What Is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)?

What is SLES? Sodium Laureth Sulfate is an industrial chemical used in manufacturing cosmetics, personal care and cleaning products as an active agent.It is also found in carpet cleaners, stain and odor removers and all-purpose cleaners. It can also be very effective in removing oily stains and residues. In this blog, we will go over the uses of sodium laureth sulfate ,safety, production and procurement,export of the respective chemical. Keep reading if you want to know more about sodium laureth sulfate.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate / SLES

Properties Of Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Sodium Laureth Sulfate Formula:


Sodium Laureth Density:

1.01 g/cm³

Sodium Laureth Sulfate Boiling point:


Sodium Laureth Sulfate Melting Point:

206 C

Sodium Laureth Sulfate Structure:

Chemical structure of sodium lauryl sulfate. | Download Scientific Diagram

(source : researchgate.net)

Sodium Laureth Sulfate pH:

6.5 - 7.5

Sodium Laureth Sulfate molar mass:


Is Sodium Laureth Sulfate water soluble?

Yes, sodium laureth sulfate is soluble in water.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate’s Uses:

Sodium Laureth Sulfate in Detergents and cleaning products

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) uses are numerous but largely concentrated in the detergent and cleaning product ranges. For example, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is used in shower gels, hand wash, dish washing, shampoo, and various home and personal care products. It is also used as a cleansing and foaming agent in the dyeing industry. Sodium laureth sulfate is also said to be used as a lubricant in the production of leather.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate in Cleaning products

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) has many functions in cleaning products, and it is commonly used as a surfactant, wetting surfaces, emulsifying, or solubilizing oils, and suspending soil so that they can be rinsed away. This ingredient creates a foaming texture that is a key texture in the cleaning items to help remove dirt and oil.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate in Hair Products

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is also used in hair products by many hair product manufacturers. These manufacturers apply the product to shampoo, conditioner, hair dye and styling gel. It is a key ingredient due to its texture and cleaning properties.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate / SLES stored outside in bulk

Sodium Laureth Sulfate’s Safety

 Consuming and interacting with Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is relatively unsafe. It can cause skin irritation and eye irritation. According to Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) MSDS, if SLES comes into contact with the eyes or the skin, it must be flushed out immediately, and clothes must be removed if they become contaminated. If swallowed, then drink 1-2 glasses of water and call the poison center for advice.

Proper storage and disposal of Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) needs to be taken into consideration to avoid any unwanted effects. PPE should be worn whilst using the chemical to prevent skin and eyes coming into contact with it.

Skin contact with Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Sodium laureth sulfate is said to cause irritation,redness and serious damage to the skin. It can cause micro-tears, and lead to further skin infections by bacteria and various micro - organisms.

It also acts as a potential carcinogen.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate vs. Sodium lauryl sulfate

Sodium Lauryl sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are often confused to be the same chemical. However, this isn't true. Though both these chemicals have one thing in common.They have the same chemical ingredients as their foundation.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is actually the core chemical from which the chemical in conversation is derived, Sodium Laureth Ether Sulfate (SLES). It’s created by reacting an alcohol with petroleum or with palm oil. To derive SLES from SLS, a process called ethoxylation tends to occur in order for the whole process to be completed. This process is key because it turns SLES into a safe and mild chemical as compared to SLS.

So, the difference between Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) is the process of ethoxylation. SLS is present as an emulsifying agent in alot of cleaners,disinfectants and other products. Many manufacturers don't use SLS anymore as it is proven to be very damaging to the skin causing irritation and redness.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate / SLES liquid

How is Sodium Laureth Sulfate produced?

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is made industrially from petroleum oil (via the OXO process) or from coconut or palm oil (via the Ziegler process). The oxo process is said to be a chemical reaction which leads to the formation of chemical compounds like aldehydes from alkenes. In this process, aldehydes are subjected to high pressure in the presence of a catalyst and carbon monoxide. The resulting compound is then converted into a form of sulfuric acid. It is then further crystallized into a salt.

The ziegler process works on deriving alcohols from ethylene in the presence of an aluminum compound. These alcohols are then converted into acids. Inturn, it is sulfonated into crystalline salts, which is sodium laureth sulfate itself.

What does the demand for Sodium Laureth Sulfate look like?

Since Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is a relatively cheap raw material for the soap industry, the main demand driver has been the global demand for soap and detergents. Given that SLES has little risk and is readily available, more countries and manufacturers have no plan of using substitute products. This means the usage of Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) will continue to grow.

How is Sodium Laureth Sulfate exported/transported?

You may be able to find a sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) in small quantities in your area. But if you want to buy large quantities of sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) it is preferable to import directly from the manufacturers. They can issue certifications and provide cost savings which is better than buying the chemical in small quantities locally or from a distributor.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is shipped in:

  • Steel or plastic 170kg drums (see picture below), a plastic lining is usually added inside to prevent contamination of the chemical by the drum.
  • The chemical can also be packed in IBCs (1000kg bulk containers) if the client requires it.
  • The drums are then packed into 20ft containers.

