DetailingWiki Newsletter
    Get free and automatic updates on new articles
    We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!

    Advertisement

What are surfactants

Written by:

Surfactants are additives for certain products to lower the surface tension of a liquid. This helps the liquid to mix and combine with another substance, making it easier to combine a mixture of several (types of) substances. This acts as an emulsion, wetting-agent, detergent, foaming agent and/or dispersants. Surfactants combine hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties, which allows them to interact with both types.

Why the need for surfactants

There are several reasons why surfactants have a definitive place in detailing. Lets say you want to combine 2 liquids, but they don’t mix very well – such as water and oil. A surfactant can act as an emulsifier, and make it possible to mix oil and water, to form one emulsion. This is often used to create QD’s.
The same principle applies for cleaning. When you wash your car, the shampoo/water mixture comes into contact with dust, dirt and other contaminants. The surfactants make it possible for the water to mix with these contaminants. This forms a water/shampoo/dirt mixture. Seeing as the water is more easy to safely remove (just rinsing is enough), the dirt is “washed” away along with the rest of the water. Without a surfactant, the water wouldn’t mix with the contaminant, and it would be very difficult to remove it safely and easily.

Are surfactants dangerous or bad

Surfactants are needed in many products. In wax it can help to combine oils that might be difficult to combine, in shampoo it helps to increase the cleaning power, foam and water solubility, in snowfoam it helps to foam, in polish it helps to mix different ingredients to a stable mixture. In fact, surfactants are very common in everyday life as well. Many cleaning products make use of surfactants to perform better at cleaning. A surfactant should not have a negative effect on a protective product, but it does have an effect on products like glazes and polishes.

Different related articles

  • Last Step Product (LSP)
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    A Last Step Product (LSP) is the product that you use in the last step of detailing. This is the "protection" part of detailing. The term is often used by people telling or asking what product was used to protect the achieved finish after a small or large detailing session. As abbreviations are popular, this term quickly become shortened into: LSP....
  • Smartwax
    Manufacturers
    Smartwax is an American brand of detailing products located in California. The brand was established around 2003 and has a fairly wide range of products that is being offered via several different resellers....
  • How to remove a ceramic coating
    Correction
    Ceramic coatings are very strong forms of protection, but they are not eternal. Eventually they need to be removed in order to prepare the surface for a brand new application of protection. This means the entire layer of ceramic coatings need to be removed....
  • What is a washmitt
    Washing
    A popular item to be used by detailers and valeters alike is the washmitt. This accessory allows you to safely wash off dirt and grime from a surface with a minimum risk of creating swirls. Thus preserving the finish you achieved after polishing and refining the surface....
  • Protecting a matte surface
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    When you have a matte wrap on your car, or just matte paintwork, you need to take care what protective product you are using. Protecting a matte finish is just as important as on a normal surface, but you need to be careful what you use....
  • WOWO’s
    Manufacturers
    WOWO's is a brand of detailing products from Glasgow, United Kingdom. The brand makes and sells detailing products varying from waxes to shampoo and other cleaners. WOWO's is fairly unique in that it is almost a one-man operation....
  • The carwash
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    Although carwashes are very popular, they are not the place where detailers are found. There is a reason why detailers don't like a carwash. The art called detailing/valeting is very different to the service that is offered by a carwash....
  • The best claylube
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    It is often asked on detailing fora and social media: "what is the best claylube". Off course there is a difference between certain products and brands, but it is important to know what you are asking. In this guide I will try to explain what the problem is with this question unless it is asked more in-depth....

Links to this article

There are no external links to this article. Yet.
Sidebar



Stay up to date with our free newsletter
Always be the first to know about new updates, articles and other informative content.
Don't miss out, opt in!
We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!