Detergent is a kind of cleaning agent that is primarily intended for cleaning, bleaching, softening and disinfection of textiles in various qualities water and temperatures.
Laundry detergent is marketed mostly in solid form as a powder but washing liquids are also available. Laundry detergent characteristics are key selling points; they indicate if the detergent can be used for washing foods, its best effective range of temperature, its stain removal properties and its implications for people with allergies as well as its impact on the environment.
The first detergent for household use, Persil, was marketed for the first time on June 6th 1907 by Henkel & Cie in Dusseldorf. Nowadays, most detergents are manufactured synthetically, but until the 1950s, soap flakes, produced from animal and vegetable oils, were still common.
To write an interesting and argumentative research paper on the topic you should know that laundry detergents are marketed in different forms, in powder, liquid, gel, packaged as tablets, cereals and so on. Liquid detergents besides regular laundry can be used to pre-treat stubborn stains.
Laundry detergents can also be divided into groups of whites and coloreds. The difference between them is mainly in the fact that white laundry detergent contains bleach to bleach away stains and preserve white color. Colored detergent is designed for colored textiles and contains no bleach, as this would quickly damage colored clothes. Earlier white laundry detergent contained frequently optical brighteners, which would do the laundry looked shiny white, but due to environmental reasons, these are now rare. Optical brighteners or bleaches are no real bleach but rather a dye that gives a greater impression of whiteness through fluorescence.
Such detergents are differently effective at different temperature of the wash water. Different ingredients have different optimal temperature. TAED (Tetra Acetyl Ethylene Diamine) is an activator that allows full washing and bleaching effect, which is achieved by using white laundry detergent at lower temperature than without activator (60 degrees instead of 90, is often said). Enzymes in normal detergent will often work best at temperatures around 50 degrees. Below about 60 degrees more microorganisms survive (such as spores from athlete’s foot). Consumer Agency recommends individuals a wash temperature of 60 ° C for bed linen to be clean after the laundry.
Phosphates was long an important ingredient in detergents, it seems that among other things thy played a role of water softeners and plasticizers.
Phosphates can be collected in sludge collectors at treatment plants, but in rural areas there are many households that are not connected to sewage treatment plants. Phosphates from such households contributes to the eutrophication of lakes and streams and phosphate detergent has been completely banned in some countries, including Sweden and Germany. Phosphate-free detergents contain instead often siliceous clays, zeolites, detergents (soap-based detergent) which are generally considered better for the environment.
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