Will the bleaching help me pass a UA



Under the collective term laundry detergent Mixtures of different substances in liquid, gel-like or powder form are referred to, which are used to clean textiles. They contain washing-active substances which are able to loosen soiling from textiles.

Types of detergents


  • Heavy duty detergent (also Cooking detergent are suitable for all temperature ranges (30 ° C to 95 ° C), most textiles and washing processes.
  • Color detergents are for washing temperatures from 30 ° C to 60 ° C.
  • Mild detergent are suitable for washing temperatures of 30 ° C and for hand washing. They do not contain bleach or optical brighteners, but instead contain more enzymes and soap. Higher temperatures destroy the enzymes it contains.
  • Special detergent for wool, silk, down, sports / membrane textiles, usually suitable for low temperatures.

The amount of detergent required for washing is determined by the hardness of the water and the degree of soiling of the laundry. In areas with high water hardness, certain ingredients are inevitably overdosed. Offer against it

the ability to dose the various components as needed.

General ingredients of detergents

All detergents contain the following components:

  • Surfactants are the main active ingredient in detergents. Anionic and nonionic surfactants are used.
  • Water softeners create soft water. This enables surfactants to develop their effectiveness better, as less lime soaps are formed. Zeolite A and sheet silicates in particular are used as water softeners. So-called builders support (among other functions) these mineral softeners. Water softeners prevent limescale build-up in the washing machine.
  • Washing alkalis increase the pH value of the washing liquor. This causes the fibers to swell and the dirt to be removed more easily.
  • Enzymes for removing protein and starchy stains. They work differently at low and / or medium washing temperatures and are destroyed (denatured) at high temperatures. (Amylases break down starch, lipases break down fats, proteases break down proteins and cellulases break down cellulose in order to reduce the roughness of cotton textiles.)
  • Dirt carriers keep the detached dirt in suspension or prevent it from being deposited on the laundry again. → Carboxymethyl cellulose coats cotton fibers against dirt.
  • Curd soaps and silicones regulate foam development as defoamers.
  • Fragrances cover up the inherent odor.
  • Adjusting agents such as sodium sulfate keep powder detergents in powder form during storage and serve as inexpensive extenders to increase profits. Detergent labeled concentrate contain less diluent. The active ingredients are less diluted.

Heavy duty detergent

Heavy duty detergent (Cooking detergents) are mostly powder detergents for textiles. They are suitable for all temperature ranges (30 ° C to 95 ° C), most textiles and washing processes. Heavy-duty detergents are losing importance in favor of Colored detergents. The amount of heavy-duty detergent required for washing is determined not only by how dirty the laundry is, but also by the hardness of the water. In areas with high water hardness, many ingredients are inevitably overdosed. Compare with modular detergents.

Additional ingredients
  • Bleaching agents remove colored dirt that cannot be washed out, e.g. B. from fruits or blood. There are bleaches based on hydrogen peroxide, such as. B. sodium perborate. They work particularly well at high washing temperatures.
  • Bleach activators increase the effectiveness of bleaches at low temperatures.
  • Optical brighteners are fluorescent substances that make white appear whiter. In the case of colored textiles, the brighteners can change the color impression.
  • Bleach stabilizers prevent the uncontrolled decomposition of the bleach during storage and when the detergent is used. Omnipresent traces of heavy metals promote the rapid release of oxygen. Phosphonates can bind the heavy metals.
  • Preservatives are usually not necessary, as there is hardly any micro-bacterial infestation in the powder detergent due to the lack of water.
ingredients heavy duty liquid detergent

In addition to the ingredients listed above, other substances are also used in heavy-duty liquid detergents.

  • Alcohols strengthen substances that have a cleaning effect and, in the case of liquid detergents, enable the surfactants to be dissolved; some of them also act as preservatives.
  • Preservatives protect detergents from microbacterial attack.
  • Water softeners that are soluble in the liquid detergent. → e.g. B. NTA, phosphonates, EDTA, no mineral softeners.

