Carrie GraySeptember 15, 2020 AATCC Newsletter

Benefits of Standardized Reference Detergent

By Carrie Gray


Consumer laundry detergents have an unexpected vast landscape of ingredients, which can lead to problems in a laboratory setting. There are two main ingredients in laundry detergent, a surfactant and a chelating agent. Surfactants are the heavy lifters that lift away oil and dirt with their hydrophobic tails and allow them to rinse off due to their hydrophilic heads. Chelating agents are molecules that bind to calcium and other disruptive heavy metals that cause buildup. There are a variety of different surfactants and chelating agents, as well as builders and additives with their own unique chemistry Evaluating textiles can be difficult and unreliable with variable ingredient lists.


Laundry detergents are critical inputs for textile testing, so a standard detergent is essential when evaluating textiles. AATCC test methods related to appearance, dimensional stability, skewness, cleaning, or colorfastness to laundry rely heavily on the interaction between the fibers, dye, and the detergent.


Some test methods that require the use of standard detergents include:

AATCC TM88B Test Method for Seam Smoothness in Fabrics after Home Laundering,

AATCC TM88C Test Method for Crease Retention after Home Laundering,

AATCC TM124 Test Method for Smoothness Appearance of Fabrics after Home Laundering,

AATCC TM142 Test Method for Appearance of Flocked Fabrics after Home Laundering

AATCC TM61 Test Method for Colorfastness to Laundering: Accelerated

AATCC TM135 Test Method for Dimensional Changes of Fabric after Home Laundering

AATCC TM150 Test Method for Dimensional Changes of Garments after Home Laundering

AATCC TM171 Test Method for Carpets:  Cleaning of Hot Water Extraction

AATCC TM179 Test Method for Skew Change of Fabric after Home Laundering

AATCC TM207 Test Method for Seam Twist in Garments Before and After Home Laundering


Commercial laundry detergents often contain dyes, fragrances, and colorants for market appeal, which only add more variables for laboratory testing. Their formulation may also vary by region or time of the year. This can provide a challenge when consistency and limited variably is needed for test or lab comparison.


Color and cleanliness are important factors in evaluating textiles, so the detergent used should also be an important decision that yields reliable results. AATCC offers standard detergents to give more control when laundering.  AATCC provides a selection of detergents, including a powdered detergent with brightener, a powdered detergent without brightener, a liquid detergent for high-efficiency and traditional washing machines, and carpet detergent.  AATCC Standard Detergents are widely used and industry trusted.


When you purchase AATCC Standard Detergent, you can be assured of these benefits, which often are not available for commercial detergents.

Standard Detergent allows for comparison to past data

Safety Data Sheets provided with a detailed ingredients list

Consistent chemical formulation

AATCC detergent does not have any ingredients that are required for reporting under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, or California Prop 65


For more information, please visit or visit the products page.




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