What is its function and benefits?
Alcohol ethoxylates (AE) are a surfactant or surface active agent which is a substance that is used to change the surface tension of water to assist cleansing, wetting surfaces, foaming and emulsifying (the suspension of one liquid evenly within another). As non-ionic surfactants, AE do not have an electrical charge, which makes them resistant to water hardness deactivation. (Ref: Cleanright) As non-ionic surfactants, they are excellent grease removers that are used in laundry products, household cleaners and hand dishwashing liquids.
Alcohol ethoxylates (AE) have many desirable characteristics such as low to moderate foaming ability, superior cleaning of man-made fibres and tolerance of water hardness (Ref: HERA).
How does it work?
As a surfactant, alcohol ethoxylates (AE), when dissolved in water, give a product the ability to remove dirt from surfaces such as the human skin, textiles, and other solids. Alcohol ethoxylates is responsible for the steric hindrance reaction which prevents soil from redepositing on fabrics during the wash.
To know more about surfactants, visit its definition in the SIB Glossary.