Color detergents

Color detergents are mostly powder detergents for textiles. They are suitable for all temperature ranges (30 ° C to 60 ° C), most textiles and washing processes. Colored detergents have gained market share compared to heavy-duty detergents.


In addition to the normal ingredients of a detergent, colored detergents contain:

  • Color transfer inhibitors to protect the color of textiles. You avoid the color of color on other textiles during the washing process.

In contrast to heavy duty detergents, the following substances are usually not present in colored detergents:

  • Bleaches, bleach activators, bleach stabilizers.
  • Optical brighteners. In the case of colored textiles, the brighteners can change the color impression.
  • Preservatives are usually not necessary for all powder detergents, as there is hardly any microbacterial contamination of the detergent due to a lack of water.

Mild detergent

In contrast to heavy-duty detergents, mild detergents for sensitive fabrics contain no brighteners and bleaching agents. Some mild detergents work without enzymes such as cellulase, which should be avoided if you want to keep dark clothes made of cotton, viscose or lyocell looking new for as long as possible.

Special detergent

Liquid special detergents for clothing made of synthetic materials (especially sports textiles), which have an unpleasant odor after a short period of wear, are relatively new.

Modular detergent

Modular detergent usually consist of three essential components of a heavy-duty detergent, the components are offered individually in a bag or box.

  • 1. The water softener ensures the adaptation to the respective local water hardness.
  • 2. The basic detergent without bleach corresponds to a mild detergent and is dosed according to the degree of soiling of the laundry.
  • 3. The bleach, which is only added in the case of heavy soiling and bleachable laundry; it turns the base powder into a heavy-duty washing powder.

They are more environmentally friendly than conventional powders, because with heavy duty detergents the amount of powder to be used is always determined by the prevailing water hardness. If the water is very hard, more detergent (with more integrated softener) is used than is necessary for the washing process.

Tandem system

The targeted application of compact heavy-duty detergents in association with compact colored detergents is sometimes referred to as a tandem system. The compact heavy-duty detergent powder is used for white laundry and at high temperatures, the compact colored laundry detergent for colored laundry. In general, these powder detergents do not use sodium sulfate as an additive. According to the Federal Environment Agency, the environmental compatibility of compact colored detergents comes close to that of modular detergents.


The beginning of washing probably only consisted of the use of the washing effect of the pure water, which was intensified by rubbing, hitting and kicking the laundry. In the Odyssey, Homer describes how Nausicaa and her playmates wash their clothes on the beach and place them in the sun to bleach.

A first type of detergent was in use in ancient Rome. Urine was collected, fermented to form ammonia, and the laundry was washed with it.

The Sumerians are considered to be the oldest civilized people who know how to make a soap-like substance from wood ash and oil. Cuneiform records report the weaving, fulling and washing of woolen fabrics. A detailed recipe has come down to us stating the proportions in which wood ash and oil must be mixed. This is also the first record of chemical reactions.

The saponification of fats and oils is also known from the Egyptians, Gauls and Teutons. However, such soaps are more likely to have been used in cosmetics and as remedies. Only the Greco-Roman doctor Galenos (130–200 AD) drew attention to the cleaning effect of soap.

Further reports on soap and its use are rare. Charlemagne promoted the soap boiler trade in the Frankish Empire. The Arabs, Spaniards, Italians and French brought the soap industry to its prime, as the olive tree was discovered as a source of raw materials. From the 14th century there were soap boiler guilds in Germany. But the soap was still a luxury item. Only the discovery of the technical production (Leblanc process and Solvay process) of soda, which is required for the saponification of fats, made soap cheaper.

At the beginning of the 20th century, soap was increasingly used in “automatic” detergents in combination with other components. In addition to the soap, these contained Builder, especially soda (sodium carbonate), water glass (sodium silicate) and sodium perborate. These substances saved the laborious task of bleaching the lawn. The brand name Persil of the Henkel company, introduced in 1907, is documented by its name: By of perborate and Sil of silicate.

