Anionic Surfactants

Ethoxy Carboxylates

Ethoxy Carboxylates

Generic Nomenclature

Alkyl (poly-l-oxapropene) oxaethane carboxylic acids

Alkyl (e.g. lauryl) polyglycol ether carboxylic acids

Alkylphenol polyglycol ether carboxylic acids

Carboxymethylated alcohols

Ethoxy carboxylates

Ether carboxylates

Polyalkoxylated ether glycollates.


These products are the ethers of glycolic acid, HO-CH2 -COOH, prepared by the reaction of chloracetic acid with the corresponding ethoxylate.

General properties


The addition of the ethoxylated grouping results in increased water solubility in the products. HLB values vary from approx. 8 with excellent solubility in organic solvents, to 20 where the products are only soluble in polar solvents. Generally good lime soap dispersant. Good alkali solubility.

Chemical stability

Does not hydrolyze in alkali or acid.

Compatibility with aqueous ions

Stable to addition of electrolyte; improvement of properties in hard water compared to soap.

Compatibility with other surfactants

Compatible with non-ionics and amphoterics; compatible with some cationics; good lime soap dispersant.

Surface-active properties

The CMC is reached at lower values for the acid than for the salt. Also the micelles formed in acid solution are smaller than for the salt. Thus it is possible to adjust the micelle size which is an important feature of emulsification. The surface tension increases with increasing pH.

Functional properties:

Retains the best properties of non-ionic surfactants, i.e, wetting without the inverse solubility with temperature (no cloud point); good dispersing properties (e.g. pigments in paint); good foam stability; good anticorrosive action; very mild and non-aggressive action on hair and skin and reduces the skin irritation of LES.


Household products

Stable to hydrochloric acid and used in toilet cleaners; thickener for bleach, high EO content; soap additive to give liquid fatty acid soaps.


Detergent, cloud point elevated to more than 100°C; kier boiling in caustic. Dye bath auxiliaries; fabric softeners particularly for woolens (i.e. dialkyl adducts as a base); spin finish antistatic agents particularly if amine-based.


Mild and some conditioning properties are claimed particularly at low pH. Gives creamy foam, particularly in hard water and improves lubricity. Used in conjunction with ether sulfates to improve foam and reduce irritation. Compatible with cationics (including cationic polymers). The ether carboxylate can be used for the cleaning part of the formulation with the cationics giving excellent conditioning.


Dispersing agents.


Carpet shampoos.

Metal treatments

Boring and cutting oils, de-oiling baths.


Solids content 90%
Active content 70-80%
Sodium chloride 1-15%

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