How is soil held onto fabric?
• Mechanically: gum, mud, wax
• Electrostatic: lint, dust
• Water born: coffee
• Chemical: grease, oil, gravy
How is it removed?
• Neutralize electrostatic force: water
• Redissolve in water
• Use chemicals and thermal energy
• Some soils combine so it takes a combination to remove them: mechanical,
water, chemical, thermal
Care Labeling Law
• Care labeling law, FTC ruled in 1972 and updated in 1984 and 1999, requires
that garments be labeled with appropriate care procedures.
➢ Many companies try to over-label, protecting themselves by saying that
garments should be dry cleaned when they could be washed
➢ Labels no longer have to give the treatment in words. Symbols are
Laundering and Dry Cleaning
• Soil removal assisted by water
• Chemical energy supplied by components of laundry product used
• Thermal energy supplied by temperature of water
• Mechanical energy supplied by agitation action of washing machine or hand
• All three forms of energy needed for maximum removal of soil
➢ Types of soil: 1) particularly soil; 2) oily, fatty soils
➢ Soil can be mechanically bound or chemically bound. If chemically bound,
then you need a chemical reaction to occur to remove it.
Components of Laundry Products
• Surfactant: substance, which reduces the surface tension of water, enabling
the water to wet the textile substrate better. Surfactants also help to
solubilize fatty soils they can be removed.
• Surface active agent
• Early synthetic surfactants were not biodegradable and they cased rivers and
streams to bubble over.
• Builder enhances detergency by:
➢ Softening water. Water is “hard” if it contains Ca, Mg, Fe ➢ Maintaining proper pH
➢ Helping to stabilize removed soil
➢ If the hardness minerals are not removed, they can combine with soil,
soap, and create a scum or deposit on the clothes and parts of the washer.
➢ Phosphates, citrates, carbonates, zeolites are examples. Citrates are
commonly used in “ecological” laundry detergents.
➢ If you live in an area with very hard water, you can add Borax to the
wash, this is a builder that has been used for a long time to boost
laundering power by binding the hardness minerals.
• Phosphates tied to eutrophication
➢ Phosphates encourage the growth of blue-green algae. The algae use up
the oxygen in ponds and streams, contributing to the death of fish. There
is evidence that soil run off from farms contributes more to waterway
• New study shows that if phosphates could be recycled they would be more
environmentally friendly than zeolites.
• Some detergents going back to carbonates and silicates as in the older
• Optical brightener
➢ Also called Florescent Whitening Agent (FWA). This is a dye, which is
absorbed on the surface of the fibers in the substrate, which emits blue
light when exposed to a light source containing Ultraviolet light. Whites
appear whiter, colors appear brighter
➢ FWA’s have been linked to increasing the sun protection factor of clothing
washed in them
• Flow Control Agent
➢ Chemical which keeps powdered detergents from lumping up. Sodium
Sulfate is most commonly used.
• Corrosion Inhibitor
➢ Chemical, which protects washing machine parts from rusting. Sodium
Metasilicate is the choice here. Protects zippers and snaps.
• Antiredeposition Agent
➢ Chemical which helps to maintain removed soil in suspension so it leaves
the washing machine with the wash and rinse water and does not
redeposit on the material being laundered. Sodium Carboxymethyl
Cellulose is most often used.
➢ Improves odor of laundered material
➢ Encapsulated fragrance particles now used
Other Possible Components
➢ Chlorine bleach, not in boxed or liquid detergent, but you can add
➢ Sodium perborate: all fabric bleach ➢ Sodium percarbonate: all fabric bleach, this is the chemical used in the
oxy-clean products advertised recently.
• Fabric Softener
➢ Puts a lubricating film on clothes, similar to crème rinses/conditioners
for your hair
➢ Decrease fabric stiffness, minimize static