Glossary

Fatty alcohol

11.16.21

Primary alcohols from C6 to C22, usually straight-chain, which is the type used by the detergent industry.

Modern detergents were initially based on surfactants made from fatty alcohol raw materials.  These include natural fats, oils, and waxes, and more recently high molecular weight alcohols have been produced synthetically from various hydrocarbon sources.   detergent alcohols may be converted to various surfactants, such as sulfates, commonly used in hair and carpet shampoos; ethoxylates, used in laundry and other household detergents and in institutional and commercial cleaning and processing applications; ethoxysulfates, used in light duty liquid detergents; and alcohol-based phosphate esters, used in a variety of more specialized applications.