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Formulating Car Care Products.

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Here's a wide range of formulation ideas to rev up your product introductions
FOR CAR enthusiasts, maintaining the exterior and interior of a car can be one of life's great joys.
But formulating cleaners, waxes and degreasers can be a problem. Here are some ideas to
consider when formulating car care products.
Car care products can be divided into two categories: exterior and interior products. A variety of
products from each category exist on the market. Products that fall into the exterior segment include
presoaks, wash soaps, wash and wax, whitewall tire cleaners, engine cleaners/degreasers,
windshield washers and windshield care products, drying aids, foaming drying aids, car polishes
and tire dressing.
Interior car care products include plastic and vinyl cleaners and polish, leather polish and
protectant, upholstery and carpet shampoo, upholstery and carpet shampoo with odor absorber, car
interior deodorizer spray and car interior windshield cleaner with anti-fogging effect. This article
details how to formulate all of these products and provides starting formulations to assist the car
care product formulator.
Presoaks
Generally speaking, detailers are the biggest users of presoaks. A good presoak will loosen up the
dirt, grease and road film from the car surface and make it ready for the car washing soap. The
presoak is applied to the car and left on for 10-30 minutes. It may or may not be rinsed before
applying the car wash soap. A standard presoak formula will contain good builders, surfactants with
excellent wetting and penetrating properties and perhaps some solvents such as glycol ethers. The
pH is adjusted at 9-12.
Most presoak formulas have a high pH and contain fair amounts of electrolytes such as
phosphates, carbonates and silicates. The surfactants suitable for this application must meet two
important requirements: They must be stable in high pH as well as in high electrolyte environment.
Maintaining pH stability is more important because the electrolyte stability can be compensated by
the addition of an appropriate hydrotrope such as sodium xylene sulfonate. Most amphoterics have
good alkali stability. In fact, amphoterics are stable in alkaline as well as acidic solutions.
Ethoxylated amines include coconut amine with five moles of ethylene oxide or tallow amine with 10
moles of ethylene oxide, amine oxides such as lauramine oxide or cocamine oxide,
cocamidopropylhydroxy sultaine and amphoterics such as sodium cocoamphopropionate, all of
which are good examples of the surfactants that can be used in presence of electrolytes as well as
in high and low pH applications. Here are some starting formulas to consider when developing
presoak products:
Presoaks with Phosphates
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 87.0
TKPP 10.0
Sodium cocoamphopropionate 3.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 88.0
STPP 8.0

Cocamidopropyl 4.0
hydroxysultaine
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 90.0
STPP 8.0
Tallowamine ethoxylate (10 mole) 2.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 87.0
TKPP 5.0
Sodium cocoamphopropionate 3.0
Monoethanolamine 2.0
Glycol ether EB 3.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Non-Phosphate Presoaks
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 88.0
Tetrasodium EDTA 2.0
Sodium carbonate 4.0
Sodium metasilicate 3.0
pentahydrate
Tallowamine ethoxylate (10 mole) 3.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 90.0
Tetrasodium EDTA 3.0
Sodium carbonate 2.0
Sodium metasilicate 2.0
pentahydrate
Lauramine oxide 3.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Car Wash Soaps


Car wash soaps should have a multitude of attributes, including: high foam, the ability to cut through
the road film on the car and remove dirt, grease and grime; rinsability; non-damaging to paint or car
surfaces and biodegradablity.
Car wash soaps can be formulated as powders or liquids. Powders are a mixture of builders such
as phosphates, carbonates and silicates blended in a ribbon blender and surfactants such as linear
alkyl benzene sulfonate (LAS) and nonylphenol ethoxylate adsorbed onto the powder.
Liquid car wash soaps are a blend of surfactants, builders and solvents dissolved in water. The
economical version of car wash soaps are made with LAS and some sodium carbonate and sodium
metasilicate pentahydrate dissolved in water. This is the very basic formula for the car wash soap. If

