Q:

What is detergent made of?

A:

Quick Answer

While they come in different brands and prices, most detergents share the same components, which can be classified into four groups: surfactants, functional materials, catalytic enzymes and fragrance. The integration of these components produces detergents, such as laundry detergents, soaps and biological reagents.

  Know More

Full Answer

The main components, surfactants, exist mainly in anionic and non-ionic form. The first are negatively charged, which enables them to attract a vast range of soil. The non-ionic surfactants, on the other hand, carry no charge, so they can attract dust, body soil and oil.

Detergents also contain pH modifiers that are used to balance the acids and bases in water. The laundry detergent ingredients include bleach and water conditioners, which work together to manage hard water, inhibit dye transfer as well as brighten the clothes. Furthermore, it usually has synthetic fragrance, which makes the clothes smell better.

Enzymes, however, are the most important ingredients in detergents. They exist in varying concentrations but are generally classified into categories such as proteases, amylases, cellulases and lipases. These enzymes are used to degrade and break down different soils into smaller molecules for easier removal. There are also catalytic enzymes in the form of mannanase and pectinase that are responsible to degrade stains.

Learn more about Cleaning Products

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is a neutral detergent?

    A:

    According to the U.S. General Services Administration, neutral detergents are detergents created with strong alkalis and weak acids. Neutral detergents are also called "anionic detergents."

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Which detergent is better: Tide or Gain?

    A:

    The best laundry detergent comes down to personal preference; however, Tide ranks higher than Gain on a 2013 Consumer Reports list. According to the Consumer Reports' top seven list of the best and the worst laundry detergents for standard top-loading washers, Gain Icy Fresh Fizz comes in last place.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What properties does detergent have?

    A:

    Detergent decreases the surface tension of water and attracts molecules of dirt and grease. The surface-active elements that make up detergent have two ends. The hydrophilic (water-loving) end attracts water and pulls it towards the hydrophobic (water-hating) end. This reduces the surface tension of the water while also drawing the grease into the water. The combination is then suspended in mid-air on top of the clothing and washed off.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the difference between synthetic detergent and soap?

    A:

    The main difference between synthetic detergents and soap is the ingredients used during manufacturing. While synthetic detergents are made from petroleum products, manufacturers make soap from lye and natural fat. Unlike soaps, synthetic detergents contain strong antibacterial agents and preservatives.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore