Specialty Chemicals & Formulations for Cleaning Products | HI&I | Stepan

Cleaning is more than just removing dirt from surfaces
Cleaning means maintaining essential equipment, ensuring a safer work environment and promoting healthier living. Stepan Company pairs our extensive HI&I portfolio and industry know-how to deliver the tailored solutions you're looking for.
Concentrate on Product Performance
Are you looking to improve your product's cleaning performance and sustainability profile by creating a high-performing concentrate? Look to the MAKON® UD-Series for help. They pack a punch with demonstrated strong and consistent degreasing performance across multiple surfaces and soils, even at lower use levels!
Be Clean, Look Clean
Stepan's Low Film/Streak Technology helps formulators close the gaps that traditional nonionic surfactants demonstrate with respect to total cleaning performance in no-rinse hard surface cleaners.

Green Cleaning at Your Fingertips

We understand that busy schedules can make it hard to start a new formulation from scratch. Let Stepan do the heavy lifting for you. Indoor, outdoor, bathroom, kitchen, car or truck — we have you covered!

Navigating Safer Choice

Stepan’s Cleangredients® Guide offers a comprehensive list of our U.S. EPA Safer Choice-approved ingredients and a variety of HI&I formulations. 


Antimicrobial products kill or slow the spread of microorganisms. Traditionally, a surface is treated to prevent disease from spreading on a surface and ultimately, protect human and animal health. Stepan’s vision is to provide innovative chemical solutions for a cleaner, healthier, more energy efficient world and one way we live this vision is by offering biocidal active ingredients, most notable being our BTC® quaternary ammonium compounds (quats). Stepan’s BTC ingredients offer broad-spectrum efficacy, may be used over a wide pH range and are low in odor. They are most commonly used for household and institutional sanitization and disinfection. Not only does Stepan sell the biocidal active, we offer customers the opportunity to sublicense end-use formulations. 

BTC® 2125M P40

Are you looking to diversify your disinfectant or sanitizer portfolio with a product that prioritizes convenience? 

Stepan’s BTC ingredients and end-use formulations containing these ingredients are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and therefore, require expert knowledge in microbiology, formulation development, efficacy testing and protocols, and regulatory requirements. Stepan has that long-standing expertise and is dedicated to helping you navigate through product selection, formulation development, federal and state registration requirements and label compliance. Stepan has also supported the Canadian market for 30 years through our Canadian Drug Identification Number (DIN)-registered formulations. If you have questions about Stepan’s U.S. EPA-registered solutions, Canadian DIN-registered solutions or the European Biocidal Products Regulation, please contact us. We’re here to help. 

Sanitizers are used to reduce microorganisms on surfaces to safe levels as determined by health codes or regulations. Our BTC products are used to make sanitizers including food-contact surface sanitizers for restaurants and food processing plants, and non-food contact surface sanitizers for surfaces such as bathtubs and floors. Prevent odors in laundry machines with SO/SAN® Commercial Fabric Softener/Sanitizer and SO/SAN® Household Fabric Softener/Sanitizer. These concentrated formulations utilize our biocidal active SO/SAN® 30M and are designed for use in commercial/institutional and household laundry operations. The residual self-sanitizing activity reduces the number of odor-causing bacteria from wet contamination.

Our neutral and alkaline dilutable concentrated disinfectants are used to kill or irreversibly inactivate infectious bacteria, fungi and viruses present on surfaces. Our BTC line includes products for the two major disinfectant types: hospital-type disinfectants that are critical for infection control and general-use disinfectants for household and institutional cleaning.

Stepan also offers a portfolio of U.S. EPA-approved end use formulations that meet the criteria for application against emerging viral pathogens and therefore may be considered for use as hard surface disinfectants against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. Click here to learn more.

View All Disinfectant End-Use Formulations

Stepan has ready-to-use formulations, including foaming cleaners, sprays and wipes that act as deodorizers, cleaners and disinfectants. These alcohol-free products, such as Detergent Disinfectant Pump Spray and SC-RTU Disinfectant Cleaner, can be used in homes, hospitals, schools, restaurants, hotels and many other locations.

