Why is There a Surfactant in my Wrinkle Releaser? August 05 2015

This one is for the science folks out there. Today we're going to talk about how wrinkle releasers work and some of the science that goes behind what we put into our Cold Iron wrinkle releaser.


What is a Wrinkle Releaser

The first question to ask is what is a wrinkle releaser? The reason we ask this question is because to understand why a wrinkle releaser works, you must first understand how it works.

Wrinkle releasers work by making water more viscous, and this is done by lowering the surface tension. We want our water to be more viscous because then the water can cover more of the fabric being treated by the wrinkle releaser. The wetter the fabric, the heavier it becomes and as gravity pulls out the fibers, the wrinkles – well they go bye bye. Surfactants lower surface tension and thus that is why we use a surfactant in our wrinkle releasers.


What Else do Surfactants Do?

Surfactants are used in a number of applications including detergents and emulsifiers. As far as products are concerned, you will see surfactants in everyday products such as dish soap, laundry soap and shampoo. In our wrinkle releaer, we're using a surfactant called Decyl Glcoside, and we're using it for its emulsifying properties. We recently wrote about Decyl Glucoside in another blog. 

Another term you may hear is wetting agent. Wetting agents are ingredients used to lower the surface tension of a liquid, and as a non-ionic surfactant, decyl glucoside may aid in this objective; however, in Cold Iron Wrinkle Releaser our main fabric relaxing ingredients are quaternary compounds. Quarternary compounds are a cation – positively charged – with a nitrogen atom at the center. We're sure you can't wait to hear more about these compounds, so stay tuned.


Did you know?

  • Anionic surfactants have a NEGATIVE head

  • Cationic surfactants have a POSITIVE head

  • Non-ionic surfactants have a No-charge head

Decyl Glucoside is a popular choice among health and personal care product companies like Natural Citizen because it is mild, and made from plants, specifically coconuts and corn. A lot of baby shampoos are using it these days because as a grease-cutter this non-ionic surfactant attaches itself to the grease molecules.

In our application – Cold Iron Wrinkle Releaser - we have a mixture of a vegetable fat (the fabric relaxers) and water. Vegetable fat behaves like oil, and we all know that oil does not mix well with water. So we use decyl glucoside as an emulsifier to help bond the vegetable fats with the water. If we did not use decyl glucoside the vegetable fats in the wrinkle releaser would clump up in the water/oil mixture.

So this is why you have non-ionic surfactants in your wrinkle releaser. But remember, it's just coconuts and corn.