AOS stands for “Alpha Olefin Sulfonate,” and it is indeed a common ingredient used in detergents and cleaning products. It is a surfactant, which means it helps to reduce the surface tension of liquids and allows them to mix more easily. AOS is derived from natural fatty acids, usually sourced from coconut or palm oil.
AOS has several properties that make it suitable for use in detergents:
1. Emulsification: AOS is an effective emulsifier, which means it helps to mix substances that would otherwise not mix well, such as oil and water. This property is particularly useful for removing oily stains from fabrics and surfaces.
2. Foaming: AOS produces stable and persistent foam, which is important for creating the frothy lather we associate with many cleaning products. This foaming action helps to lift dirt and grime from surfaces.
3. Detergency: AOS has strong detergency characteristics, meaning it can break down and remove dirt, grease, and other particles from surfaces. Its ability to reduce surface tension helps water to penetrate and loosen dirt, making it easier to clean.
4. Compatibility: AOS is compatible with a wide range of water hardness levels, which is important for maintaining its effectiveness in different water conditions.
5. Biodegradability: Many formulations of AOS are biodegradable, which means they can break down naturally over time and are less harmful to the environment compared to some other surfactants.
Because of these properties, AOS is commonly used in laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids, shampoos, and other cleaning products. Its versatility and effectiveness have made it a popular choice in the formulation of various household and industrial cleaning solutions.