View All Ready-to-Use Formulations

  • BTC 835 has utility in disinfectant, industrial water treatment and wood preservation applications.
  • BTC 885 and BTC 888 are broad spectrum quaternaries for disinfectant and sanitizer applications.
  • BTC 1210-80% is a broad-spectrum quaternary for a wide variety of disinfectant products and sanitizers for food-contact surfaces.
  • BTC 2125M can be an effective option for pool or spa algaecides, disinfectant applications and no-rinse food-contact surface sanitizers.
  • ONYXIDE® 3300 has a unique saccharinate counterion that avoids the metal corrosivity potentially associated with the chloride counterion in traditional biocidal actives.

Hand & Automatic Dishwash

Consumers have high expectations when it comes to the quality and performance of the products they use. For hand dishwash, high foam provides a visual cue of performance to the consumer. For automatic dishwash, low foam and water sheeting are key performance attributes. Stepan can help you develop hand and automatic dishwash detergents that deliver on cleaning performance expectations.

People are also concerned with protecting the environment and expect the products they use to contain environmentally friendly ingredients. Stepan offers products that are listed on CleanGredients® to help you deliver on these expectations.

Hand Dishwash

Automatic Dishwash

Stepan’s alkoxylates are great options when formulating automatic dishwash detergents due to their emulsification and defoaming properties. BIO-SOFT N1-5 and BIO-SOFT N91-2.5 add performance to our household automatic dishwash detergent helping fight tough stains on dishes.

Rinse Aids

Today, dishes are expected to be clean and look clean as they come out of the dishwasher. Rinse aids promote water sheeting that reduce drying time and enhance the shine on dishes. Our versatile rinse aid and low-temperature rinse aid formulations contain MAKON® NF-180, a nonionic surfactant designed with low-foaming and defoaming properties. MAKON NF-180 is well-suited for elevated- and low-temperature institutional and industrial warewash rinse aids and home rinse aids. It offers excellent wetting properties to help leave dishes, glassware and utensils spot- and film-free.

No matter what application you are looking for, Stepan will work with you throughout the formulation process to make your product get noticed on the shelf. 

Explore our full range of products for: 

Hand DishwashingAutomatic DishwashingRinse Aids

Laundry Detergents

Laundry detergents come in a variety of forms – liquid, powder, unit dose, bars and more. As markets develop there is generally a shift in usage from bars to powders to liquids. Stepan is following the trends closely and understands your regional needs.

Sustainable and safe products remain a priority in the cleaning industry. Users of cleaning products, including laundry detergents, expect their ingredients to be safe and this has a high influence on their purchase decision. Stepan offers a variety of CleanGredients®-approved surfactants, an assurance for those looking to formulate using safer ingredient alternatives.  

If you are looking to reduce formulation complexity and minimize ingredients, start with BIO-SOFT LD-190, a highly concentrated blend that provides cleaning power. Or if you are formulating for consumer convenience, Stepan offers a variety of solutions for unit dose formulations and stick pre-treaters as a place to start your development.

Our nonionic surfactant portfolio can address the needs of institutional and industrial laundry, including high temperatures and lower foam. MAKON® UD-7 provides fast foam break and does not go through a gel phase when diluted in water, making it a suitable choice for auto dose systems needing highly concentrated detergents. 

Fabric Softeners

Keep clothes fresh and towels thirsty! Stepan’s triethanolamine (TEA)-based esterquats, STEPANTEX® SP-90 and STEPANTEX VT-90, are readily biodegradable, provide very good re-wetting and are non-yellowing to fabric. STEPANTEX SP-90 also has the added benefit of being vegetable-based. These are great choices to formulate concentrated and dilute fabric softeners.

After clothes are washed, the next step taken can vary around the world. Clothes may be line-dried outdoors or indoors, or transferred into a dryer. If your consumers typically use a dryer, consider STEPANTEX HTS-100. It is designed to coat fabric softener sheets, offers excellent controlled release in tumble dryers and provides static reduction.

For institutional and industrial applications, ACCOSOFT® 501 and ACCOSOFT 808 can be used in fabric softener sours to help neutralize harsh detergents. SO/SAN® 30M, a concentrated fabric softener/sanitizer, provides static control as well as residual self-sanitizing activity.

