Glossary

Quaternary ammonium compounds

11.16.21

Substances derived from the ammonium cation (NH4+) with one or more hydrogen atoms being replaced by organic groups, and for most purposes prepared as a salt

(chloride, bromide, sulfate).  The nature of the organic groups determines the character and properties of any given quaternary ammonium compound.  Some possess disinfecting and deodorizing capabilities and are used in hard surface cleaners.  If more than one of the organic groups is fatty in nature, the quaternary ammonium compound is usually water insoluble.  Some of these compounds (such as ditallow dimethyl ammonium chloride) are used as the fabric softening and static control agent in rinse-added fabric softeners and detergent -containing fabric softener .  If at least one of the organic groups is fatty in nature, the quaternary ammonium compound is a cationic surfactant .