more flash foam is needed, a little sodium lauryl ether sulfate is added. If more creamy, dense foam
is desired, an amphoteric such as sodium cocoamphopropionate can be added. For foam stability
and viscosity building an amide, betaine or amine oxide can be used. Amides will give more foam
stability and viscosity building whereas the amine oxide and betaine will increase the foam quantity
but may not increase the viscosity as much as the amide will. Glycol ethers or other solvents can be
used to improve grease removal and penetration into the road film.
The bulk of the surfactant system used in a car wash soap is anionic surfactants due, mainly, to the
cost. The most commonly used, primary surfactant system is a combination of linear alkyl benzene
sulfonate (LAS) and sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES). Other surfactants are used as additives to
this basic surfactant system. There are four kinds of chemistries that are suitable for this purpose:
Amides: Both 2:1 and 1:1 amides can be used as additives in car wash soaps. While 1:1 amides
such as cocamide DEA 1:1 will build the viscosity and will act as a foam stabilizer and booster. They
can be used at a level of 2-4% in a car wash soap formula. The 2:1 amides will not only act as
viscosity and foam boosters but will also aid cleaning and degreasing performance. The use level is
2-4%.
Betaines and sultaines: Betaines and sultaines (or sulfobetaines) will enhance foaming, build
viscosity and add to the cleaning performance of the formula. Use levels of 3-5% are
recommended. Sulfobetaines are used when a large quantity of builders such as phosphates,
carbonates and metasilicates are present in the formula.
Amine oxides: Lauramine oxide and other amine oxides are excellent detergency boosters. They
also act as foam stabilizers, foam enhancers and viscosity builders. A use level of 4-6% is
recommended. Here are some starting formulas for car wash soaps:
Car Wash Soaps
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 60.0
TKPP 2.0
Sodium metasilicate 3.0
pentahydrate
Linear alkylbenzene 20.0
sulfonate (40%)
Sodium lauryl ether 10.0
sulfate (28%)
Sodium cocoamphopropionate 5.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 60.0
Sodium carbonate 2.0
Sodium metasilicate 3.0
pentahydrate
Linear alkylbenzene 20.0
sulfonate (40%)
Sodium lauryl ether 10.0
sulfate (28%)
Lauramine oxide 5.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.

Water 59.0
Sodium carbonate 2.0
Tetrasodium EDTA 1.0
Sodium metasilicate 3.0
pentahydrate
Linear alkylbenzene 20.0
sulfonate (40%)
Sodium lauryl ether 10.0
sulfate (28%)
Cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine 5.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 56.0
Sodium carbonate 2.0
Sodium metasilicate 3.0
pentahydrate
Sodium citrate 2.0
Glycol ether EB 4.0
Linear alkylbenzene 20.0
sulfonate (40%)
Sodium lauryl ether) 10.0
sulfate (28%
Cocamide DEA 3.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Car Wash-n-Wax
This is a two-in-one product that cleans the car and then beads and sheets the water for easy
drying. The term "wax" may not be appropriate here because the car does not get waxed--just
dried--though it does get some shine due to the mineral oil and/or quat used in the formula. Since
this soap contain quats, anionic surfactants such as LAS or SLES should not be added to formula.
Similarly, builders such as phosphates, silicates and carbonates are not used because of the quats.
Here the main surfactants are either amphoterics or nonionics, both of which are compatible with
quats.
A wide variety of surfactants can be used in this application. For the soap portion of the formula,
amphoterics, including sodium cocoamphopropionate, sodium cocoamphoacetate, cocamidopropyl
betaine, cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine, amine oxides and ethoxylated amines can be used in
various combinations. For the beading and sheeting action, quats such as dicocodimonium chloride
are widely used. Ethoxylated quats can be used where a water-soluble quat is needed. Some
suggested starting formulation guidelines for car wash-n-dry products are shown here:
Car Wash-N-Dry Formulas
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 70.0
Sodium 25.0
cocoamphopropionate
Dicocodimonium chloride 5.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.

