The DID-list

The EU-eco-labelling system has developed a ‘Detergent Ingredients Database’ (DID-list) with environmental data for chemicals normally used in detergents. It provides an easy overview, but requires a certain understanding of chemical names.

Access to the DID-list.

To obtain further explanation regarding the figures listed in the DID-list, see the explanatory notes on: Degradation, Eco-toxicity, Bio-accumulation


The HERA database

For further in depth knowledge of the specific substances we can recommend the database of the HERA project ‘Human and Environment Risk Assessment on ingredients of household cleaning products’. This website includes a valuable section with in depth assessment of specific ingredients.


Why be concerned?

Supplier progress

Potential impacts

Functional groups

Substance list

Legislation / REACH


Related Links

Wash with care

Environmental assessment of laundry detergents

Functional groups

Several functional groups of chemicals are included in detergent formulations.

In professional laundry use some formulations differ from household detergents, but basically the same functional groups are used.

Below is an overview of the functional groups. Use the links for more information.

Functional group




Suspension and dispersion of soiling

Complexing agents


Immobilise calcium, magnesium

Bleaching agents


Bleaching of spots etc

Fabric softeners

Reduce static electricity in synthetic fibres

Neutralising remaining surfactants

Other substances







Optical brighteners


Perfumes etc


Improves the effects of the surfactants


Catalytic degradation of different substances


Maintain white luminance


Produce scents