little water may be used to pre-treat heavily soiled or stained areas of the fabric by scrubbing in the detergent prior to the wash. Special oxidizer washing products have become available in liquid or solid granular form. Such solid products often contain sodium percarbonate or sodium perborate and the liquid products often contain hydrogen peroxide. They are often marketed as containing "active oxygen". Some laundry detergent is specially sold for delicate woolen articles. An oxidizing agent is a substance that oxidizes another substance in electrochemistry or redox chemical reactions in general. ... Sodium percarbonate (or sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate) is an addition compound of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide. ... Sodium perborate (PBS), also called perboric acid or metaborate peroxyhydrate, is a white, odorless, water-soluble chemical compound with chemical formula NaBO3. ... R-phrases , , , , S-phrases , , , , , , , , Flash point Non-flammable Related Compounds Related compounds Water Ozone Hydrazine Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 Â°C, 100 kPa) Infobox disclaimer and references Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a very pale blue liquid which appears colorless in... General Name, Symbol, Number oxygen, O, 8 Chemical series Nonmetals, chalcogens Group, Period, Block 16, 2, p Appearance colorless (gas) very pale blue (liquid) Atomic mass 15. ... For other uses, see Wool (disambiguation). ...


Contents

Detergent molecules are long and the detergents can mold into different forms of matter so it can be asymmetrical: one end attracts long pieces of dirt while the other end attracts water, which is why detergent lifts dirt from wet clothes. Detergent molecules come in two forms, straight and branched - a difference that affects sudsing but not cleansing ability. The suds of the straight molecules of detergent break down quickly, while the suds of branched molecules break down slowly if at all.


A key ingredient in both solid and liquid laundry detergents is a surfactant. A surfactant is a substance which, when added to water, significantly reduces the surface tension of the water. This effect allows water to wash surfaces better. There are many different types of organic compounds which can function as surfactants. Surfactants are thick, viscous liquids; however, some are soft, waxy or greasy solids. Surfactants, also known as tensides, are wetting agents that lower the surface tension of a liquid, allowing easier spreading, and lower the interfacial tension between two liquids. ... Surface tension is an effect within the surface layer of a liquid that causes that layer to behave as an elastic sheet. ... Benzene is the simplest of the arenes, a family of organic compounds An organic compound is any member of a large class of chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. ...


Surfactants typically have somewhat longer molecules which may or may not have an electric charge. Surfactants with uncharged molecules are non-ionic surfactants. Surfactants with positively charged molecules (or ions) are cationic surfactants. Surfactants with negatively charged molecules (or ions) are anionic surfactants. Surfactants with both positively and negatively charged part in the same molecule are zwitterionic surfactants. Most brands of laundry detergent have anionic or nonionic surfactants or a mixture of the two, although cationic surfactants have been used in laundry detergents. The use of cationic and anionic surfactants together is incompatible in the same detergent. The usual content of surfactants in a typical detergent is about 8-18%. 3D (left and center) and 2D (right) representations of the terpenoid molecule atisane. ... This box:      Electric charge is a fundamental conserved property of some subatomic particles, which determines their electromagnetic interaction. ...


In powdered or granular solid detergents, the surfactant is soaked into the solid ingredients. In liquid laundry detergents, liquid or even solid surfactant are blended into the liquid detergent. There is usually a limit on how much liquid surfactant can soak into powder or granular solids solid detergent mushy. More liquid surfactant can usually be blended into a liquid detergent. The liquid detergents commonly contain at least some water to help liquefy the other additives and still have the detergent pourable. The liquid detergents may also have other solvent liquids, such as alcohol or a hydrotrope, to help blend all the additives together. For other uses, see Solvent (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A hydrotrope is a compound that solubilises hydrophobic compounds in aqueous solutions. ...


Laundry detergents may have ingredients to help control the pH of the wash water. For example, solid detergents usually contain sodium carbonate (soda ash) or sodium bicarbonate to maintain pH by neutralizing any acidic materials that may enter the wash water. For other uses, see PH (disambiguation). ... Sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda or soda ash), Na2CO3, is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. ... Flash point Non-flammable. ... For other uses, see PH (disambiguation). ... For alternative meanings see acid (disambiguation). ...


