How stain remover works?

Category: Science

Stain removers and detergents that are used nowadays have enzymes which work to remove the organic stains while bleaching chemicals in stain removers remove the non-organic stains. These enzymes work in a simple way. It breaks the stains so that it will be easier for the enzymes to remove them by water or they are absorbed by these enzymes. These enzymes are present in a large amount to remove the stain quickly. Thinner also comes under the category of stain remover.

The most commonly used solvent is water which dissolves most of the stains. A stain can be removed easily if the cloth is soaked in water before the stain getting dry. But some stains are of different nature they do not dissolve in water even dipped in it earlier, when the stain is fresh. A satin of grease is made up of hydrocarbons which is removed by using the solvent made up of hydrocarbons. Other things like chocolate, butter stains when dissolved in the organic solvents they completely wash out. It works on the simple principle “like dissolves like”. So that solvent should be used which is very much same as the stain.

Fabrics can be wetted better with the help of surfactants. Now they surround the molecules present in stain and can easily drive them into the solution of surfactant and water. A molecule of surfactant is made up of long hydrocarbon line and a small polar head. These hydrocarbons chain surrounds grease and finally dissolves in water. So the stain gets removed by the process known as emulsification.

Chlorine, bleach, peroxides, borax are oxidizing agents and they work on the chain that has held the stain molecules together and finally breaks it and eats the stain. The small light stains that are left behind become water soluble and hence removed or washed out by water.

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