Origins of Detergent
Soap is believed to be discovered as early as the age of Babylon 2800 B.C. During World War I, the need of an alternative cleaning agent arose from the lack of animal fats required for soap-making. This led to the birth of synthetic soap (detergents in present day), which are made from a variety of raw chemicals.
Today, detergents and other cleaning agents play an important part in our lives as it has integrated to become a staple household commodity. The detergent manufacturing process has also further improved. There are 2 main forms of detergent on the market ? powder and liquid form. Bar detergent still exists but are facing a decline due to its weaker cleaning property.
Detergent manufacturing process
1. Spray Drying
Dry and Liquid Ingredients are first mixed together. The reaction between dry caustic soda with linear alkylbenzenesulphonic acid (LABSA) solution produces the slurry. Hydration of the dry sodium tripolyphosphate (STP) contributes in the formation of slurry as well. The slurry is heated and sprayed through nozzles that forms small hollow granules as they dry through the hot air supplied. Heat sensitive ingredients are then added at this point. This process results in powder detergent as the final product.
Another detergent manufacturing process, the blending process, produces liquid detergent. Dry and Liquid raw chemicals are placed into a blender for continuous mixing of the product. All ingredients, except those that are heat sensitive, are mixed at high temperature. Some common raw chemicals for detergent production includes STP, LABSA, Caustic soda, enzymes and fragrances. Fatty acids are neutralized with strong bases such as Caustic Soda or Potassium Hydroxide. The detergent solution is then cooled and packaged.
Different raw chemicals for detergent production will result in different cleaning properties of the detergent, and hence formulation differs according to the different consumer demands.
Detergent Market Shift
1. The detergent market shift has been prominent in the preference of Liquid detergent to Powder detergent. It could be attributed to its improved cleaning ability in both cold and warm water, as compared to powder detergent which works better in warm water. According to PRNewsWire, the liquid laundry detergent market in China is expected to grow of around 20% from 2014 ? 2019. Similarly, the Southeast Asia market is also shifting to liquid alternatives. The shift will drive the demand of raw chemicals for detergent manufacturing, specifically the liquid products.
2. Trekking on the global trend of being eco-friendly, green products is another trend observed in the detergent market shift.
Phosphates have been linked with the major problem of eutrophication (water pollution where there are excess algae growth) and toxic chemicals that harm marine beings when wastewater from the laundry reaches into the water bodies.
The use of eco-friendly detergent is rising, especially in the European and American market. Many states in US have even banned the use of phosphates in the detergent manufacturing process.
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