Journal of the American Oil Chemists Society

, Volume 47, Issue 10, pp 379–383 | Cite as

Cold water detergency studies using radiolabeled soils

  • J. C. Illman
  • B. M. Finger
  • W. T. Shebs
  • T. B. Albin


The effects of single and multiple washing and of resoiling-rewashing of cotton and synthetic fabrics have been studied in Tergotometer tests at various levels of temperature, detergent concentration and water hardness. The soiling mixture consisted of a seven component sebum tagged with tritium and carbon-14; in some tests gammaray emitting Kaolinite clay was also used. Linear primary alcohol ethoxylate (LAEO) and linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS) were used for surfactant type comparisons. In single wash tests in both hot and cold water, LAEO was generally more effective than LAS in removing sebum. This was particularly noticeable at low product concentration where insufficient sodium tripolyphosphate was present to sequester the water hardness. A 1/1 blend of the two surfactants approached LAEO in performance. The nonpolar sebum fraction was more readily removed from Dacron or nylon in cold water; otherwise, detergency was generally better at high temperatures. In rewash tests, using labeled lube oil, cholesterol and clay, a progressive increase in soil removal was found during five wash cycles. The nonpolar lube oil component was the most difficult to remove from permanent press Dacron-cotton (PP), but was more readily removed from cotton. The more polar cholesterol and especially the clay were more easily removed from PP. LAEO gave better detergency both hot and cold than LAS, especially in hard water. On cotton swatches resoiled with sebum after each wash the residual sebum content was still increasing after five cycles. With PP in soft water, a steady state was reached after three to five cycles. Soil buildup was greater as hardness increased and as wash temperature and active matter concentration decreased, and was generally greater on cotton than on PP. LAEO allowed appreciably less soil buildup than did LAS especially at low concentration in hard water, indicating a reduced requirement for sodium tripolyphosphate.


Surfactant Water Hardness Soil Removal Product Conc Sodium Tripolyphosphate 
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Copyright information

© The American Oil Chemists' Society 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. C. Illman
    • 1
  • B. M. Finger
    • 1
  • W. T. Shebs
    • 1
  • T. B. Albin
    • 1
  1. 1.Shell Development CompanyEmeryville

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