Water 65.0
Sodium 20.0
cocoamphopropionate
Tallowamine 10.0
ethoxylate (10 mole)
Dicocodimonium 5.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 50.0
Mineral seal oil 10.0
Dicocodimonium chloride 10.0
Glycol ether EB 5.0
Ethoxylated 25.0
cocamine (5 mole)
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Whitewall Tire Cleaners


Whitewall tire cleaners are formulated to remove the tough road film, grease, grime and dirt from
the tire. They are heavy in caustics and builders. The surfactants used in this application must be
stable to high pH and electrolytes. Amphoterics such as sodium cocoamphopropionate will work
well in this application. Other surfactants that can provide a performance advantage in this
application include ethoxylated amines and hydroxysultaines. Some suggested starting formulation
guidelines are as follows:
Whitewall Tire Cleaners
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 67.0
Potassium hydroxide (45%) 13.0
TKPP 12.0
Sodium cocoamphopropionate 8.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 77.0
Potassium hydroxide (45%) 8.0
Sodium carbonate 4.0
Sodium metasilicate pentahydrate 3.0
Cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine 8.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 74.0
Sodium metasilicate 3.0
pentahydrate
Monoethanolamine 8.0
Glycol ether EB 6.0
Tetrasodium EDTA (48%) 4.0
Cocamine ethoxylate (5moles) 5.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Engine Cleaners/Degreasers
As the name suggests, these products are formulated to cut stubborn grease and road film. These
products are highly alkaline with surfactants that have excellent wetting and penetrating properties.
Glycol ethers are commonly used as grease removers in these formulas. Some formulators also
use other solvents such as kerosene or d-limonene. A microemulsion of d-limonene is an excellent
form for this application. The surfactants used in this application include amphoterics and
ethoxylated amines. Here are some suggested formulations for engine cleaners and degreasers:
Engine Degreaser
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 68.0
Monoethanolamine 10.0
Glycol ether DPM 15.0
Sodium cocoamphopropionate 7.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 68.0
TKPP 10.0
Glycol ether DPM 15.0
Tallowamine ethoxylate (10 mole) 7.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 71.0
Potassium hydroxide 5.0
Sodium metasilicate 7.0
pentahydrate
Glycol ether DPM 12.0
Tallowamine ethoxylate (10 mole) 5.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 54.0
d-limonene 10.0
Glycol ether DPM 6.0
Tallowamine ethoxylate 30.0
(10 mole)
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 68.0
TKPP 5.0
d-limonene 8.0
Glycol ether DPM 10.0
Tallowamine ethoxylate (10 mole) 9.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Windshield Washers
Windshield washers are designed to remove grease and dirt from the glass. The soil is
comparatively light and the glass substrate is a hard, non-porous surface, which makes it easier to
clean. Here the important requirement is that the surfactant should not leave spots and streaks.
Most formulators use alcohol, generally IPA, to prevent the formula from freezing. Dipropylene
glycol monomethyl ether and other glycol ethers are used as solvents to dissolve any oil or grease
and grime. Ammonia or other suitable alkalis are used to impart alkalinity to the formula. Surfactants
are used in low amounts, 0.2-1.0%, to provide the wetting and penetrating action to the formula.
Commonly used surfactants in this application include decamine oxide, caprylic/capric amidopropyl
betaine, cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine and caprylic/capric amphoacetate. Here are two starting
formulas:
Windshield Washer Fluid
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 89.0
Isopropyl alcohol
6.0
Glycol ether DPM 4.0
Cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine 0.5
Monoethanolamine 0.5
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 89.0
Isopropyl alcohol 6.0
Glycol ether DPM 4.0
Caprylic/capric amphoacetate 0.5
Ammonia 0.5
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Windshield Treatments
There are some products on the U.S. market which are intended to treat the windshield in such a
way that when rain drops on the windshield, the water sheets off without the use of wipers. The
product forms an invisible barrier that repels rain, sleet and snow on contact. Raindrops bead up
and are blown away by the aerodynamic wind flow from driving. The directions for use of these
products calls for cleaning the glass, then applying the product to a dry cloth and wiping onto the
exterior glass. The product is then wiped with a dry towel until clear.
Aminofunctional silicones are well suited for this application because of their substantivity, durability
and detergent-resistant properties. A starting formula is as follows:
Windshield Treatment
Ingredients % Wt.
Aminofunctional silicone 2.5
IPA 97.5

