"In a reversal of the usual evolutionary process, several of the big soapers are responding to Orange Glo with their own products: Clorox Oxygen Action from Clorox, Shout OxyPower from S. C. Johnson, and All Oxi-Active (which contains sodium perborate instead of percarbonate) from Unilever.
Sodium percarbonate makers are reaping the benefits of all this new product activity. Roy Hill, percarbonate business manager at the Solvay Interox division of Solvay, says household products like OxiClean are the biggest drivers of percarbonate demand today. Bleach-containing powdered laundry detergents are still an important market, he says, but liquid detergents continue to take away market share from them.
Partly in response to the new market, Solvay Interox is building a second sodium percarbonate plant in Deer Park, Texas,
that will add 50,000 metric tons per year of capacity by the end of the year. The company will use a dry reaction process and incorporate a stabilization coating to help overcome percarbonate's traditional stability problems.
In contrast, Solvay closed its Deer Park sodium perborate plant at the beginning of 2002, according to Hill. Demand was falling, he says, because of a combination of increasing consumer preference for liquid detergents and switching to percarbonate as the bleach ingredient of choice in powdered detergents.
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There is no mention of the percentage of sodium perborate in the All Oxi-Active product, but it does indicate that it is a component.
For the unwashed (pun intended), why the preference for the sodium perborate?