Compounds called "builders" are often used to enhance ("build") the surfactant effect. Their role is to lower the water hardness by scavenging the calcium and magnesium ions and adsorbing them or chelating them. Some form of sodium phosphate can be used here, such as trisodium orthophosphate, monosodium orthophosphate, or a form of tripolyphosphate (TPP). In some locations, phosphate is no longer used as an additive due to environmental concerns as phosphates in surface waters stimulate algal bloom. As alternatives, other chelating agents are used. Sodium carbonate precipitates insoluble calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. Organic chemicals similar to EDTA can be employed, eg. nitriloacetic acid (NTA). Borates can be used as well. Ion exchange materials are frequently used in modern formulations; the most common kind is based on synthetic zeolites, often with polycarboxylate based polyelectrolytes. The usual content of such materials in a typical detergent is about 20-45%. Hard water is water that has a high mineral content. ... For other uses, see Calcium (disambiguation). ... General Name, symbol, number magnesium, Mg, 12 Chemical series alkaline earth metals Group, period, block 2, 3, s Appearance silvery white solid at room temp Standard atomic weight 24. ... For sodium in the diet, see Edible salt. ... A phosphate, in inorganic chemistry, is a salt of phosphoric acid. ... Trisodium phosphate (TSP), available at most hardware stores in white powder form, is a cleaning agent and degreaser, commonly used to prepare household surfaces for painting. ... Algal blooms can present problems for ecosystems and human society An algal bloom is a relatively rapid increase in the population of (usually) phytoplankton algae in an aquatic system. ... Chelation (from Greek, claw like) describes the reversible binding of an organic ligand, the chelator or chelating agent, to a metal ion, forming a metal complex, the chelate. ... Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound, with the chemical formula CaCO3. ... Magnesium carbonate, MgCO3, is a white solid that occurs in nature as a mineral. ... EDTA is a widely-used acronym for the chemical compound ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (and many other names, see table). ... Borates in chemistry are chemical compounds containing boron bonded to three oxygen atoms written as B(OR)3. ... Ion exchange is defined as an exchange of ions between two electrolytes. ... Zeolite The micro-porous molecular structure of a zeolite, ZSM-5 Zeolites (Greek, zein, to boil; lithos, a stone) are minerals that have a micro-porous structure. ... Polyelectrolytes combine the properties of electrolytes (salts) and polymers (high MW compounds). ...


Many detergents contain bleaches. In North American countries, sodium hypochlorite based bleach additives are more common. These work at lower temperatures and do not need activation. In Europe, peroxide-based bleaches are prevalent instead. The chemicals employed are usually sodium percarbonate and sodium perborate, or other compounds that release hydrogen peroxide. Peroxide bleaches either need higher temperature (60 °C or more) to become effective, or a suitable catalyst or activator (eg. manganese or iron complexes, or TAED) which lowers the required temperature down to 40 °C or even to room temperature. The usual content of bleaches in a typical detergent is about 15-30%. It is possible to overdo the bleaching; the Persil Power fiasco is a good example of deployment of too powerful bleaching activator. This article is about the chemical whitener. ... Sodium hypochlorite is a chemical compound with the formula NaClO. Sodium hypochlorite solution, commonly known as bleach, is frequently used as a disinfectant and as a bleaching agent. ... A peroxide is a compound containing an oxygen-oxygen single bond. ... Sodium percarbonate (or sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate) is an addition compound of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide. ... Sodium perborate (PBS), also called perboric acid or metaborate peroxyhydrate, is a white, odorless, water-soluble chemical compound with chemical formula NaBO3. ... R-phrases , , , , S-phrases , , , , , , , , Flash point Non-flammable Related Compounds Related compounds Water Ozone Hydrazine Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 Â°C, 100 kPa) Infobox disclaimer and references Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a very pale blue liquid which appears colorless in... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Catalysis. ... General Name, symbol, number manganese, Mn, 25 Chemical series transition metals Group, period, block 7, 4, d Appearance silvery metallic Standard atomic weight 54. ... For other uses, see Iron (disambiguation). ... Chemical structure of TAED Tetraacetylethylenediamine (TAED) is an organic chemical compound. ... For other uses, see Room temperature (disambiguation). ... Persil Power was a laundry detergent product developed and sold in the mid-1990s by Unilever. ...


The detergents promising making the laundry "whiter than white" usually contain optical brighteners, acting as phosphors converting some ultraviolet radiation to blue light and optically offsetting the yellowing of the material. The usual content of optical brighteners in a typical detergent is about 0.1%. Optical brighteners, optical brightening agents, fluorescent brightening agents or fluorescent whitening agents are dyes that absorb light in the ultraviolet and violet region of the electromagnetic spectrum, and re-emit light in the blue region. ... Green screen A phosphor is a substance that exhibits the phenomenon of phosphorescence (sustained glowing after exposure to light or energised particles such as electrons). ... For other uses, see Ultraviolet (disambiguation). ...


