HOUSEHOLD CLEANING TRENDS
cleaning chores compared to even split (17%), hired help (7%)
and my partner (2%).
Making cleaning simpler is a key attribute of the most successful cleaning products. Sales in the household cleaner category (which excludes segments like laundry and dish detergent)
rose less than 2% during the past year to $3.2 billion, according
to IRI, Chicago. All-purpose cleaner is far and away the biggest
segment within the category with sales of more than $1 billion.
Clorox holds the lion’s share in the segment at more than 33%,
well ahead of RB (12%), Colgate ( 11.3%), SC Johnson ( 9.7%) and
Procter & Gamble ( 9.3%).
What’s in There?
Whether you’re cleaning clothes, cleaning countertops or cleaning toilets, surface modification is the name of the game.
Evonik’s Andras Nagy explained how hydrophilic-hydrophobic
surface modification is an improvement over traditional surfactant systems. Evonik’s goal was to create a synthetic surface
similar to lotus leaves using water/solvent-based dispersions of
nanoparticles. Some of the benefits of these systems is that they
minimize cleaning frequency, are self-cleaning by rain or rinse-water, facilitate dust removal and can be renewed. These nano-dispersed systems are efficient on a range of surfaces and even
have applications as insect repellents.
Brij Moudgil of the University of Florida provided an up-
date on engineered particulate and surfactant systems for home
cleaning applications. He noted that allergy and respiratory prob-
lems account for 25% of emergency room visits in the US and are
the No. 1 chronic cause of school absenteeism. Moreover, there
are two million infections and 99,000 deaths due to infections
reported by hospitals each year. But using titanium dioxide and
polyhydroxy fullerenes (PHF), chemists create biocompatible,
biodegradable delivery systems that can control release antimi-
crobials and other actives on a variety of surfaces. These antimi-
crobial actives are transparent, kill all microbes, are easy to apply
and long-lasting, too, Moudgil maintained.
Chemistry has the been the backbone of cleaning innovations
for decades, but Corey Naab of DuPont Industrial Bioscience
insisted that biotechnology will play a critical role in future
“Our resources are contracting and our population is grow-
ing,” he reminded the audience. “Biotechnology holds the key to
solving our problems.”
He noted that bioengineering allows for production scale at
metric tonnes to deliver performance products for fast-moving
consumer goods. The stuff works too, as engineered amylase
greatly improves washing performance at 16°C.
Enzymes aren’t new to household cleaning formulas in the
developed world, but they can offer a world of advantages for
companies doing business in emerging markets. Joel Lampe
of Novozymes provided details on a survey and in-home test
among more than 500 consumers in India. He reminded attend-
ees how important it is to understand the needs of consumers
wherever they live. For example, the top five laundry priorities
for Indians are:
• Tough stain/soil removal (38%);
• Whiteness of white clothes (17%);
• Brightness of colored clothes (10%);
• Ease of rinse (8%); and
• Requires less scrubbing (5%).
When asked if they would purchase a formula that could take
away the most difficult stains better, 91% of consumers said they
intended to purchase such a formula and 82% were willing to pay
a premium. In measuring feedback on optimized formulations
with Novozymes’ enzyme solution versus a leading benchmark
detergent without enzymes, respondents preferred the enzyme
formula by a wide margin:
• Keeping white clothes white (51% preferred Novozymes
solution v. 25% no difference and 25% benchmark is better);
• Overall stain removal (48% preferred Novozymes solution
vs. 27% no difference and 25% benchmark is better);
• Quick removal of stains with little effort (41% preferred
Novozymes solution vs. 32% no difference and 27% benchmark
is better); and
• Cuffs & collar cleaning (48% preferred Novozymes solution
vs. 30% no difference and 22% benchmark is better).
Looking ahead, Lampe said the trend toward lower wash
temperatures favors a move toward enzymes, but biotechnology
alone isn’t the answer.
“For optimal detergent performance, you need surfactants
and enzymes,” maintained Lampe.“There is room for a marriage.”
On the topic of unlikely marriages, who knew that there’s a
link between consumers growing distaste for orange juice and
the household cleaning category? According to Steve Block of
Elevance, US orange juice demand has hit a 12-year year low
in the US falling 50% during that time to about 35 million gallons. But at the same time, lower orange juice supply has created
Enzymes and other newer ingredients can make it easer for consumers in
emerging markets finish their daily household chores.