Nontoxic Surfactant- Usage and Benefits

These are the compounds having less surface tension between the two solutions. It can be either gas and a liquid or a liquid and a solid. You can use non-toxic surfactants in making detergents, wetting agents, and foaming materials.

Be it washing dishes, washing your face or washing your clothes, surfactants are suitable for cleaning. Surfactants are those compounds which could be utilized in the wide range of cleaning materials. They used as cleaners due to their unique property. They have less surface tension. So as result molecules are slippery with each other. As a result, there are fewer chances of them attaching to each other and they can easily attach themselves to the particles of oil and grease. Other than soaps and detergents, you can also find surfactants in lubricants, inks and fabric conditioners as well. Even our bodies also develop many surfactants called pulmonary surfactants. You can also find the making of surfactants in our lungs. These are produced at a cellular level to help in breathing by keeping the airways open.


Surfactants also have a crucial role in cleaning, washing, foaming and in many other materials and products like detergents, fabric conditioners, paints, inks, in many biological processes as well. It can be used in adhesives. Anti-fogs and ski wax. They are also used in producing agricultural products like pesticides, herbicides, sanitizers, and nonoxynol-9. They are also found in regularly used products like cosmetic products, shampoos, shower gel, conditioners, in some toothpaste as well. They are also found in fire fighting and many pipelines as well. Alkali surfactant polymers are also utilized in gathering oil in the oil wells.

Surfactants are also used in the cleaning of wounds. They are also applied as medicinal lotions and sprays to the skin and membrane of mucous.


Detergents are used to solubilize a wide range of chemicals by separating aggregates and disclosing proteins. Famous surfactants used in the biochemistry labs are sodium lauryl sulphate and CTAB. Detergents are the main agents used in the extraction of protein by the process of lysis of the cells and tissues. Mild detergents are also utilized to solubilize protein membranes like enzymes and receptors without harming them. Non- solubilized products are produced by the method of centrifugation and other methods are also adopted.

Surfactant cleaner are also added to cleaning materials such as detergents, shampoos, etc and enable detergents to combine with water easily and help in removing dust and dirt from the surface which needs to be washed. If surfactants are not present in detergents, it is not easy to mix up detergents with water and it would just move away in the water. the consequence will be that it will make the cleaning process difficult and irritating. Lubricants also have surfactants present in it. Lubricants having surfactants include shaving cream, allowing the razors to erase all the short hair and prevent irritation to the skin. Car engine oils also have surfactants present in the main ingredients. It stops molecules from attaching to the parts of the engine and helps to keep your car to function properly.

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Surfactant Chemicals & How They Work?

There is no denying the fact that surfactants are the most versatile of all products in the chemical industry. They have a wide variety of uses and are used in almost every industrial area. These could range from drilling mud to household detergents. They are also commonly used in pharmaceutical industries, food industries and also in the crude oil refining and processing industries. Hence, it would be interesting to know more about the various aspects of surfactants. Apart from being knowledge enhancing, we believe that it will be useful for those who need to use surfactant chemicals in some applications.

What Does Surfactant Mean

The term surfactant most probably means that it is an agent that works on the surface. They are referred to as amphiphilic molecules. They are easily absorbed whenever there is water and air interfaces. When the interface takes place, they are capable of aligning themselves well so that they become hydrophobic in the air. The water element of surfactants becomes hydrophilic. This has quite a few benefits and could lead to a decrease in interfacial tension or surface tension.

Basics Of Surfactants

Surfactants, as mentioned above are amphiphilic molecules. It is therefore quite natural that they have a combination of hydrophilic and hydrophobic parts. The hydrophobic tail is referred to as hydrocarbon, siloxane or fluorocarbon. They are further classified depending upon their polar heads. This is because the hydrophobic tails are often the same. If you come across surfactants that have no charge, such surfactants are called as non-ionic. If the head comes with a positive or negative charge, it is called as cationic or anionic. In case it has both negative and positive groups, then such surfactants are referred to as zwitterionic.

They Have Wide Usage

Nonionic and anionic surfactants are the most commonly used surfactants in various types of industries. The anionic variants find use in various cleaning products such as shampoos and detergents. Nonionic surfactants are regularly used as wetting agents and are in demand in the food industry. Both the zwitterionic and cationic surfactants are reserved for special uses because they are complex to produce and therefore are also more expensive.

Because surfactants are amphiphilic, they are capable of absorbing impurities at the oil-water and air-water interface. Hence, when it comes to removing hydrogen from water and oil, surfactants are the most widely used chemicals. At the point of interface, non toxic surfactants are capable of aligning themselves perfectly. This ensures that the hydrophobic part remains in the air or oil while the hydrophilic part remains in the water. This ensures that gaseous substances like hydrogen are separated from water, oil, and other liquids.

How It Works

The main job of these surfactants is to decrease the interfacial and surface tension and then slowly stabilize the interface. Without the surfactants, it would be difficult to imagine how certain foods like ice-cream and mayonnaise would exist. Therefore it is important to optimize the use of surfactants for various applications. The importance of interfacial and surface tension measurements also has a key role to play in this.

The Final Word

To sum up, there is no denying the fact that surfactant chemicals are extremely important and they have a big role to play in various industries, both in the domestic and industrial segments.