Car Drying Aids


After the car is washed in an automatic car wash, it is sprayed with rinse/drying aid. The main
purpose of this aid is to bead up the remaining water on the car surface so it can be easily removed
by the blast of air. The "beading up" of water is caused by the accumulation of small water droplets
into a large bead. The product that forces the water to form beads is not a true wax; it is a mixture of
quat and mineral seal oil. The formation of beads of water on a car surface is generally
accomplished by a microemulsion of mineral seal oil in water formed with the help of a quat. A
common formula for this so-called hot wax or drying aid is shown here.
Hot Wax
Ingredients % Wt.
Dicocodimonium chloride 20.0
Mineral seal oil 25.0
Glycol ether EB 5.0
Water 50.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

The dicocodimonium chloride creates a microemulsion of mineral seal oil in water. This
microemulsion is a dispersion of droplets of oil in the water. The droplet size is so small that the light
passes through them and does not get reflected back, which is why it appears as a clear solution
rather than a dispersion. Macroemulsions such as skin care creams and lotions are also dispersions
of fats, oils and waxes in water but here the oil droplets that are dispersed in water are much larger
than the droplet size in a microemulsion. A macroemulsion such as a skin care lotion appears white
because the light does not pass through and gets reflected back.
The hot wax formula for drying aids also includes glycol ether. Glycol ether provides the required
solubilization and HLB to create the microemulsion. Sometimes the formula also needs a nonionic
surfactant. Preferred surfactants are ethoxylated amines such as cocoamine with five moles of
ethylene oxide. Therefore another formula can be made as follows.
Hot Wax
Ingredients % Wt.
Dicocodimonium chloride 20.0
Mineral seal oil 25.0
Glycol Ether EB 5.0
Exothylated cocoamine 2.0
Water 48.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Drying aids form a thin, nearly invisible layer of quat and mineral seal oil on the car's surface. The
quat molecules tend to attach themselves to the surface and bring the mineral seal oil with them to
form an efficient hydrophobic layer. When water comes in contact with this layer it immediately gets
repelled and forced to stick together rather than stick to the car surface, which makes water bead
off.
The quat causes a reduction in surface tension. Addition of nonionic surfactants causes further
reduction in surface tension; thus the nonionic helps sheet the water off the car. Nonionic