From 1960 onwards, the laundry was increasingly switched from hand washing to machine washing, which was made possible by technical progress. This also made it necessary to change the detergent composition. Among other things, the hardness sensitivity had to be improved. Because the formation of Lime soaps, Compounds of soap with alkaline earth metals, reduces the washing power, makes the laundry hard and makes it wear out faster.

Gradually, the raw materials from which the soaps were made also changed. In Germany, tallow was the fat base for a long time, later palm oil and coconut oil were added. Over time, however, the products were made more and more on the basis of coal and petroleum. They were a forerunner Turkish red oils. In 1834 the chemist Friedrich Ferdinand Runge produced a "sulfonated oil" from sulfuric acid and olive oil, which was first used in the printing press. A manufacturer from Scotland bought the process and applied it using castor oil, which is cheaper there. A sulpho-ricin oleate was produced, which had a very good wetting effect and was particularly used in cotton dyeing. Even if this chemical was not used for cleaning, the use of the sulfo group instead of the carboxyl group, which is sensitive to water hardness, was recognized.

Development of modern detergents

The name surfactants for surface-active substances was proposed in 1964 by the chemist Götte, who worked at the Henkel company.

In the 1950s, the classic soap was increasingly replaced by tetrapropylene benzene sulfonate (TPS), which was produced on a petrochemical basis. This led to foam formation and a lack of oxygen in the waters, as TPS was only insufficiently degradable. This effect was intensified by the spread of washing machines in households and it became uncommon to give laundry to large laundries. A general overdose was the result. Soon, however, a new criterion for detergents came to the fore, biodegradability:

On September 5, 1961, the Detergents Act (Act on detergents in detergents and cleaning agents, see Federal Law Gazette No. 71 of 1961) was passed; It came into force at the end of 1964. This includes the December 1, 1962 Detergent Ordinance. From October 1, 1964, detergents and cleaning agents should only contain surfactants that are at least 80% biodegradable. More and more linear alkylbenzenesulfonates (e.g. sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate) have been used instead of the branched TPS, which is difficult to break down.

To support surfactants in their effect, mainly pentasodium triphosphate was used for water softening. In recent years, inorganic ion exchangers, such as zeolite A, which prevent overfertilization of water by phosphates, have become important. Other substances were added that improved the washing effect.


In 1907 the first modern laundry detergent with the name Persil (Henkel) was produced in Germany, some sources, especially on the Internet, wrongly mention the year 1909. The name was made up of sodiumBYborate and SILikat together. Sodium perborate bleached stains and silicate transported detached dirt. In 1936 production had to be temporarily stopped because the import of silicates was restricted due to the war and these were primarily needed for the manufacture of ammunition.

In 1932 Heinrich Gottlob Bertsch (1897–1981) invented the first fully synthetic mild detergent in Chemnitz. Many former GDR citizens still remember it under the name Fewa. In the early 1950s, FEWA advertised in West Germany with the slogan: "Now back in peace quality".

In 1960 the easily biodegradable surfactants are introduced to reduce the foam mountains in rivers and weirs.

In 1968, enzymes against dirt were introduced. These ensure the faster breakdown of protein, fat and starch.

1986 new phosphate-free detergents relieve the over-fertilized waters.

In 1992 the color detergent for colored laundry was introduced. These contain no bleach and reduce the transfer of color between the individual items of laundry.

In 1994, new super concentrate detergents came onto the market, of which only half the usual dosage was needed. In this way, rivers and water bodies are protected from excessive amounts of filler salt.

See also


Older literature

  • W. Kling: Physics and chemistry of washing. Angewandte Chemie 62 (13/14), pp. 305-311 (1950), ISSN 1521-3757

Current literature

  • H. G. Hauthal, G. Wagner: Cleaning and care products in the household. Chemistry, application, ecology and consumer safety. Publishing house for the chemical industry, Augsburg 2003, ISBN 3878462301
  • Michaela Wilke: Laundry detergent. From soap to ready-made powder. In: Scientific review. 10/57/2004, pp. 544-555, ISSN 0028-1050

Categories: Chemical group | cleaning supplies