For those who work at companies that perform industrial cleaning services, “surfactants” is generally a familiar word. Surfactants also referred to as surface-active agents, are one important component of detergents. Each molecule of a surfactant contains a hydrophobic tail and a hydrophilic head. This allows surfactants to remove contaminants from surfaces, as their heads are attracted to water while their tails are attracted to oil, grease, and other types of dirt and debris.
Surfactants can be classified into 4 broad categories based on the charge of their hydrophilic heads. If you would like to learn about these 4 types of surfactants, keep reading!
4 Types of Surfactants
1. Cationic Surfactants
First up on our list of the 4 types of surfactants are cationic surfactants. Cationic surfactants have positively charged hydrophilic heads. They are often utilized to clean hard surfaces, as these normally have a negative charge, which causes the cationic surfactants to be attracted to them. Cationic surfactants are also found in disinfectants and anti-static additives.
2. Anionic Surfactants
Anionic surfactants are essentially the opposite of cationic surfactants: they have negatively charged hydrophilic heads. They typically contain a metal cation, such as sodium or potassium, and an anionic functional group, such as sulfonate or carboxylate. They are used in a wide variety of soaps, detergents, and other cleaning products, making them one of the most versatile types of surfactants.
3. Nonionic Surfactants
Next up on our list of the different types of surfactants are nonionic surfactants. Nonionic surfactants are neutral- that is, they do not have a positive or negative charge. They are great at emulsifying oils and are regularly used in conjunction with anionic surfactants.
4. Amphoteric Surfactants
Unlike the 3 types of surfactants listed above, amphoteric surfactants’ head groups can be either positive, negative, or neutral, depending on the pH of the solution they are in. These surfactants are not highly utilized in industrial products; rather, they are frequently found in cosmetics.
Shop Surfactants at BulkChemicals2Go Today
We have now discussed the 4 major types of surfactants. Are you looking to purchase surfactants for your company’s cleaning operations? Look no further than BulkChemicals2Go! We offer a wide range of industrial-strength chemical solutions, including surfactants, in convenient bulk sizes.
Still have questions about the types of surfactants discussed in this blog post? Contact us today by calling 800-563-1305 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!