surfactants such as nonylphenol ethoxylates or alcohol ethoxylates can be used, but they wash
away part of the quat. Ethoxylated amines are more compatible with quats due to a pseudo-positive
charge on the nitrogen (created by the shift of electrons) in ethoxylated amines. All of our test
results point to the fact that ethoxylated amines work much better than other nonionics in this
application. Here are three car drying/rinse aid starting formulations in premium, standard and
economy qualities:
Premium Quality
Ingredients % Wt.
Dicocodimonium chloride 18.0
Exothylated cocoamine 2.0
Glycol ether EB 5.0
Mineral seal oil 25.0
Water 50.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Standard Quality
Ingredients % Wt.
Dicocodimonium chloride 13.6
Exothylated cocoamine 2.4
Glycol ether EB 3.0
Mineral seal oil 20.0
Water 61.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Economy Quality
Ingredients % Wt.
Dicocodimonium chloride 9.0
Exothylated cocoamine 3.0
Glycol ether EB 2.0
Mineral seal oil 14.0
Water 72.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Adding silicone quats to the formula will enhance the beading and sheeting action, as well as cause
quick breaking of foam and will help leave a shine on the car while protecting the surface. Here's a
sample starting formula:
Car Drying / Rinse Aid Premium Quality
Ingredients % Wt.
Dicocodimonium chloride 18.0
Exothylated cocoamine 2.0
Silicone quat 3.0
Glycol ether EB 5.0
Mineral seal oil 25.0
Water 47.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Troubleshooting
The standard procedure for making the formulas found in this article is to add all ingredients in the
order listed except water. Mix well and make sure that the batch is homogenous and smooth, free of
lumps or particles, before adding water. Add water slowly with good agitation. The mixer must be
able to create a vortex.
A variety of problems can be encountered when making a car drying/rinse aid formula. Cold
weather adds to the problems since emulsions in general, and microemulsions in particular, are
sensitive to low temperatures. Order of addition as well as speed of mixing is important to create a
crystal-clear batch.
Mineral seal oil (MSO) quality is an important factor. Mineral seal oils are mixtures of aromatic and
aliphatic hydrocarbons and their ratios vary from supplier to supplier and from batch to batch.
Recent increases in crude oil prices may have caused some alterations in the quality of mineral seal
oil. The quality and hardness of water is another variable. Hard water that contains calcium and
magnesium can cause variations in the formulation. Order of addition, speed of addition and mixing
equipment are also important factors. When making a batch, it is recommended to add MSO, quat
and glycol ether and mix them very well. The mixing equipment must be able to create a vortex and
bring the bottom part of the mixture to the top; otherwise, a portion of the quat can stay at the
bottom. The water should be added slowly with constant mixing. Whenever the batch does not turn
out clear there are some adjustments that should be made. Here are a few examples:
* Add more quat. As discussed earlier, the quality of MSO can vary. If the MSO has more aliphatic
material, it will take more quat to emulsify.
* Add more EB. Some batches take a little more EB to make the microemulsion.
* Add exothylated cocoamine. The addition of 1-2% exothylated cocoamine also helps. If the
viscosity of the batch is higher or there is a gel formation, add 0.5% of betaine. Occasionally, the
addition of 2-5% propylene glycol will also help dissolve any precipitation.
Foaming Drying Aids
A drying aid which is becoming more popular in the U.S. is heavily pigmented and makes colored
bubbles as it is sprayed on the car for water beading and sheeting purposes to dry the car in an
automatic car wash. These drying aids contain less mineral seal oil and more nonionic or
amphoteric surfactant to produce foam.
The typical quats can be used for the drying action. Mineral seal oil may or may not be used. If
mineral seal oil is used, the quantity should be reduced due to its defoaming action. Ethoxylated
quats can also be used. The ethoxylation makes them watersoluble and relatively more foam
producing than the regular dicoco quats. Additives that increase foam volume and stability include
cocoamidopropyl betaine, cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine, lauramine oxide and cocamine
ethoxylate. Here are some suggested starting formulas for foaming drying/rinse aids:
Foaming Drying/Rinse Aid
Ingredients % Wt.
Dicocodimonium chloride 20.0
Mineral seal oil 10.0
Exothylated cocoamine 25.0
Glycol ether EB 5.0
Water 40.0

Preservatives, dyes q.s.


