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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
28th January 2021


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I received a press release last week telling me that research which explores new ways for laundry detergents to improve cleaning performance in lower wash temperatures has been honoured with the American Cleaning Institute Distinguished Paper Award.

Those of us who do the laundry are well aware that removing vegetable-oil based stains from fabric is one of the toughest challenges when doing the laundry and that removing soils at lower-wash temperatures can be even more challenging. I've always tended to follow my mother's advice by dabbing neat washing up liquid onto the offending stain. It works for me but I know other people wash clothes at far higher temperatures than usual to remove these offending stains; wasting valuable energy and paying higher bills as a result.

The researchers 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, which are capable of providing enhanced cleaning performance of oily soils at 10 degrees C, under realistic surfactant concentrations found in commercial washing products. No doubt this research will one day impact on domestic laundry consumables too... "Energy conservation is of increasing importance in daily life, particularly energy consumption in households," say the researchers. "Reducing energy consumption in the laundry process is receiving increased attention. It has been reported that lowering the wash temperature below 30 degrees C (from 40 degrees C) can achieve 50% - 65% 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."

I can remember as a child, my parents unexpectedly receiving 24 boxes of washing powder because they'd recommended the washing machine they'd bought to a neighbour, who went on to buy the same machine and mentioned the recommendation. I can see great marketing opportunities for our industry if this research leads to the manufacture of laundry detergents which deal with stubborn stains in a 10 degrees C wash, rather than the 30 degree wash that we're currently being prompted to use...




Jan Hobbs



14th May 2018

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