Chemically, Fabric softeners are long fatty chains connected to positively charged ions of Ammonium; Quaternary Ammonium compounds, shortly called “Quats”.
Chronologically, the fabric softener inventions were:
Clays, like bentonite
clays have a layered structure; the layers hold positively charged ions which connect with the fabric; disadvantage is that clay agglomerates when it looses its surface charge, thus building up lumps in the washing water
Animal fats; lard from pigs and tallow from sheep or bovine animals
these are slowly bio degradable
Ammonium Chlorides, di Methyl di Stearyl Ammonium Chloride (tallow base)
ammonium chlorides are nicely thickening fabric softeners, but their low bio degradability, toxicity, corrosiveness and reduction of wettability of the fabrics made the EU, USA and Japan ban Ammonium Chlorides from detergents
which are non-corrosive, but still not bio degradable and performing less than the Ammonium Chlorides
the Ester groups make these softeners biodegradable, and they show low toxicity and low irritancy, are non-corrosive and allow good re-wettability of the fabric
The Ester Quats in use are:
Tetranyl Amino Propanodiol Quat (Unilever)
Methyl di Ethanol Amine Quat (P&G)
Tri Ethanol Amine Quat (Kao)
The only disadvantage is that it is more difficult with Ester Quats to build a good viscosity. Consumers dislike adding watery fabric softeners. Thicker formulations appear more powerful, more active.
The Sirius Effect
Sirius offers you two optical effects to distinguish your fabric softeners from the thin mass. We like to help you select and even co-develop the ideal thickening agent. Our possibilities are based on CMC, poly acrylate or other chemistry.
We also offer a transparent fabric softener based on Stearyl tri Methyl Ammonium Methosulphate. With this option, a “see through” formulation comes within reach.
Copyright Sirius International ©