While the need to reduce environmental impact becomes increasingly pressing, leading to various product or process regulations (such as Eco-label or similar), there is also the necessity of facing and overcome unexpected technical challenges that arise every day. Often, stains on linen are caused by staining agents that come in contact with other chemical elements from different industrial sectors, especially from the cosmetics industry. Especially because the regulation for the cosmetics sector is one of the most debated ones in terms of active ingredients admitted in the composition of the final products that now approaches the complexity of that referring to drugs or biocides.

On the other hand, considering the wide range of pigments comprising the galaxy of makeup products, up to the creams that are used daily on the skin (from sunscreen to anti-aging creams), there are many critical issues that come with the residues left on the linen. Last but not least, but heavily impactful in the industrial sector, is the problem of polyquaterniums. Polyquaternium is a term used to indicate a group of surfactant polymers used in shampoos and hair products. One of these polymers, the most common one, is Polyquaternium-7. This polymer is used to moisturise, smoothen and seal damaged areas of the hair, to eliminate static electricity and to provide a silky feel to the hair.

Usually, shampoo or shower gel does not come into direct contact with textiles, but tests have shown that the protective film which is left on your hair or skin after washing with a Polyquaternium-7 containing product, is partially rubbed off by the towel during drying. These residues do not stain the textile as such, because Polyquaternium-7 is transparent and colourless. This makes it difficult for laundries to identify Polyquaternium-7-stained textiles prior to washing.

“What is polyquaternium
and which impact does it have on fabrics?”

Chemically, in detail, Polyquaternium-7 is a molecule of very high molecular weight consisting of up to millions of repeated linked units, each positively charged. Because of the size of the molecule and the high number of positive charges, it will tend to link strongly with the negatively charged textile surfaces. Due to the permanently positive charge of the quaternary ammonium groups, Polyquaternium-7 will act as a real “dirt-magnet” for the mainly negatively charged dirt, creating visible stains.  The problem is that, once the stains are formed, due to the very strong electrostatic bond between the polyquaternium-film and the dirt, it is nearly impossible to remove them. This can lead to significant quantities of out-of-use linen.

 

 

 

 

A market study performed by Christeyns showed that more than 60% of the hair and skin care products available in hotels contains Polyquaternium-7 and very often, hospitality customers are not aware of the potential issues that products containing polyquaternium, can cause.

If advising accommodation facilities to avoid purchasing products containing these active ingredients might seem inappropriate, is crucial instead to have another approach and act immediately in the washing cycle for prevention. In its research for the necessary innovative technical solutions, Christeyns has collected 60 different types of shampoos and shower gels used by certain hotel chains in different parts of the world discovering that out of these 60, 49 of them contained Polyquaternium-7.

“Blue Soap Liquid has a special polymer
that allows emulsification of polyquaternium
residues on fabrics”

After several months or even years of research, Christeyns has developed an innovative product called Blue Soap Liquid, which integrates a special polymer that surpasses the positive electrostatic charge capable of binding to any residues of polyquaterniums on textiles, shielding them and allowing their emulsification. Most importantly, such a product should act immediately from the first moments of the washing cycle so that it interacts before any contaminants. This product has also been engineered to provide a high whiteness degree as well as high efficiency while having a low surfactant content allowing it also to follow the path of low environmental impact. •

Christeyns Italia srl
Via Aldo Moro, 30
20042 Pessano con Bornago (MI) Italy
Tel. +39 02 99765200
www.christeyns.com info@christeyns.it

Edited by Marzio Nava
DETERGO Magazine # April 2024