Where can Sodium Laureth Sulfate be bought?

If you require bulk quantities of this chemical, you can buy Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) on our website.

Which countries export Sodium Laureth Sulfate?

 The main producers of sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are China, India, Japan, Australia, and Taiwan. Consumption of sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) has increased dramatically across the world, especially in developing countries.

Sodium Laureth sulfate FAQ’S

Is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) safe?

Sodium Laureth Sulfate is said to be unsafe from a health point of view; it is said to cause skin, scalp and eye irritation, redness, and sensitivity. This is caused due to the presence of a known by - product of the manufacturing process called 1,4 dioxane.

Is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) good/safe for skin?

No, Sodium Laureth Sulfate is not good/safe for skin. It is a cleansing agent, with foaming properties. It tends to strip the skin of essential oils and moisture leaving it dry,irritated and sensitive to touch.

Is Sodium Laureth Sulfate natural?

Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a commonly used ingredient in personal grooming products. It is often considered a natural ingredient by some producers as it is derived from industrial processes like the OXO and ziegler process using palm,coconut or petroleum oil.

Is Sodium Laureth Sulfate good/safe for hair?

No, Sodium Laureth Sulfate isn't safe for hair as it can strip the scalp of its essential oils and moisture leaving the hair dry,brittle and weak.

Is Sodium Laureth Sulfate a chemical?

Yes, Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a chemical derived from palm or petroleum oil using industrial processes.

Which is better: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate?

 Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are both derived from similar processes. Though SLES is a much milder chemical in terms of its stripping properties of natural oils from the skin and hair.

Does Sodium Laureth Sulfate cause baldness?

Sodium Laureth Sulfate is said to be bad for the hair. SLES strips the hair of its natural oils and makes it dry, weak and brittle. Though there aren’t any scientific studies that prove that Sodium Laureth Sulfate causes baldness in humans.

Is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) harmful?

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is hazardous due to its toxicity. SLS depletes the skin's natural oils, resulting in dryness, irritation, and allergic responses. It may also cause a lot of irritation in the eyes. Itchy skin and scalp, eczema, and dermatitis are examples of inflammatory skin responses.

What are the hazardous effects of Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)?

  • As per the MSDS for Sodium Laureth Sulfate SLES, the chemical is harmless.
  • However, it may cause eye, skin, and lung irritation as well as burns if exposed to excessive amounts.
  • When dealing with Sodium Laureth Sulfate, you must exercise caution and use protective gear, and there should be enough ventilation to guarantee that clean air is circulating.
  • You should pay close attention to the warning signs posted around the work area to ensure that everyone is alert of the dangers of this corrosive substance.
  • To prevent any negative consequences, proper storage and disposal of this chemical must be considered.

What precautionary measures should be taken in handling Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)?

Proper handling and storage of Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) must be fully observed, and appropriate personal protective equipment must be worn. Keep the compound cold, dry, and well-ventilated away from incompatible chemicals.

What will happen if Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is heated?

When Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is heated to the point of decomposition, it produces poisonous gasses.

Is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) Acidic or Basic?

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is a traditional anionic surfactant that is gentler than sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) but has very comparable characteristics. Sulfates are stable in bases with excellent foaming characteristics at increasing pH.

Is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) bad for hair?

Sodium laureth sulfate is stripping in nature. It tends to strip the upper layers of the scalp of the vital oils and moisture. So it can damage the hair by changing its texture to a dry and brittle one and reduces the hair strength.

Is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) bad for skin?

Yes, Sodium Laureth Sulfate ( SLES ) is bad for your skin. Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a cleansing agent often found in facial cleansers and other personal care products. Due to its cleansing nature, it tends to strip the skin barrier of essential oils and moisture. This makes the skin barrier dry, dehydrated and damaged.

How much does Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) cost?

Prices are affected by the cost of raw materials used in Sodium Laureth Sulfate 70% (SLES). However, our estimated FOB price of Sodium Laureth Sulfate 70% (SLES) is $1,300.00 per tonne. Free quotation for bulk orders is available upon request.  To know more about the pricing contact manufacturers for a quotation for your quantity of choice.


Product number

Product description



Sigma aldrich


Sodium lauryl sulfate (USP standard)

1 G


Sigma aldrich


Sodium lauryl sulfate (PS standard)

2 G


Fisher Chemical


Sodium lauryl sulfate 0.05M

2.5 L Amber glass bottle



Fisher Chemical


Sodium lauryl sulfate powder

500g glass bottle


Sodium Laureth Sulfate / SLES stored in PE drums

Where to buy Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)?

Here at Camachem we have Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) for sale. We export worldwide, so you can contact us for a FREE quotation today via email [email protected] or send us a message on WhatsApp for a fast response +86-131-2037-9271.