A surfactant is an organic compound that is amphiphilic, containing both water-soluble and water-insoluble components. Surfactants are key ingredients in consumer and industrial cleaning compounds — such as detergents, cleansing or wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming or defoaming agents, viscosity builders, degreasers or dispersants.

Stepan Company offers a broad range of surfactant chemicals, including a full line of anionic, cationic, nonionic and amphoteric surfactants, as well as surfactant blends and specialty esters. We also create custom surfactants and formulated blends to meet unique customer demands.

Our Expertise

Stepan is one of the world’s largest merchant producers of surfactants, with more than 2,000 employees and 18 manufacturing locations worldwide. We provide surfactants expertise for commercial and industrial applications — ranging from a foaming agent for shampoo, to emulsifiers for agricultural insecticides, to agents used in oil recovery.

Stepan developed the continuous falling film sulfonation process, which yields high-quality, low-color surfactants in a variety of concentrations. Our core competencies include emulsification, esterification, amidation, quaternization, alkoxylation, peroxidation and sulfonation.

Stepan continuously develops proprietary processing technology and application expertise to meet the ever-changing needs of customers and global markets.

Learn more about Stepan’s global manufacturing strengths.


Stepan engages in responsible business practices that deliver sustainable value to our customers, stockholders, employees and the communities in which we operate. We are committed to profitable growth through disciplined investment, continuous improvement, operational excellence and innovation. Stepan is also dedicated to understanding current and future regulations and directives and the continually changing landscape of certification standards.

Our surfactants are designed to meet needs of our customers in various markets. Many of our products are based on renewable raw materials. Stepan’s Biorenewable Carbon Index (BCI) allows greater transparency of percent biorenewable carbon, VOC emissions, biodegradability, and other features of Stepan surfactants.


View all surfactant chemicals by Stepan Company.