Skip to main content
Laundry outdoor

Innovation in Fabric Care: How Specialty Polymers for Laundry Fight Soils and Protect Clothes

Home care formulators must continue to develop innovative solutions in response to consumer demands and today’s trends, especially with the growing popularity of athleisure and difficult-to-wash synthetic or polyester fabrics. With high-performance polymers for laundry, Syensqo enables formulators to push the boundaries of conventional detergent technology and deliver superior soil release and protection formulations. Our range of soil release polymers also deploys anti-soil redeposition properties in both powder and liquid detergents for today’s most innovative soil-fighting and protective fabric care products.

"Athleisure continues to gain popularity as a lifestyle. Accordingly, we've seen a significant rise in the demand for fabric care formulations specially designed for superior care and protection of synthetic fibers, and we developed our Repel-O-Tex® range in response."

Max Chabert, Global Marketing Manager, Home & Hygiene at Syensqo

Unique Challenge of Synthetic Fabrics

Synthetics represent an increasingly large share of the global fibers demand, and athleisure continues to become more of a lifestyle than a trend. Unlike natural fibers, synthetic fibers such as polyester or mixed fabrics are intrinsically hydrophobic. Accordingly, synthetics naturally attract greasy, deep-penetrating stains that are challenging to remove. When greasy stains soak deep into the fibers such as motor oil, kitchen oil, sebum, fat or lipstick, they become progressively difficult to clean and also attract bacteria and smelly, relentless odors.  


Fighting Soils with Soil Release Technology

Similar chemical makeup and hydrophobicity are required to achieve exceptional soil release in fabric care, as this combination facilitates exceptional bondage between the soil release polymer and synthetic fibers. Our innovative soil release polymers simultaneously provide hydrophilicity to the fiber, which prevents future soil adhesion and grease penetration. Syensqo's Repel-O-Tex® range of soil release polymers is strategically designed with hydrophobic and hydrophilic components to effectively bind with synthetic fibers and simultaneously render the fabric’s surface more hydrophilic. This process reduces the adhesion of oily stains, prevents stains penetrating deep into the fibers and hinders further soil adhesion from other fabrics in the same wash. 


Sophisticated Fabric Care for Long-Term Protection

While releasing the initial stain from synthetics is a significant accomplishment, the most effective textile care polymers also provide fabrics with protection from soil redeposition. Because of their similar chemical composition, Syensqo's family of soil release agents also serves as fabric protection polymers to make each consecutive wash easier than the previous one. All of the solutions in the Repel-O-Tex® range easily absorb onto the fabrics and remain to deliver long-term protection. Additionally, this high-performance range also provides anti-graying properties, so whites stay white and colors retain their vibrancy. Surfactants such as Syensqo's Rhodasurf® 6 NAT MB and Rhodapex® ESB 70 NAT MB aid the breakdown of dirt within the wash and Repel-O-Tex® polymer prevents it from resoiling the clothes. With these effective soil release and anti-soil redeposition properties, formulators can deliver products that easily remove malodors that typically persist after the use of traditional detergents.   

Specifically, Repel-O-Tex® Crystal is a soil release agent with a broad temperature tolerance, ideal for simple, natural, anti-graying liquid laundry detergents with few chemicals. This liquid detergent polymer also prevents soil redeposition on fabrics to make each consecutive wash easier. Repel-O-Tex® SRP 6 is a powerful polymer for powder detergents that provides formulators with an excellent ingredient for active soil release and enhanced anti-soil redeposition. This economically efficient nonionic polymer is well-suited for synthetic and mixed fabrics. Repel-O-Tex® SF2 is an anionic, best-in-class detergency booster polymer specially designed for powder detergents that effortlessly release the toughest stains and soils. This special grade is compatible with the most difficult-to-wash polyesters and provides long-term protection against greasy soiling, even at a very low dosage. Additionally, Rhodasurf® 6 NAT MB and Rhodapex® ESB 70 NAT MB are emulsifying surfactants with a 100% natural origin and are ideal for eco-friendly detergents with exceptional cleansing.

For more information about specialty polymers for fabric care, contact our experts