detergent

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detergent

(dētûr`jənt, dĭ–), substance that aids in the removal of dirt. Detergents act mainly on the oily films that trap dirt particles. The detergent molecules have a hydrocarbon portion, soluble in oil, and an ionic portion, soluble in water. The detergent acts as an emulsifier, i.e., by bridging the water and oil phases, it breaks the oil into tiny droplets suspended in water. The disruption of the oil film allows the dirt particles to become solubilized. Soap, the sodium salt of long-chain fatty acids, is a good detergent although it has some disadvantages, e.g., it forms insoluble compounds with certain salts found in hard water thus diminishing its effectiveness, and in acid solutions, frequently used in industry, it is decomposed (thus precipitating the free fatty acid of the soap). Synthetic detergents were produced experimentally in France before the middle of the 19th cent. and were further developed in Germany during World War I. However, not until the 1930s were chemical processes developed that made production in quantity feasible in any country. Synthetic detergents were first developed for commercial use in the 1950s. Detergents are classified as anionic, or negatively charged, e.g., soaps; cationic, or positively charged, e.g., tetraalkyl ammonium chloride, used as fabric softeners; nonionic, e.g., certain esters made from oil, used as degreasing agents in industry; and zwitterionic, containing both positive and negative ions on the same molecule. Detergents are incorporated in such products as dry-cleaning solutions, toothpastes, antiseptics, and solutions for removing poison sprays from vegetables and fruit. Laundry detergent preparations may contain substances called builders, which enhance cleansing; however, phosphate-containing builders have been found to contribute to eutrophicationeutrophication
, aging of a lake by biological enrichment of its water. In a young lake the water is cold and clear, supporting little life. With time, streams draining into the lake introduce nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which encourage the growth of aquatic
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 of waterways and their use has been banned in many areas. Detergents that can be decomposed by microorganisms are termed biodegradable. Detergents are important chemicals used for enhanced petroleum recovery.

detergent

[di′tər·jənt]
(materials)
A synthetic cleansing agent resembling soap in the ability to emulsify oil and hold dirt, and containing surfactants which do not precipitate in hard water; may also contain protease enzymes and whitening agents.

detergent

a cleansing agent, esp a surface-active chemical such as an alkyl sulphonate, widely used in industry, laundering, shampoos, etc.
References in periodicals archive ?
specialty household cleaners market is driven by factors such as increased focus on hygiene among new age consumers, rising demand for green products, increased usage of convenient products and popular dependence on lifestyle and home experts.
Market Definition Categories and Segments For the purpose of this report, green cleaning products are classified under two broad categories: Green Household Cleaner Products: segments include dish/dishwasher detergents, all-purpose cleaners, tub/tile cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, household cleaner cloths, glass cleaners, floor cleaners and furniture polish, specialty cleaners/polish, rug/upholstery cleaners, drain cleaners, and oven/appliance cleaner/degreaser.
Household cleaners is one of the least frequently bought categories we have studied, with just over half of shoppers saying they buy once a month or less.
Historically, household cleaners have only been available in ready-to-use (RTU) bottles, creating a "use once and throw away" cycle.
The total market for household cleaners and polishes has experienced a period of stagnation since 1996.
The DAZZ Difference: A Household Cleaner that is Environmentally Responsible, Highly Effective, and More Economical
Paints, varnishes, household cleaners, adhesives, carpeting and tobacco smoke are other common VOC-emitters.
76 Wipes Still Hold Promise in Household Cleaner Sector They've been around for more than a decade, but wipes continue to post double-digit gains, according to a new study by Packaged Facts.
The Wal-Mart Effect Impacts Household Cleaner Sales Like nearly every other consumer product category, Wal-Mart has had a huge impact on household cleaner sales.
8% Cleaning Cloths Continue to Clean Up According to IRI, non-core household cleaner categories such as cleaner cloths and air fresheners have recorded substantial growth for the year ended Jan.
In the household cleaner category, consumers are looking for any type of product that makes household cleaning less of a chore.
Table 1-2: Green Household Cleaner & Laundry Products: Retail Dollar Shares by Category, 2007-2011 (in millions)

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