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What is an emulsifier and what does it do?

Question: What is an emulsifier and where do I purchase it? Also, what purpose does an emulsifier serve in a laundry operation?

Answer: Emulsifiers are generally special surfactant detergents that mix with mineral oils and greases, but also have the ability to mix with water. By breaking down the oils or greases into very small particles, emulsifiers hold and disperse the soil away from fabrics. Once emulsified in the water, the oils and greases can be removed through dilution. Where you can purchase them depends on the volume you’re looking for. For small quantities you will find products in the retail market. For larger amounts contact a laundry chemical supply company.

Emulsifiers help to break up mineral oils or greasy soils in laundry operations. Laundering with the appropriate combination of alkali and detergents is what removes petroleum oils and greases from textiles. The alkali, in combination with oil loving surfactants, breaks the globules of oil and grease into very small particles. The emulsifying agents then surround the particles and give the appearance of a milky substance. Once emulsified and dispersed into water, the oils and or grease are removed by dilution.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Fire in Jail Laundry

DURHAM, N.C. — A fire in the laundry room at a County Jail in Durham damaged goods but required no evacuation. The fire, which originated in a dryer, damaged hundreds of uniforms. In addition to the lost goods, the jail’s laundry sustained water and smoke damage. The fire was extinguished by the sprinkler system that had been activated.