Streaks, An Age-Old Problem

Have you been struggling to formulate a high-performance cleaner that doesn’t leave a noticeable residue? Stepan developed two high-active alkoxylates to solve this age-old problem.

Stepan Solves an Age-Old Problem Through Curiosity and Technical Collaboration

As hard surface cleaners dry, they leave behind traces of residue from surfactants and other ingredients, along with any unremoved soils. When you look closely at the cleaned surface, especially high-energy surfaces such as glass and ceramic tile, the residues are evident as a film or streaks. Nonionic surfactants are particularly prone to film/streak issues. Consequently, they tend to be used sparingly in hard surface cleaners for these surfaces, even though they are known to provide very good cleaning of greasy soils.

We investigated the hard surface cleaning market and found that without having a suitable solution for the film/streak issue, nonionics would have limited value for many household products. Our dedicated alkoxylate research and development team thought this would be a great opportunity to flex our muscles and tackle this issue. Stepan’s Alkoxylate team is focused on generating a deeper understanding of structure-function relationships to not only bolster our alkoxylate portfolio, but also develop novel solutions for the hard surface cleaning market.

We screened a large number of alkoxylates, studied their behavior and related it to their molecular structure to understand what drives good and poor performance. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) was used to understand what the cleaners’ resulting films are and learn the origin of the effects.

A strategic group of scientists joined the Alkoxylate team to brainstorm over the resulting data. Bringing together diverse technical and application experience, this cross-functional team identified a flexible solution that allowed us to create a targeted nonionic surfactant technology. This resulted in Stepan’s Low Film/Streak solutions, BIO-SOFT® LFS-04 and BIO-SOFT LFS-07. These two high-active alkoxylates provide the low filming and streaking performance that had been missing in the market.

The BIO-SOFT LFS-Series finds utility in multi-purpose and multi-surface products – from tackling tough dirt and grime to cleaning windows and countertops. Keep in mind, however, that every formulation is different. It can be difficult to achieve a low film/streak appearance and some common ingredients can worsen it. Stepan is here to help guide your formulation development. Contact us to start collaborating. 


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