Explore Stepan’s full portfolio of ingredients for:

Laundry DetergentsFabric SoftenersPre-Treaters

Hard Surface Cleaning

Home, institutional and janitorial cleaning is a sensory experience that involves a surface looking clean, feeling clean, and leaving a pleasant fragrance. Stepan offers a wide range of products that can enhance the cleaning experience including over 30 ingredients that are CleanGredients®-listed and can be used in U.S. EPA Safer Choice products as safer alternatives to human health and the environment.

Kitchen Cleaners

Kitchens are a dirty business. From kitchen grease on stoves, to fingerprints on a refrigerator handle, and even microorganisms that may grow on surfaces after the handling of raw meat or unwashed produce, Stepan chemistries are designed to tackle the toughest of grease, grime and sanitize food surfaces. Our amine oxides, AMMONYX® CDO SPECIAL and AMMONYX LO, provide excellent degreasing in concentrate formulations. Our nonionic surfactants like MAKON® UD-6 and BIO-SOFT® N91-8 provide cleaning power for greasy and oily soils. And, if you need to sanitize your kitchen surfaces, we recommend our ready-to-use food contact surface sanitizer, BTC® 2125M-RTU200 Sanitizer, and corresponding biocidal active ingredients, BTC 2125M or BTC 2125M-80%. For the kitchen’s stainless steel surfaces including refrigerators, microwaves and other appliances, try STEPANOL® WA-EXTRA HP, a sodium lauryl sulfate with great foaming and viscosity-building properties.

Bathroom Cleaners

We should not only practice good personal hygiene; we should also do our best to practice good hygiene on the surfaces in our bathrooms. The combination of nonionic and amphoteric surfactants is very effective in removing typical bathroom soils. Our CleanGredient-listed solutions, AMMONYX LO and BIO-SOFT EC-690 are a powerful duo for shower cleaning including, tub and tile cleaners or high-foaming cleanersAMMONXY LO SPECIAL is a great option if you are looking for compatibility with bleach products such as mold and mildew stain removers. This foamy cleaner removes stains from grout, tile, tub, shower doors and vinyl curtains.

Glass and Window Cleaners

Stepan has found that the pairing of MAKON L61, an EO/PO block copolymer, and STEPANTEX® CO-36, an ethoxylated castor oil, is highly effective at cleaning dirt and grime while maintaining a beautiful streak-free shine on glass surfaces. Ethoxylated nonionic surfactants are not a typical choice in glass cleaners due to potential filming issues, but these nontraditional glass cleaning ingredients are a perfect combination, leaving even mirrors clean and bright.

To formulate an environmentally friendly, dilutable glass cleaner, consider BIO-SOFT N1-7, a nonionic surfactant that promotes fast wetting and helps the formula spread over surfaces quickly and efficiently. For a bio-based cleaner, start with ALPHA-STEP® PC-48, an anionic surfactant that is 94% bio-based.

Multi-Purpose Cleaners

To make cleaning more convenient, Stepan offers a range of general-purpose cleaning formulations appropriate for a variety of applications and surfaces. Stepan’s high-active alkoxylates*, BIO-SOFT LFS-04 and BIO-SOFT LFS-07, provide high-performance cleaning with the low filming and streaking that had been missing in the market. The BIO-SOFT LFS-Series finds utility in multi-purpose and multi-surface products – tackling tough dirt and grime on windows, countertops and flooring surfaces such as new flooring materials. STEOL® CS-330 can be used with BIO-SOFT LFS-07 to create a flexible, multi-purpose cleaner concentrate.

For a solvent-free formulation, try STEPOSOL® M-8-10, which provides solvo-surfactant properties, replacing traditional solvents. Combine that with Stepan’s BIO-SOFT D-40 and BIO-SOFT N91-6 to achieve effective cleaning of particulate, grime and oily soils. If you are looking for a multi-functional ingredient with hydrotropic properties that is stable across a wide pH range, try Stepan’s BIO-TERGE® PAS-8S. This specialty anionic also improves the final appearance by reducing filming and streaking on glass.

