Different types of chemical used in washing

Chemicals Used in Washing

Garment washing is a process that involves the use of different types of chemicals to achieve different effects on the fabric. The use of chemicals in washing clothes is essential to produce the desired effect on the fabric. Types of chemical used in washing clothes and their functions.

Chemicals Used in Washing

Types of Chemicals Used in Washing:

  • Enzyme
  • Detergent
  • Acetic Acid
  • Wetting Agent
  • Desizing agent
  • Hygroscopic Agent
  • Whitening Agent
  • Antistain
  • Bleaching powder
  • Sodium hyposulfite
  • Caustic Soda
  • Soda Ash
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Potassium permanganate
  • Cationic / nonionic Flax softener
  • Micro Emulsion Silicon
  • Salt (sodium chloride)
  • Buffer
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Stabilizer
  • Fixing agent
  • Catanizer
  • Optical Brightener
  • Resin
  • Sodium Metabisulphite
  • Meta by sulfite,
  • Weight giving agent,
  • Waterproofing agent,
  • Anti-back-stain,
  • Potash,
  • Leakage,
  • Phosphoric acid,
  • Hypo,
  • Ant mildew agent,
  • Bio polishing.

Enzymes are biological catalysts used in garment washing to break down the fibers’ surface to give a softer feel to the fabric. There are different types of enzymes used in garment washing, such as cellulose, amylase, and protease. Cellulose is used to remove the surface fuzziness and make the fabric smooth, while amylase is used to remove the starch from the fabric. Protease is used to remove protein-based stains from the fabric.


Acid is another type of chemical used in garment washing to create an acid wash effect on the fabric. Acid wash effect gives the fabric a faded and worn-out look. Acid is used to bleach the fabric, and the intensity of the acid wash effect depends on the concentration of acid used in the washing process.


Bleach is a chemical used in garment washing to lighten the color of the fabric. Bleach is used to create a bleached or stonewashed effect on the fabric. The intensity of the bleaching effect depends on the type of bleach used and the concentration of bleach used in the washing process.


Softeners are chemicals used in garment washing to make the fabric feel softer and smoother. Softeners are typically added to the final rinse of the washing process, and they improve the feel of the fabric.


Silicones are chemicals used in garment washing to create a water-resistant and stain-resistant effect on the fabric. Silicones are applied to the fabric through a spray or dipping process.


Resins are chemicals used in garment washing to create a stiff and crisp effect on the fabric. Resins are typically applied to the fabric through a dipping or spraying process. Resins are used in garment washing to create a stiff and formal look on the fabric.


Neutralizers are chemicals used in garment washing to balance the pH level of the fabric after the use of acid or bleach. Neutralizers are added to the final rinse of the washing process to prevent damage to the fabric.

Flashing Agent:

Chemicals that are used to make clothing or garments whiter are called bleaching agents. Basically, we use these chemicals to wash clothes for white clothes to achieve more whiteness like optical brighteners, 4bk, etc.

Wetting agent:

The agent used to increase the wetting property of the garment is called a wetting agent. We use this chemical in the washing bath to soak the clothes properly so that the washing chemicals are easy to use and work properly. Example: Lisbon.

Detergent Silicone:

Detergents are chemicals that remove stains from clothing during washing. There are many types of detergents such as acidic detergents and alkaline detergents.

Hygroscopic agents:

Agents which can readily absorb water from nature are called hygroscopic agents. When the environment is very heavy we use such agents to remove excess moisture from clothes. Example: Calcium Chloride, Amylopectin etc.

Fixing agent:

The agent used to fix the dye to the fabric is called fixing agent. In case of garment dyeing, we use this agent after finishing dyeing.

Softening Agents:

Such chemicals are used in garment washing to soften clothes which are widely used in the garment washing sector. Because hand feel is a big factor in washing clothes. Different types of softening chemicals are used in washing clothes. Among these, cat-ionic and nonionic softeners are mostly used. For colored garments we use a cat-ionic softener and for white garments we use a nonionic softener. The fabric softener is working inside the cellulose.

Defoaming agent:

Agents used in garment washing to reduce foam from garments are called de-foaming agents. We use this chemical when excess foam is produced in dyeing or washing baths.


