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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 1, 2013

Formulation, Performance and Sustainability Aspects of Liquid Laundry Detergents

This paper is based on a presentation given at the CESIO 2013 – 9th World Surfactant Congress and Business Convention in Barcelona, Spain, 10 – 12 June 2013.

Formulierung, Leistung und Aspekte der Nachhaltigkeit von flüssigen Waschmitteln
  • Michael Dreja , Inga Vockenroth , Nicole Plath , Christine Schneider and Erika Martinez


In this study, we have investigated the development of liquid laundry detergent formulations over the past 10 years with regard to performance and sustainability profiles. We found that between 2001 and 2011, wash performance has significantly increased while at the same time the surfactant level was substantially reduced, leading to lower Global Warming Potential and improvements in all other relevant lifecycle indicators. One driver is the partial replacement of surfactants with other, more effective ingredients like enzymes that allow for additional performance dimensions and new consumer-relevant benefits. Future surfactant systems that help increase and support the stability and functionality of enzymes will further boost performance at low temperature, improve storage stability and enable more concentrated formulations at competitive costs.


Es wurden die Leistungsparameter und die Nachhaltigkeitsaspekte bei der Entwicklung flüssiger Waschmittelformulierungen in einem Zeitraum von 10 Jahren untersucht. Es wurde gefunden, dass die Waschleistung der Rezepturen zwischen 2001 und 2011 signifikant zugenommen hat, während gleichzeitig die eingesetzte Menge an Tensiden substantiell reduziert wurde. Dies hat zu einem insgesamt niedrigeren Global Warming Potential und zu Verbesserungen aller relevanten Lebenszyklus-Indikatoren geführt. Getrieben wurde dies durch den partiellen Ersatz von Tensiden durch andere, effizientere Bestandteile wie Enzyme, welche neue Leistungsdimensionen und für den Verbraucher relevante Vorteile ermöglichen. Daher sollten zukünftige Tensidsysteme dazu beitragen, die Leistung und die Stabilität von Enzymen zu unterstützen und somit die Leistung bei niedrigen Waschtemperaturen zu verbessern, um noch konzentriertere Formulierungen mit wettbewerbsfähigen Kostenstrukturen zu ermöglichen.

*Dr. Michael Dreja, Director International Research, Laundry & Home Care, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Henkelstr. 67, D-40589 Düsseldorf, E-Mail:

Dr. Michael Dreja (born 1970) studied chemistry at the University of Cologne, Germany and obtained his PhD in 1998 in physical chemistry with a thesis on polymerization in microemulsions. After postdoctoral research at the University of Washington, Seattle, he joined the Corporate Research department of Henkel KGaA in 1999. He worked in various positions in product development, including 2 years with the Dial Corporation – A Henkel Company in Scottsdale, AZ, USA. Since 2011, he is heading the International Research in Henkel's R&D Laundry & Home Care business. He is author of 50+ patents.

Dr. Inga Vockenroth (born 1980) has a PhD in biophysical chemistry from the University of Bath, UK in 2007 on the development of biomimetic membranes for biosensing devices. She worked at Henkel AG & Co. KGaA in the International Research group of the Laundry & Home Care department where she developed and qualified new raw materials for the detergents sector. Since 2013, she is responsible for the product development of automatic dishwashing detergents.

Dr. Nicole Plath (born 1982) studied chemistry in Bonn and received her PhD in 2011 from Prof. J. Spatz at the University of Heidelberg, where she worked in the area of biophysical chemistry on motor proteins on self-organized layers. Since then she works at Henkel AG & Co. KGaA in the International Research group of the Laundry & Home Care department. She is responsible for the investigation of surfactant properties and other detergent ingredients that contribute to primary washing performance, in close cooperation with material suppliers and universities.

Christine Schneider (born 1962) studied Industrial Engineering at the Technical University Berlin with a special focus on Environmental Technologies. After one year of research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Zurich, Switzerland, she continued her career at KPMG as Lead Auditor and Environmental Verifier. She joined Henkel in 2003 and worked in various managerial positions in corporate functions. Since 2010 she is responsible for the assessment of the Sustainability Profiles of Henkel's product innovations in the International Management Team of the Laundry & Home Care Business Unit in close cooperation with external stakeholders and universities.

Erika Martinez (born 1984) studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Specialized on Chemical and Biochemical Processes, she moved to the INP ENSIACET, France in 2009 where she made her final Master Thesis on biomaterials for use in the bone tissue engineering in collaboration with the Institute Carnot CIRIMAT. She joined Henkel in 2011 and since then she works in the Corporate Scientific Services as Life Cycle Assessment Manager where she performs environmental LCA on product level for the Laundry & Home Care Business Unit.


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Received: 2013-09-18
Revised: 2013-11-25
Published Online: 2013-05-01
Published in Print: 2014-03-17

© 2014, Carl Hanser Publisher, Munich

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