Fillers are a bulk component in many detergents. Their primary role is modifying the physical properties of the material. In solid detergents, sodium sulfate or borax can be used to make the powder free-flowing. In liquid detergents alcohols are added to increase the solubility of the compounds and to lower the mixture's freezing point. Corrosion inhibitors can be added to prolong the lifetime of the washing machines; sodium silicate can be used here. Anti-foaming agents are added to lower the production of foam and to make the presence of detergents in wastewater less obvious. The usual content of fillers in a typical detergent is about 5-45%. Sodium sulfate is an important compound of sodium. ... Borax from Persian burah. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Corrosion inhibitor - Wikipedia /**/ @import /w/skins-1. ... Sodium silicate, also known as water glass or liquid glass, available in aqueous solution and in solid form, is a compound used in cements, passive fire protection, refractories, textile and lumber processing. ... An antifoaming agent is a food ingredient intended to curb effusion or effervescence in preparation or serving. ... Sea foam on the beach Foam on a cappuccino Fire-retardant, foamed plastic being used as a temporary dam for firestop mortar in a cable penetration in a pulp and paper mill on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. ... Wastewater is any water that has been adversely affected in quality by anthropogenic influence. ...


Some laundry detergents have enzymes to help in removal of biological stains (eg. grass or blood), often enzymes produced by the bacteria Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus licheniformis. The content of enzymes can reach up to 0.75%. Ribbon diagram of the enzyme TIM, surrounded by the space-filling model of the protein. ... Binomial name Bacillus subtilis (Ehrenberg 1835) Cohn 1872 Gram-stained Bacillus subtilis Sporulating Bacillus subtilis Bacillus subtilis is a Gram-positive, catalase-positive bacterium commonly found in soil. ... Bacillus licheniformis is a bacterium commonly found in the soil. ...


Some laundry detergents have fabric softeners. Perfume or color ingredients are sometimes added for better smell or to give a detergent some color. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Perfume (disambiguation). ...


Other brands, however, are left without these additives, marketed to those who avoid these because of allergies or individual preference. There are also detergents made with vegetable-based surfactants which are popular in health food stores. Allergy is an abnormal reaction to a substance foreign to the body that is acquired, predictable and rapid. ... For other uses, see Vegetable (disambiguation). ... Healthful eating is the act of following a balanced nutritional diet. ...


Containers and sizes

Solid laundry detergent is commonly sold in cardboard boxes and plastic tubs. In many parts of the world, laundry detergent is also sold in single-use packets. The size of the boxes can vary from small single-use boxes sold from vending machines in laundromats to large economy-size boxes. In some cases, plastic measuring scoops have been included inside the boxes. Liquid detergent is sold in plastic bottles, usually high density polyethylene or sometimes PET or other kinds. Again, various sizes are available. On large size bottles, a handle to carry the bottle is often pre-formed as part of the bottle. The bottle caps are often made large enough so they can be used as cups for measuring out the liquid detergent. Staple corrugated box Cardboard boxes are industrially prefabricated boxes, which are primarily used for packaging commercial goods or storing goods and materials. ... Soda pop and snack machines A vending machine is a machine that dispenses merchandise when a customer deposits money sufficient to purchase the desired item (as opposed to a shop, where personnel is required for every purchase). ... 1950s Launderette Sign, London England. ... For other uses, see Plastic (disambiguation). ... HDPE has SPI resin ID code 2 High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a polyethylene thermoplastic made from petroleum. ...


The Switch to Small

As part of the switch to go green and protect the environment. By 2008, almost all liquid laundry detergent will be sold in small concentrated bottles which help protect the environment. Some stores around the US are already carrying concentrated laundry detergent while some in the Northeast and Midwest States are only carrying the small bottles that are used for High Efficiency Washers.


