Sodium olefin sulfonate: a versatile surfactant for household and industrial use

Sodium olefin sulfonate, also known as SOS, is a remarkable compound that has found its way into countless households and industries around the world. This versatile surfactant offers a wide range of applications, from cleaning products to personal care items. In this article, we will delve into the world of sodium olefin sulfonate, exploring its properties, uses, and why it’s a popular choice for many manufacturers.

What Is Sodium Olefin Sulfonate?

Sodium olefin sulfonate is a synthetic surfactant derived from natural sources such as coconut oil or petroleum. It is known for its excellent foaming and cleaning properties, making it a key ingredient in various products.

Applications in household products

Sodium olefin sulfonate is commonly found in household cleaning products, including dishwashing detergents, laundry detergents, and all-purpose cleaners. Its ability to reduce surface tension and lift away dirt and grease makes it a crucial component in these formulations.

When used in dishwashing detergents, it helps break down stubborn food residues, ensuring sparkling clean dishes. In laundry detergents, it aids in removing stains and maintaining the brightness of fabrics. Furthermore, all-purpose cleaners containing sodium olefin sulfonate effectively clean a variety of surfaces, from countertops to bathroom tiles.

Personal care products

Another significant application of sodium olefin sulfonate is in personal care products. You can find it in shampoos, body washes, and hand soaps. Its foaming properties create a luxurious lather, giving consumers a satisfying sensory experience during their daily hygiene routines.

Moreover, sodium olefin sulfonate is gentle on the skin, making it suitable for a wide range of skin types. It effectively removes impurities and excess oils without causing irritation, making it a popular choice in skincare products as well.

Industrial uses

Beyond household and personal care products, sodium olefin sulfonate has significant industrial applications. It is utilized in the production of agrochemicals, textiles, and even in the oil and gas industry.

In agrochemicals, sodium olefin sulfonate is employed as a dispersing agent, helping to evenly distribute pesticides and herbicides on crops. In the textile industry, it aids in the removal of sizing agents from fabrics during the finishing process. Its use in the oil and gas sector includes applications such as enhanced oil recovery.

Environmental considerations

Sodium olefin sulfonate is known for its biodegradability, which is a crucial factor in today’s environmentally conscious world. It breaks down into harmless byproducts, reducing its impact on aquatic ecosystems when used in household and industrial settings.

Sulfonate: The Key Component

The sulfonate group in sodium olefin sulfonate is what gives it its exceptional surfactant properties. This group contains a sulfur atom bonded to three oxygen atoms and a carbon atom. This unique arrangement allows the compound to interact effectively with both water and oil, facilitating the removal of dirt and grime from surfaces.

Why Choose Sodium Olefin Sulfonate?

There are several reasons why sodium olefin sulfonate is a preferred choice for manufacturers:

  • Effective cleaning and foaming properties
  • Biodegradability
  • Versatility in various applications
  • Gentle on the skin
  • Proven track record in household and industrial settings


Is sodium olefin sulfonate safe for the environment?

Yes, sodium olefin sulfonate is considered safe for the environment as it is biodegradable and breaks down into harmless byproducts.

Can I find sodium olefin sulfonate in organic or natural products?

While sodium olefin sulfonate is derived from natural sources, it may not be found in products labeled as „organic” or „natural” since these products often adhere to strict ingredient criteria.

Is sodium olefin sulfonate suitable for sensitive skin?

Yes, sodium olefin sulfonate is gentle on the skin and is suitable for various skin types, including sensitive skin.


Sodium olefin sulfonate, with its exceptional surfactant properties, has become an indispensable ingredient in a wide range of household and industrial products. Its effectiveness in cleaning, biodegradability, and versatility make it a top choice for manufacturers seeking to create high-quality, environmentally friendly products. Whether you’re washing dishes, taking a shower, or working in an industrial setting, you may very well be benefiting from the remarkable properties of sodium olefin sulfonate.

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