A total of 357,000 tons of silicone products is sold into this sector each year and is used in a very large range of final products in the personal care and consumer products sector. The personal care products sector alone employs millions of workers directly and indirectly.
Silicone polymers and cyclic siloxanes are used in this sector as solvents and carriers for many products. In the personal care product sector, they are used in:
- Hair, skin and sun care products
They provide a glossy or “smooth” feel as well as other processing benefits, which include transparency, lack of taste or odor, rapid evaporation from skin, and low skin irritability.
In consumer products, silicones are used to make:
- Household polishes
- Laundry detergents
- Kitchen products
- Baby and infant products
The fact that silicone is pliable, and bacteria-and- heat resistant make it an ideal material for use in the kitchen. Silicone kitchen tool varieties are endless, with applications ranging from baking molds and oven mitts to collapsible food containers and sippy cups.
When silicones are used in the consumer product sector, they provide significant energy savings.
For example, silicones are used as an antifoaming agent in laundry detergents and fabric softeners, which helps reduce water and energy consumption in washing machines.
As finishes for textile products, silicones help fabrics retain shape, texture, and resistance to abrasion. Silicones enable new techniques to design sportswear that is lightweight, durable, water repellent, and high performing, while allowing the fabric to breathe.
Silicones are used in dry cleaning because they help carry detergent while rinsing away suspended dirt and oils trapped by the detergent, therefore maintaining the quality and color of cleaned clothes. And, silicones treatments keep textiles soft, even with repeated washings.