Liquid detergent has an increasing demand in North America, Western Europe, and Southeast Asia countries owing to its convenience to use and efficiency to clean. Alpha methyl ester sulfonates (α-MES), an anionic surfactant derived from palm oil based methyl ester, was reported to have lower manufacturing cost, good detergency with less dosage, excellent biodegradability, higher tolerance to hard water, and lower eco-toxicity as compared to linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (LABS). LABS was known as the workhorse of the detergent industry in the 20th century. Although palm-based α-MES was successfully used as the sole surfactant in powder detergent, there are still some unsettled technical issues related to phase stability and viscosity when using this anionic surfactant in heavy-duty laundry liquid detergent formulations. This paper will review not only the market overview of detergents, the application and performance of green surfactants in laundry detergents but also will highlight the technical issues related to the application of palm-based α-MES in laundry liquid detergent and some of the possible methods to overcome the formulation adversities.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.