Ingredients % Wt.
Dicocodimonium chloride 20.0
Mineral seal oil 5.0
Exothylated cocoamine 5.0
Cocamine oxide 25.0
Glycol ether EB 5.0
Water 40.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Car Polishes
Car polishes provide gloss, protect and clean the car's painted surfaces. A wide variety of auto
polishes are available on the market. The polish can be formulated in three different physical
forms--namely paste, liquid and spray. Modern car polishes often contain at least some of the
following ingredients:
Silicones and their derivatives have excellent performance in polish formulas. Polydimethyl
siloxanes and various organo modifications are used in this application. As a general rule, higher
viscosity fluids give more gloss and durability but are difficult to process and difficult to buff and
rubout. The lower viscosity fluids are easier to formulate with and apply. Emulsions are very easy to
incorporate in a formula. Aminofunctional silicones are widely used for their substantivity and
detergent resistancy. Silicone resins can also be used for their durability. Thus in general, silicones
provide water repellency and protection as well as gloss and durability.
The primary function of the solvents in a car polish is to clean the surface dirt, grease and grime
and prepare the surface for the polish. They also act as the carrier for waxes, silicones and other
actives to the surface. Solvents should be carefully chosen because high KB value solvents can
damage the painted surfaces. Generally a solvent with less than 40 KB value is recommended.
Common solvents are deodorized mineral spirits, deodorized kerosene and VM&P naphtha.
Waxes are used in the polish in order to control the viscosity of the formula, provide hardness and
some gloss to the film, improve emulsification and stability of the emulsion, control bleeding,
improve opacity, provide lubrication and increase durability. Common waxes include carnauba,
beeswax, paraffin and microcrystalline wax. A blend of two or more waxes impart several desired
properties to the final formula.
A wide variety of emulsifiers can be used to produce oil-in-water or water-in-oil systems. Sorbitan
esters, alkoxylated alcohols, alkoxylate polydimethyl siloxanes and fatty acid soaps can be used as
emulsifiers. A number of other surfactants including amphoterics, alkyl sulfates, alkanolamides and
ethoxylated fatty amines can also be used as emulsifiers. Oleic and stearic acid soaps are also
used.
Popular Abrasives
Finely divided clays and diatomaceous earth products are used in polishes to remove stubborn road
film and tar from the car surface. The abrasives remove surface scratches and slight imperfections
and smooth out the surface to be polished. Common commercial products include Snow Floss,
Super Floss and Kaopolite. The choice of abrasive depends on the type of surface to be polished.
Newer cars with clear coats generally require a mild abrasive with a very fine particle size. More
aggressive abrasives with a larger particle size may be more suitable for older cars.

Depending on the amount and composition of the oil phase in an oil-in-water emulsion, a thickener
may or may not be needed. If the quantity of the oil phase is considerable and it contains a good
amount of waxes, the formula may not need any other thickener. If the formula turns out to be thin, it
will not be able to keep abrasives in suspension. In such cases a water phase thickener may be
used. Common thickeners include carbopol, cellulose gums and magnesium aluminum silicate.
Liquid Car Polish with High Gloss and Detergent Resistancy
Ingredients % Wt.
Wax 5.8
Odorless mineral sprits 32.1
Aminofunctional siloxane 3.5
Dimethicone emulsion 4.7
Oleic acid 1.7
Morpholine 0.9
Kaopolite 1152 10.0
Water 41.3
Preservative, perfume, dye q.s.
Paste Car Polish with High Gloss
and Detergent Resistancy
Ingredients % Wt.
Beeswax 4.8
Carnauba wax 2.0
Odorless mineral spirit 34.4
Aminofunctional siloxane 3.5
Dimethicone 350 4.3
Dimethicone 100,000 1.8
Stearic acid 1.6
Morpholine 0.9
Kaopolite 10.0
Carbopol 0.2
Water 36.5
Preservative, perfume, dye q.s.
Liquid Spray and Wipe Polish
For New Clear Coat Cars
Ingredients % Wt.
Silicone emulsion 10.0
Water 90.0
Preservative, perfume, dye q.s.

Tire Dressings
Tire dressings bring out the depth of the color and provide gloss to the tire to make it look newer
and more attractive. Tire dressings also provide some protection to the tire from road film and
environmental pollutants. Tire dressings are generally very low viscosity products and can be
applied with a pump sprayer. The formulations can be solvent based or water based. In the solvent
based systems deodorized kerosene or mineral sprits are used as the carrier and base and silicone
fluids are used as a gloss enhancer. Amino functional silicones add durability and detergent

resistancy. Water-based dressings can be simple water dilutions of silicone emulsions. Some
suggested starting formulations are as follows.
Solvent-based Tire Dressing
Ingredients % Wt.
Odorless mineral spirits 90.0
Dimethicone 350 10.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Solvent-based Tire Dressing
(with amino functional silicone)
Ingredients % Wt.
Odorless mineral spirits 90.0
Dimethicone 350 8.0
Aminofunctional silicone 2.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Water-based Tire Dressing
Ingredients % Wt.
Silicone emulsion 10.0
Water 90.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Plastic and Vinyl Cleaners


