Research that explores new ways for laundry detergents to improve their cleaning performance in lower wash temperatures was honored with the American Cleaning Institute‘s Distinguished Paper Award, recognizing the most outstanding research to appear in 2017 in the Journal of Surfactants & Detergents.
The award was presented at the annual meeting of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, during a luncheon of the group’s Surfactants and Detergents Division.
Removing vegetable-oil-based stains from fabric is one of the toughest challenges when doing the laundry; however, removing soils in lower temperature water can be even more challenging.
Researcher Chodchanok Attaphong – from King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, located in Bangkok, Thailand – and colleagues showed for the first time that novel formulations of laundry detergents in combination with naturally occurring water hardness can form oil-in-water microstructural emulsions – known as “microemulsions” – that are capable of providing enhanced cleaning performance of oily soils at 50 degrees, under realistic surfactant concentrations found in commercial washing products.
“Energy conservation is of increasing importance in daily life, particularly energy consumption,” said Dr. Attaphong. “Reducing energy consumption in the laundry process is receiving increased attention. It has been reported that lowering the wash temperature below 30 degrees Celsius [86 degrees Fahrenheit] can achieve 50 percent to 65 percent energy savings.
“Through our research, we observed that the promising formulations of laundry detergents could accomplish high detergency efficiencies in natural water at cold temperature. This encouraging outcome will lead to further research of the detergency performance enhancement for energy-saving commercial household products.” The research paper – “Optimized Microemulsion Systems for Detergency of Vegetable Oils at Low Surfactant Concentration and Bath Temperature” – appeared in the July 2017 edition of the Journal of Surfactants & Detergents.