What are the standard books about formulating for HI&I?

PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
I was just curious if there was something like Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry for the Household and Industrial cleaner market.  If you were new to the industry, what text would you use?


  • chemicalmattchemicalmatt Member, Professional Chemist
    Good question. Besides Henry's Formulas, which is a bit dated, I don't know of one.  I've always used the tech lit/website for Stepan, Pilot, Lubrizol, Huntsman, et.al. Here in Chicago, TAB Chemical, now Brenntag Great Lakes, used to have the most exhaustive compendium of HI&I and automotive formulae anywhere. Having formulated these products for so many years I always tell cosmetic chemists: when it comes to HI&I, if you got more than six ingredients in there, you are probably over-thinking the job. Cheers! 
  • johnbjohnb Member, Professional Chemist
    edited February 2017
    My first job after being employed in UK government research was with a very large soap manufacturer (thousands of tonnes of soap per week). As an auxiliary to this the company also made laundry detergents (using the soap base they manufactured) detergent products based on synthetics - laundry detergents, hard surface cleaners, fabric softeners and suchlike. These were all for industrial/commercial use.

    I started work there with a knowledge level on the product range of almost zero. There was little at the time in the way of formal learning or teaching of the subject and my university chemistry knowledge was effectively no use whatsoever. It was a case of learning from what had been done before (by reading company formulation books and records) and from intense practical work in the lab. There was a little information available from raw materials suppliers (nowhere near as much as there is now) and it seemed that the whole industry was part of a secret society.*

    I soaked up knowledge and information like a sponge (you can do that when you're young) and it's stayed with me for many, many years. I was with that company for four years and in that time developed several products that reached the (industrial) marketplace. During my time there the company rearranged and the division where I worked merged with the retail products division involved with finished soaps and all sorts of toiletries. (This is where I began my work in cosmetic products).

    During that time and ever since there is much freer exchange of information between manufacturers and suppliers (they realised, probably way too late, that secrecy did nothing toward the advancement of their industry) and the whole scenario is much different.

    Anyway, after all that, to return to the real subject or the discussion. Much useful information can be obtained in the way chemicalmatt has intimated.

    I know of two books that I have found useful both by Davisohn & Milwidsky. one is entitled Polishes, the other Synthetic Detergents. Both are out of print but secondhand copies are available (I checked this morning) on Amazon. The information contained is necessarily dated but it gives a very useful insight and also formulation information of numerous products.

    *This secrecy remained much longer in the cosmetics development industry.

  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    edited February 2017
    Agreed with @johnb, I started 2 years back in H&I and the best book has been the amount of practical work in the lab. Of course at times Google books help a lot but again it's all about the time one spends in the lab. 
  • johnbjohnb Member, Professional Chemist
    A couple of points:

    I made an error in the book authors it is Davidsohn (I missed out a "d")

    A mention ought to be made of HAPPI magazine (Household And Personal Products Industry).
  • johnbjohnb Member, Professional Chemist
    A book which I had forgotten about - mainly because I lost my copy - or rather it was "borrowed on a permanent basis" is:

    Chemical specialties: Domestic and industrial' by Louis Chalmers.

    If it old and some of the information is completely out of date but, nevertheless, there is loads of useful information enclosed therein.

    Again, it is available on Amazon marketplace.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
  • johnbjohnb Member, Professional Chemist

    Not a book I'm familiar with - it wasn't published until way after I left that sort of work. Looks to be comprehensive (there are six volumes) and, like all Marcel Dekker publications, very expensive to buy. Fortunately, an appreciable amount is available through Google Books - as you have pointed out.

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