Sodium lauryl sulfate

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Infobox on Sodium lauryl sulfate
Example of Sodium lauryl sulfate
Sodium lauryl sulphate.jpg
Origin -
Stowage factor (in m3/t) -
Humidity / moisture -
Ventilation -
Risk factors See text

Sodium lauryl sulfate


Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS or NaDS), sodium laurilsulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is an organic compound (small white or light yellow crystals, slight characteristic odour) with the formula CH3(CH2)11OSO3Na. It is an anionic surfactant used in many cleaning and hygiene products. The salt is of an organosulfate consisting of a 12-carbon tail attached to a sulfate group, giving the material the amphiphilic properties required of a detergent. Being derived from inexpensive coconut and palm oils, it is a common component of many domestic cleaning products.

Sodium coco-sulfate is essentially the same compound, but made from less purified coconut oil.

SDS is synthesized by treating lauryl alcohol with sulfur trioxide gas, oleum, or chlorosulfuric acid to produce hydrogen lauryl sulfate. The industrially practiced method typically uses sulfur trioxide gas. The resulting product is then neutralized through the addition of sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate. Lauryl alcohol is in turn usually derived from either coconut or palm kernel oil by hydrolysis, which liberates their fatty acids, followed by hydrogenation.

Due to this synthesis method, commercial samples of SDS are often a mixture of other alkyl sulfates, dodecyl sulfate being the main component.

SDS is available commercially in powder and pellet forms. It seems the pellet form dissolves faster than the powder form in water.


SDS is mainly used in detergents for laundry with many cleaning applications. SDS is a highly effective surfactant and is used in any task requiring the removal of oily stains and residues. For example, it is found in higher concentrations with industrial products including engine degreasers, floor cleaners, and car wash soaps. It is found in toothpastes, shampoos, shaving foams, and bubble bath formulations in part for its thickening effect and its ability to create a lather. Pepsodent toothpaste at one time used the name "Irium" for its sodium lauryl sulfate ingredient.

Shipment / Storage / Risk factors

The product is usually shipped in drums. It will absorb moisture rapidly when in a moist atmosphere. This absorption of moisture will cause the substance to loose its ordinarily dry powdery appearance, become moist to the touch, form damp lumps, and cake on handling. In order to preserve its condition during transit should be packed in a container which will resist moisture and moist air. Subject to loss in weight.

The product is not listed in the IMDG Code (International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code). Consult the applicable MSDS sheet for safe handling advice.