Car interiors include such diverse surfaces as plastic, vinyl and leather. All of them must be cleaned
and cared for properly. A mild, low foaming cleaner is generally needed to do the job of cleaning
while a thin film of an appropriate silicone derivative will work well for the care and appearance of
the surface. For the cleaner part, a low-foaming surfactant with good wetting properties on plastic
and vinyl is required. Some of these surfactants include decylamine oxide, caprylic/capric
amidopropylbetaine, and caprylic/capric amphoacetate. Builders such as EDTA, sodium citrate,
sodium metasilicate and small amounts of TKPP can also be used. Glycol ethers will also boost soil
removal.
A plastic and vinyl polish is easy to make. A simple dilution of an appropriate silicone emulsion will
do the job. Here are some starting formulas for plastic and vinyl cleaners.
Plastic and Vinyl Cleaner
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 92.0
Decylamine oxide 3.0
Caprylic/capric 2.0
amidopropylbetaine
EDTA 0.5
Glycol ether DPM 2.5
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.

Water 94.0
Alcohol alkoxylate 1.0
Caprylic/capric amphoacetate 2.0
TKPP 0.5
Glycol ether DPM 2.5
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Ingredients % Wt.
Silicone emulsion 20.0
Water 80.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Leather Polish and Protectant


Leather is a relatively soft and porous material. A leather polish and protectant formula should
contain ingredients that can penetrate the pores and keep it moisturized and soft and also protect
its surface from the harmful effects of foreign substances. Silicone fluid with about 100 cst viscosity
will also do a good job. A suggested starting formula for one of these products is shown here:
Leather Polish and Protectant
Ingredients % Wt.
Silicone liquid wax 3.0
Dimethicone 100 5.0
Bees wax 2.0
White mineral spirit 25.0
Water 65.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Upholstery and Carpet Shampoo


Carpet shampoos are based on anionic surfactants that dry into a powder and can be easily
removed with a vacuum cleaner. Alkyl sulfates, sarcocinates and sulfosuccinates are often the
primary surfactants in a carpet shampoo formula. For lower foam versions, naphthalene and
cumene sulfonates are commonly used. Secondary surfactants are used as detergency enhancers,
spot removers, foam and viscosity modifiers and antibacterial agents. Ethoxylated amines, for
example, can boost detergency and spot removal properties. Some amphoterics such as sodium
cocoamphopropionate will also increase the detergency and the alkali stability of the formula. If a
quat is used as an antibacterial agent in the formula then the anionic surfactants can not be used. In
that case amphoterics become the primary surfactant.
Various builders can be used when formulating a carpet cleaner. TKPP in small amounts (0.5-2.5%)
does an excellent job as a builder. Sodium metasilicate pentahydrate is a corrosion inhibitor and
provides alkalinity. EDTA, sodium citrate and sodium carbonate can also be used. Sodium
bicarbonate is also a popular additive in carpet cleaners.
Glycol ethers act as cleaners and degreasers in a carpet shampoo formula. Propylene glycol-based
ethers such as DPM can be used at a 2-5% level. If a perfume is used, it must be completely
solubilized in the formula. Generally there are enough surfactants in the formula to dissolve the
perfume. In other cases where a heavy dose of perfume is used or there are not enough surfactants

