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Wacker Introduces Hydrophilic Fabric Softener for Textile Finishing

Traditional fabric softeners tend to reduce the absorbency of towels and other cleaning cloths over time by clogging the fibers and binding them together but Wacker, a German chemical company, has come up with an alternative solution.

Enter Wetsoft NE 750, a hydrophilic product suitable for factory textile finishing that claims to not only improve the softness of textiles, but also retain absorbency—properties that are particularly important for towels and other materials that need to soak up water.

Marketed as a water-free concentrate with high solids content, Wetsoft NE 750 is self-emulsifying and can be diluted with water in a ratio of 1:1 to 1:5 to form a stable emulsion that can be applied to towels, woven textiles or knitted fabrics (both cotton and blended fabrics containing polyester) by either exhaust or padding processes.

Here’s how it works: “The main constituents of Wetsoft NE 750 are block copolymers based on aminofunctional silicones and polyglycol. The silicone fluid segments arrange themselves in free-moving loops on the outside of the fabric and reduce friction between the fibers. This provides the fabric with an excellent soft feel, which even remains after washing. The polyglycol segments, on the other hand, ensure that the silicone finish, which is normally water-repellent, remains permeable to water,” Wacker said in a press release Thursday.

According to the company, tests have shown that materials treated with Wetsoft NE 750 have a “pleasant, soft and full hand feel while remaining absorbent” due to the fact that the emulsion can penetrate to the core of fabrics, even those with long pile fibers. Also notable is the company’s pledge to textile manufacturers that subsequent corrections (such as re-dyeing) can easily be made after a fabric has been treated with the product.