Brands of laundry detergent

  • All
  • AlmaWin
  • Ariel
  • Arm & Hammer
  • Biokleen
  • Biz
  • Bold
  • Bounty
  • Charlie's Soap
  • Cheer
  • Clorox
  • Comfort (detergent/fabric conditioner)
  • Country Save
  • Daz
  • Downy
  • Dropps
  • Dynamo
  • Ecover
  • Era
  • Everyday Elegance (Great Value)
  • Everyday Living
  • Gain
  • Method
  • Mr. Clean (Philippines)
  • New Hampshire All Natural Laundry Soap
  • Omo
  • Persil
  • Purex
  • Radion
  • Rinso
  • SA8 Bioquest
  • Safeway Select
  • Sears Ultra Plus
  • Seventh Generation
  • Solo
  • Sun
  • Starwin
  • Sunlight
  • Surf
  • Tide
  • Trend
  • Ultra
  • Wisk
  • Xtra

The name "Ultra" is not brand specific and many "Private Label" store brands use it in their product name. Stores such as Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam's Club, Smart & Final, Sears, Walgreens, Longs Drugs, Albertsons, Lucky, and Stater Bros. sell an "Ultra" detergent. They are all manufactured by the same company, Huish Detergents. CVS Pharmacy also sells a private label "Ultra" laundry detergent, but it is not manufactured by Huish Detergents. Procter & Gamble Co. ... Arm & Hammer is a registered trademark of Church and Dwight, an American manufacturer of household products. ... Cheer is the name of a laundry detergent on the market in the United States and Canada. ... Clorox headquarters The Clorox Company (NYSE: CLX) is a manufacturer of various food and chemical products based in Oakland, California, which is best known for its bleach product, Clorox. ... Look up comfort in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Daz is the name of a popular laundry detergent on the market in the United Kingdom. ... Surf is the name of a brand of laundry detergent made by Unilever. ... Persil is a brand of laundry detergent made by Henkel in some countries (including Germany and the Netherlands) and by Unilever, since acquiring rights to the brand in 1919, in others. ... Radion, not to be confused with the element radon, is a scalar field in quantum field theory in spacetimes with additional dimensions. ... An early Rinso advertisement from Good Housekeeping, 1933. ... Sunlight is a brand of laundry soap produced by the British company Lever Brothers (later Norwegian Lilleborg). ... Surf is the name of a laundry detergent, most commonly known by said name in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. ... Tide is the name of a popular laundry detergent on the market in the United States, Canada and other countries. ... Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ... Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the world based on sales volume, headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, United States,[1] with its flagship warehouse in nearby Seattle. ... Sams Club is a membership-only warehouse club owned and operated by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ... Smart & Final is a Los Angeles based North American business founded in 1871 as Haas Baruch dealing in bulk food, beverages of all kinds, restaurant supplies, and cleaning products. ... Sears, Roebuck and Company is an American mid-range chain of international department stores, founded by Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck in the late 19th century. ... Walgreen Co. ... Longs Drugs (NYSE: LDG) is a pharmacy chain store located in the West Coast of the United States. ... A typical Albertsons store. ... Lucky Stores first began in San Mateo County, California when Charles Crouch expanded his lucky stores to the East Bay in 1935. ... Stater Bros. ... A typical CVS/pharmacy CVS Corporation, NYSE: CVS is the largest pharmacy chain in the United States, based on store count. ...


High Efficiency Detergent

Front load washers need to use High Efficiency (HE) detergent. Not using one could cause problems for your washing machine. If your front loader is not working properly you probably need to switch to an HE detergent. Basically HE detergents don't produce any suds.


External links

  • Laundry Detergent Resources and Reviews
  • Excellent resource for practical laundry detergent use
  • Chemistry in Action 45 - What's in a modern detergent?

References

  • Outwater, Alice (1996). Water: A Natural History. New York, NY: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-03780-1. 
  • Commoner, Barry (1971). The Closing Circle: Nature, Man, and Technology. New York, NY: Random House. ISBN 039442350X. 

  Results from FactBites:
 
Laundry detergent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1013 words)
Laundry detergent is a substance which is a type of detergent that is added when one is washing laundry to help get the laundry cleaner.
The purpose of the rinses which follow is to rinse the detergent residue from the laundry as well as to remove the dirt suspended in the wash water by replacing the initial wash water with fresh water.
Laundry detergents may have ingredients to help control the pH of the wash water.
laundry detergent: Information from Answers.com (1065 words)
Laundry detergent has traditionally been a powdered or granular solid, but the use of liquid laundry detergents has gradually increased over the years, and these days use of liquid detergent equals or even exceeds use of solid detergent.
The detergent can be added onto the laundry or to the wash water at the start of the wash, or it can be added beforehand or soon after starting the wash into a special compartment in a washing machine made for that purpose, to be flushed into the wash by the wash water.
The detergent is soluble in water and makes the water wash the laundry better along with agitation or tumbling.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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