Stepan has also designed a series of balanced nonionic blends for consumer and industrial applications. The BIO-SOFT® N-Series Blends is a portfolio of surfactant blends that take the hassle out of cleaning. The BIO-SOFT® N-Series Blends are designed to target a broad range of cleaning, degreasing, emulsifying and wetting on a variety of surfaces and soils. These fully formulated and readily biodegradable blends meet or exceed the performance of individual LAE surfactants as well as nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE).

Explore our full line of hard surface cleaning products for:

Bathroom CleanersGlass and Mirror CleanersHard Surface Cleaners – Ready-to-UseKitchen CleanersToilet Bowl CleanersTub and Tile CleanersOven and Grill Cleaners

*patent pending

Industrial Cleaning

Cleaning in an industrial setting requires tailor-made solutions. It is important to take into consideration the surface you are cleaning, soil type and soil load. Other aspects include time, frequency, temperature and whether the cleaning process is Clean-In-Place (CIP) or not. All of these factors result in the need for task-specific formulations.

Our heavy-duty concrete cleaner and industrial metal cleaner combine a variety of Stepan surfactants to remove motor oil and soil buildup from surfaces such as garage floors and metal equipment.

Some industrial cleaning operations require surfactants that exhibit solubility in highly acidic or alkaline systems. Acid cleaners are used to remove mineral deposits, hard water scale and milk or beer stone. Alkaline cleaners are used to degrease and remove tough soils such as inks or adhesives. If you are formulating a descaler, the lime and rust remover featuring AMMONYX® LO SPECIAL works on scale and rust stains.

Stepan also offers a unique surfactant line of traditional solvent replacements. STEPOSOL® SC is a versatile, naturally derived alternative that can be formulated into a variety of applications such as a printing press cleaner to remove ink from metal components, an industrial graffiti remover or a waterless hand cleaner. STEPOSOL DG, a cationic/nonionic blend, is a great choice for water-based degreasers. Or try STEPOSOL SB-W in your non-aqueous degreaser formulations.

We have the chemistry and the know-how, but we need to hear from you about your specific needs. Contact us to discuss your customized solution.

Explore Stepan’s full portfolio of ingredients for:

Brewery CleanersConcrete CleanersDairy CleanersDegreasersMeat Packing Plant CleanersInk and Graffiti RemovalMetalworking Cleaners

Vehicle Care

Stepan has a wide range of products that are ideal for internal and external vehicle care surfaces, as well as for a variety of applications such as self-service, touchless, tunnel and detailing.


Presoak is intended to loosen dirt and grime and wet the surface of the vehicle before the wash cycles. Stepan’s AMPHOSOL® HCG and AMMONYX® LO can be used in the base of pre-soak formulations. These two cationic-compatible surfactants can also be used for reclaim-compatible car washes.

Foaming Cleaners and Conditioners

Stepan’s vehicle care line includes high-foaming cleaners and conditioners for self-service and tunnel applications. Our consumer car wash formulation is designed for easy dilution and high foam production utilizing BIO-SOFT® S-101. For commercial car wash concentratesBIO-TERGE® AS-40K and AMMONYX LMDO can be combined to clean away tough dirt and grime. These three ingredients have the added benefit of being CleanGredients®-listed, making them a safer alternative for human health and the environment.

We also can deliver solutions for your industrial vehicle care needs. We’ve developed industrial concentrate formulations such as our triple-foam base that provides a large amount of foam for colored car washes. This formulation can also be used for pre-soak application.

Specialty Formulations

Stepan also offers specialized products for specialty surfaces and purposes. We offer a range of ingredients that can be used in environmentally friendly formulations for upholstery cleanersinterior cleaners and wheel cleaners. Our car and boat wash can help you achieve powerful performance and an improved environmental profile for your formulation. It can be used at full strength or diluted for light cleaning. This formulation contains BIO-SOFT DR-13 and STEPANATE® SXS, ingredients listed on CleanGredients® and meet the criteria for direct release into the environment. These two products can also be paired for heavy-duty cleaning power in applications such as degreaser concentrates.

If you are looking to formulate bug and tar removers, try STEPOSOL® DG, an alternative to solvents in water-based formulations.

Explore our full range of vehicle care products for:

Bug and Tar RemoversCarwash – AutomaticCarwash – HandEngine DegreasersTruck Wash



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