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Developing Sustainable Surfactants —The R&D Behind Our Water-Saving Products—

Developing Sustainable Surfactants —The R&D Behind Our Water-Saving Products—

Developing Sustainable Surfactants —The R&D Behind Our Water-Saving Products—

Improving cleaning power while reducing environmental impact

The history of Kao’s laundry detergents reflects our constant drive to improve cleaning power while also reducing environmental impact. Water usage and doing the laundry are deeply connected. As such, the development of a revolutionary concentrated liquid detergent that offers improved cleaning and uses less water has added a new page in the history of liquid detergents.

Adding value to raw materials with limited applications has led to the development of a sustainable surfactant


Kao has a long track record in producing fatty alcohol from oil palm fruit. In fact, we are one of the world’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of oil palm-derived industrial alcohol, which is used in the Kao Group’s various household products. Our proprietary technology has enabled us to make effective use of high carbon number alcohols (C16 and C18) that were previously considered to have limited applications. This breakthrough has led to the development of Bio-IOS, a sustainable surfactant that is used in our new concentrated liquid detergent Attack ZERO.

パーム油 果肉からとれる油は、インスタントラーメンやポテトチップスを揚げる油などに。 パーム核油 種からとれる油は、洗剤などに使われる界面活性剤の原料に。

Oil palm fruitt

Increases in the world’s population have led to concerns about a future shortage of detergents. Faced with that challenge, our success in turning a raw material with limited applications into a key ingredient for detergents has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities.

A revolutionary surfactant that cleans effectively and helps save water


Back when cotton fabrics made up the bulk of our clothing, doing the laundry meant removing simple stains such as sebum and dirt. In recent years, however, stain removal has become more complex due to the development of functional synthetic fabrics. Lifestyle changes have also led to changes in laundry routines. People now do laundry less frequently and wash larger loads at a time. That, coupled with the increased use of drum-type washers, means that clothes are now being washed in less water than before. The decrease in water has made it difficult for detergents to work effectively, resulting in the accumulation of oils and stains.

Bio-IOS, the surfactant used in Attack ZERO, is extremely effective in confronting such issues. Its distinctive molecular structure has both higher surface activity and superior water-solubility. (Generally, these properties are incompatible). As a result, Attack ZERO removes stains and odors far more effectively than other detergents. It also doesn’t leave behind residue, despite being used with just one rinse cycle. Furthermore, because Bio-IOS is derived from natural fats and oils, CO2 emissions associated with Attack ZERO’s life cycle* are reduced by 32% compared to conventional liquid detergents that require two rinse cycles.

*Product life cycle: All the processes involved with a product, including raw materials procurement, manufacturing, distribution, and waste disposal. The amount of water and electricity needed for those stages and consumer use is also included.

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Improving cleaning power while reducing environmental impact

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Bio-IOS molecular structure model

Kao will continue to develop environmentally friendly products with improved cleaning power.


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The story behind “Everything the Eco Way!”

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