Different Types of Chemicals used in Garment Washing Plant

Last updated on June 25th, 2023 at 06:01 am

Different types of Chemicals are used in the garment washing plant. Some chemicals are used to whiten the fabric; some change the surface tension of water and some fix the dye particles etc.

Washing Plant Chemical Warehouse

Now we are going to discuss about some common chemicals which we use in the washing plant –

List of Chemicals used in Garment Washing Plant

Whitening Agent

Whitening agents increase the whiteness of the garments. After using these agents, the garments become whiter. Basically we use this chemical for white garments to make it whiter. As for example, Optical brightener, 4bk etc. are whitening agents. After applying this agent, the molecules are attached with the garments. When light fall on the garments the molecules will emit the light and garments will show more whiteness and brightness.

Hygroscopic Agent

Hygroscopic agent can be defined as the agent, which can easily absorb water from nature. When the surrounding environment becomes wet then we can use this agent to avoid excessive moisture from the garments. As for example: Calcium chloride, Amylopectin etc.

Wetting Agent

Wetting agent is a chemical which reduces the surface tension of a liquid. Generally, the molecules of a liquid try to bond together and cause surface tension. A wetting agent stretches these bonds and reduces the tendency of the molecules to hold together, which permits the liquid to spread more easily across any solid surface.

Fixing Agent

The agent which is used to fix the dyes with fabric is called fixing agent. This agent is used when we need to set color on the fabric. As a result, colorfastness to wash, colorfastness to light and crocking etc. are improved.


A detergent is a surfactant which has cleaning properties in dilute solution. In most household contexts, the term detergent by itself refers specially to laundry detergent or dish detergent, as opposed to hand soap or other types of cleaning agents. These are commonly available as powder or concentrated solutions. Detergents work like soap because they are partly hydrophilic and partly hydrophobic. Their dual nature facilitates the removal of oil, wax, and grease from the fabric during washing.

Softening Agent

The chemicals which we use to soften the garments are called softening agent. This agent is widely used in the washing sector because it improves the hand feeling of the garments. There are many types of softener but cationic and non ionic softener is mostly used. For color garments, cationic softener is used and for white garments, nonionic softener is used. Softener works inside the garments cellulose.


For final finishing of the garments, silicon is used. It ensures the excellent smoothness, good hand feel and nice durability of the garments. Silicon emulsion imparts ultra smoothness finish and silky hand feel finish. Though silicon is one type of metal, it has high lubricant properties.

Sequestering Agent

This agent is used to dissolve the calcium and magnesium ions present in water. Calcium and Magnesium ions create problems in wet processing causing pin-hole effect. Sequestering agents are also called Chelating agent. The following are the three main stages in which sequestering agents are used:

  • Pretreatment
  • Bleaching
  • Dyeing

Stiffening Agent

This is the chemical that we use to stiff the garments. Resin, Silicate and Melamine etc. are the examples of Stiffening agent.

Waterproofing Agent

The chemicals which we use to protect water absorbency are called water proofing agent like PVC.

Rubbing Fastness Improver

The chemical which improve the rubbing fastness of the garments is called rubbing fastness improver.

Defoaming Agent

A defoamer or anti-foaming agent is a chemical additive that reduces and hinders the foam formation in the liquids during industrial operations. In industrial operations, foams pose serious problems. They produce surface coatings. They prevent the sufficient filling of the containers. A variety of chemical formulas are available to prevent formation of foams.


Enzymes are proteins, composed hundred of amino acid which are produced by living organism. They are responsible for number of reactions and biological activities. It is also biocatalyst and organic compound of higher atomic weight. They are very specific about their work. Enzymes are used for cleaning product as cleaning and fabric care agent. Most of the enzymes break down soils and stains.

Bleaching Agent

Bleaching agents are chemicals that can remove or lighten color, usually via oxidation or reduction. Bleaching agent is generally used for removing color from garments. It is also used in other industries. There are mainly two types of bleaching agents, one is oxidizing like H2O2 and another is reducing like H2S.

Caustic Soda

Caustic is a strong alkali. It works as a cleaning agent. We use it in the washing bath for removing color and cleaning. It increases the PH value of the liquor. It also works as a desizing agent. Its chemical structure is NaOH.


It is also alkali like substance to remove color. It also increases the PH of the solution. We also use this for desizing,
cleaning and scouring. Soda is also known as soda ash. Its chemical structure is Na2CO3.

Acetic acid

It is one kind of acid that has various uses at washing plant. This chemical is used to control PH and also for cleaning. Its chemical structure is CH3COOH.


Stone is specially used in denim garments to get high or low abrasion. We use pumice stone (should be iron free) when we need more abrasion on denim garments. The garment will not pass the metal detector if the iron is stayed with this stone. Stone size is available 2/3 and 3/4. Generally we use ¾.

Rubber Ball

Rubber ball makes the garment softer than soft. We can improve the softness of the garments as well as abrasion by using rubber ball.

Hope that you the readers have learn many things from this article. Please stay with me for more information.

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He is Abu Sayed, the founder of the blog site Textile Apex. He is a Textile Engineer having eight years plus practical experience in the Textile and Clothing industries. With a deep love for fashion and a keen eye for detail, he combines his creative flair with extensive knowledge to offer insightful and engaging content to his readers.
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2 thoughts on “Different Types of Chemicals used in Garment Washing Plant

  1. Can you name some of the chemicals used as softening agents? Do they have to be a single chemical or can be a mixture of chemicals? Can we use Acetic acid to make the Softener cationic if it is otherwise non-ionic? Can we also use Silicon emulsion along with the softening agent to get the soft finish in one stage?

  2. Hello. This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate. He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing.

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