Rheological additives for more efficient cleaning

Rheological additives for more efficient cleaning

Monday, 6 May, 2024

In the continuous quest to enhance the efficiency of cleaning products, a significant breakthrough has been made through the use of rheological additives specifically designed for cleaning products. These rheological additives enable the suspension of particles for extended periods, providing effective applications even on vertical surfaces and adding a body effect that ensures a deeper and longer-lasting clean.

Rheology and flow types

Rheological additives are chemical substances that alter the flow properties and viscosity of a liquid. There are three main types of flow: Newtonian, pseudoplastic and thixotropic.

Newtonian fluids, such as water or honey, maintain constant viscosity regardless of the force applied. Pseudoplastic and thixotropic fluids, however, decrease their viscosity with an increase in shear force, becoming more fluid when shaken. When the external force is removed, the fluid gradually recovers its viscosity. Pseudoplastic flow allows for quicker recovery of viscosity, while thixotropic fluids exhibit slower recovery in this respect.

Choosing the best additive

The right choice of rheological additive depends on various key parameters. Firstly, the desired rheological effect, whether pseudoplastic or thixotropic, will determine how the fluid behaves under different application conditions. This is vital to adapt to the specific needs of the process or final application.

The method for incorporating the additive – whether post-addition, during manufacturing or in a pre-gel format – must also be considered to ensure uniform distribution and optimal efficiency. Additionally, it is important to account for formulation constraints such as transparency, compatibility with other components and the relevant regulations, to ensure that the additive does not impact the desired properties of the final product and that it meets quality and safety standards. Careful selection of rheological additives according to these parameters ensures optimal performance and effective formulation across a wide range of applications.



One of the primary applications of these rheological additives in the cleaning sector is their ability to maintain particles in suspension more effectively. In conventional detergents, particles tend to settle over time, leading to uneven product distribution and reduced efficacy. However, with the incorporation of suitable rheological additives, these particles remain uniformly dispersed in suspension, ensuring consistent cleaning.


Figure 1: Particle suspension with rheological additives.

Another prominent feature of these additives is their ability to enable application on vertical surfaces. This is particularly useful for cleaning walls, ovens, bathroom tiles or any other vertical surface where gravitational forces can hinder the adhesion of the detergent. Rheological additives alter the viscosity of the liquid, allowing it to adhere better to vertical surfaces without running off, ensuring uniform product distribution and effective cleaning.

Figure 2: Vertical cleaning.

In addition to maintaining particles in suspension and enabling application on vertical surfaces, rheological additives also impart a body effect to the detergent. This means the product acquires a more viscous and gel-like consistency, enhancing its adhesive properties and prolonging its contact time with the surface to be cleaned. Consequently, a deeper, more durable clean is achieved, even in areas with embedded or hard-to-remove dirt.


The application of these rheological additives in detergents benefits consumers by improving the efficacy of cleaning products. Moreover, it also has a positive environmental impact. By maintaining particles in suspension and increasing cleaning efficiency, the amount of detergent required for each task is reduced, thereby decreasing the amount of chemical waste released into water and the environment.

Our represented company BYK has developed a broad range of rheological additives using various technologies to allow each formulator to find the most ideal solution. We offer hectorites, bentonites, amides, polyureas, polyacrylates and polyurethanes, among others.

If you would like further information or you wish to find out which rheological additive is best suited to your needs, please contact our team of technical sales advisors.

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