First Stage of the Development of an Eco-Friendly Detergent Formulation for Efficient Removal of Carbonized Soil


Detergent formulations for cleaning a carbonized soil-degreasers-typically comprise surfactants, organic solvents, phosphate-based cleaning agents, and alkaline agents, which results in high pH values (>11) that raise human and environmental risks. It is important to develop eco-friendly and safer degreasers, while maintaining their cleaning efficiency. In this work, simple degreaser formulations, with a pH below 11 and without phosphates, were developed by using a mixture of solvent, surfactant, and water to remove carbonized soil. The efficiency of the new degreaser formulations (with 5 wt% solvent, 5 wt% nonionic or ionic surfactant, and 90 wt% water) was evaluated by an abrasion test in the removal of carbonized soil from ceramic and stainless steel surfaces and compared with a commercial product. The results obtained show that the formulations comprising isopropylene glycol (IPG) with C-11-C-13 9EOs and diethylene glycol butyl ether (BDG) with octyltrimethylammonium octanoate ([N-1118][C8O2]) present the best cleaning efficiency for both surfaces. The composition of these formulations was optimized for each surface using a mixture design. The resulting formulations, despite having a simpler composition, a pH lower than 11, and being phosphate-free, presented a cleaning efficiency equal or slightly higher than the commercial control. These results show that it is possible to design degreasers that are much less aggressive to the environment and user, while simultaneously fulfilling the market requirements.

subject category

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Chemistry


Fernandes, APM; Ferreira, AM; Sebastiao, M; Santos, R; Neves, CMSS; Coutinho, JAP

our authors


This work was partly developed within the scope of the project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, UIDB/50011/2020, UIDP/50011/2020 and LA/P/0006/2020, financed by national funds through the FCT/MECTES (PIDDAC). The authors would like also to thank the European Union-European Structural and Investment Funds, Portugal 2020, Interface Program and Compete 2020 for the financial support of the research project POCI-01-0247-FEDER-045304-TGbaixopH. C.M.S.S.N. also acknowledges FCT for the CEEC Individual contract (CEECIND/01975/2017).

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