It is used for final finishing of garments. Silicon provides excellent smoothness; Nice durability and a good hand feel to the garment. Silicon is a metal but has high lubricant properties.

Abrasion Strength Improver:

After using these types of washing chemicals, the scrubbing speed will increase.

Sequestering Agents:

It is used in washing clothes to process calcium and magnesium ions dissolved in water. These ions are hindering wet processing resulting in the pinhole effect.

Meta by Sulfite:

It is a neutralizing agent used in garment washing to oxidize the garment. After using potash and bleach on clothes, we used this agent to neutralize them. It helps to achieve a red tone in the clothes.

Weight Gaining Agents:

A chemical that adds weight to a fabric is called a weight giver. Such agents are attached to clothing that will not be removed by normal washing or laundry.

Waterproofing Agent:

Chemicals used in washing clothes to prevent water absorption are called water-absorbing agents. Example: PVC.

Acid Enzymes:

Acid enzymes work in acidic medium which means when the water is in an acidic condition (PH range 5-5.5) and at a relatively low temperature (45-50 degrees Celsius). We have to control the activity of this enzyme by checking the pH of the washing bath by adding acid or base. In the garment washing bath, we select enzymes based on the shade of the garment. This enzyme is available in liquid form.

Stiffening agent:

Such chemicals are used in washing clothes to increase the strength or stiffness of the clothes. Examples: resin, silicate and melamine.

Chlorine Bleach:

Chlorine bleach contains a different percentage of chlorine. Its activity depends on the chlorine percentage. Chlorine bleach is also of two types namely sodium hypochlorite and calcium hypochlorite.

Calcium hypochlorite:

Calcium chloride is a type of chlorine bleach. The basic difference between sodium hypochlorite and calcium hypochlorite is that sodium hypochlorite is liquid and calcium hypochlorite is powder. Powder form is easy to handle and transport. It is a widely used washing chemical for water treatment. The chemical has greater availability and stability than sodium hypochlorite.

Sodium hypochlorite:

Its chemical formula is NaOCl. It is produced by the reaction of sodium hydroxide and chlorine gas.

Hydrogen Peroxide:

It is widely used in washing clothes. It is a good oxidizer and is used as a bleaching and cleaning agent. Sometimes it is used as a neutralizing agent. It is also highly flammable.


Anti-back-stain helps prevent back-stains from water in garment washing. In bulk wash, we have to use different chemicals and for the effect of chemicals, the color is washed out of the clothes. Those colors can come back into the garment, especially in the pocket area. Anti-back satin is used to protect those colors.


It is a strong alkali, also a cleaning agent. In garment washing bath, we have to use it for color removal and cleaning. After using this chemical the pH value will increase. It is also used as a de-sizing agent.


Potash is a strong oxidizer. Primarily wee, this chemical is used in washing clothes to remove color from seating and local areas that have previously been scraped. Its chemical name is potassium permanganate. Its color is red. We use this chemical in garment washing by mixing it with water to make a solution. After making the solution, spray it on the clothes.


It is an alkaline substance used to remove color. Its pH is also high. We have used this chemical as a de-sizing, cleaning and scouring agent. Both caustic and soda are same but soda is used to achieve red tone and caustic is used for blue tone.

Acetic acid:

It is a type of acid that has various uses in garment washing plants. We used this chemical to control pH and for cleaning purposes.


It is a type of enzyme used in garment washing to achieve gray cast color. It is in powder form. It is a special type of enzyme. We used Futo Enzyme when garments looked too blue but needed a red or gray tone.

Phosphoric Acid:

It is a type of acid specially used for active oxidizers. It is used in potash mixtures. If we add phosphoric acid to the potash solution, the potash will become more active.


It is a powerful neutralizing agent. We used this chemical to neutralize the clothes after using any oxidizer. It is used to achieve blue tones in clothing.

Mildew agent of ants:

Chemicals that protect clothing from mold and mildew are called anti-mildew agents. Example: Zinc chloride.

What is acid wash? Acid wash process on denim jeans?

Different types of garments wash. Advantage and disadvantage