Palm Oil Developments No.46 (June 2007) p1-7

Palm-based Esterquats as an Active Ingredient in Fabric Softeners

HALIZA Abdul Aziz, Zainab Idris , SIWAYANAN, Parthiban , SALMIAH Ahmad

The search for renewable resources, specific requirements by certain ethnic communities and growing concern for the environment have increased interest in using plant-based raw materials in household consumer products. The fabric softeners market, which belongs to the luxury product category, is expanding proportionally with the Gross National Products (GNP) and living standards with an annual growth of 3%-8% globally. The Asian market has grown from 50 000 – 75 000 t in 2000 to 50 000 – 100 000 t in 2005 (Levinson, 1999) (Figure 1). The main ingredient in the formulation of fabric softeners is cationic surfactants, accounting for 23% of their global consumption (Dan Scheraga, 1998). With the development of new washing machines, having separate automatic dispensers for detergent and fabric softener, consumers are increasingly using softeners because they imparts softness, comfort and fragrance and sometimes, ease of ironing to their laundry. The general trends in fabric softeners is more concentrated products (15%), although the regular product (3%-8%) predominates in many markets in co-existence with the ultra-concentrate (25%-35%).

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