to solubilize the perfume, adding ethoxylated amines will help solubilize the perfume. Here are
some starting formulas for auto carpet and upholstery cleaners:
Carpet Shampoo
Ingredients % Wt.
Sulfosuccinate 16.0
Cocamine ethoxylate (5 mole) 1.0
Tetrasodium EDTA 2.0
Sodium metasilicate 3.0
pentahydrate
Acrylic polymer 1.0
Water 77.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Low Foam Carpet Cleaner
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 84.0
TKPP 5.0
Sodium metasilicate pentahydrate 3.0
Sodium bicarbonate 2.0
Decamime oxide 5.5
Capped alcohol ethoxylate 0.5
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
High Foam Carpet Cleaner
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 72.0
TKPP 5.0
Sodium metasilicate 3.0
pentahydrate
Sodium cocoamphoacetate 5.0
Magnesium lauryl sulfate 15.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
Ingredients % Wt.
Water 71.0
Sodium lauryl sulfate 12.0
Cocoamine ethoxylate (5 mole) 2.0
Sodium ccocamphopropionate 5.0
TKPP 3.0
Glycol ether DPM 7.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Odor Absorbers
One of the current trends in auto carpet and upholstery cleaning is to add an odor-controlling agent
in order to neutralize malodors such as cigarette smoke, pet odors or food smells. These odor-

controlling agents can be divided into three categories. One is a suitable perfume that can cover up
the odor. The disadvantages of the perfume can be that it just covers up the malodor and when the
perfume evaporates, the malodor will come back. Also perfume is a very personal thing and some
people may not like the smell of the mixture of a particular perfume with a malodor. The second
category of odor controllers are chemicals with cavities in their molecules, such as cyclodextrin. The
malodor and a strong perfume can be absorbed in these cavities and thus the perfume covers the
odor and makes the perfume last longer. The third type is zinc ricinoleate. This material when
activated by solubilizing in water will make complex with malodors, which generally contain nitrogen
and sulfur. This complexing is permanent and the malodor molecule is not released even upon
drying. Here are somestarting formulas for odor absorbing products:
Upholstery and Carpet Shampoo with Odor Absorber
Ingredients % Wt.
Sodium lauryl sulfate 10.0
Decylamine oxide 5.0
Caprylic/capric amidopropylbetaine 5.0
Zinc ricinoleate (50% con.) 1.0
Water 79.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Upholstery and Carpet Shampoo
with Odor Absorber
Ingredients % Wt.
Sodium naphthalene sulfonate 10.0
Lauramine oxide 8.0
Zinc ricinoleate (50% con.) 1.0
TKPP 2.0
Water 79.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.
Carpet Cleaner with Odor Absorber
Ingredients % Wt.
Zinc ricinoleate (50% con.) 1.00
Propylene glycol 3.00
Isopropyl alcohol 3.00
Cocamine ethoxylate (5 moles) 1.00
Sodium lauryl sulfate 2.00
Deionized water 90.0
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Other Products for Car Interiors


Cigarette smoke is one of the most common odors inside a car. Other malodors include pet odors,
urine and food odors. There are several products on the North American market, which are used to
fight odors inside an auto. Most of them are based on fragrances that cover up malodors. Zinc
ricinoleate can be used to actually adsorb these odors and thus eliminate them rather than just
mask them with fragrance. A combination of a pleasant fragrance and zinc ricinoleate can also be
formulated to provide the best of the both worlds. A suggested starting formula is as follows:
Car Interior Deodorizer Spray

Ingredients % Wt.
Zinc ricinoleate (50% conc.) 2.0
Tween 20 4.0
Deionized water 91.2
Sodium citrate 2.5
Preservatives, dyes q.s.

Due to the superwetting and surface tension reduction to very low levels of some of the silicone
surfactants they can be used to formulate excellent glass cleaners with antifogging properties.
Interior Windshield Cleaner with Anti-fogging Effect
Ingredients % Wt.
Dimethicone copoyol 1.0
Isopropyl alcohol 49.0
Deionized water 49.0

In the past, maintaining a car's appearance required plenty of elbow grease. But today,
manufacturers are making it easier for consumers to keep their cars looking new many years after
they drive them off the dealer's lot.