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Treat and Process Leather More Effectively Using Oilfield Chemicals

oilfield chemicals are widely applied in many industries due to their unique properties.  These chemicals are also applied in leather tanning industry to clean and process leather.

Unique Properties of surfactants and other oilfield chemicals

Surfactants have high wetting properties. They also have high dispersion and emulsification properties. Non ionic surfactants do not form ions on aqueous solutions and hence form excellent cleaning agent for both household and industrial applications. Due to their emulsification properties, surfactants promote mixing of immiscible liquids and are not affected by hard water and other insoluble properties of liquids.

Applications of surfactants and other oilfield chemicals in leather tanning (cleaning, dyeing etc)

Surfactants and other oilfield chemicals are widely applied in leather tanning process. The leather tanning process greatly depends on these surfactants. Both ionic and non ionic surfactants (fatty alcohol ethoxylate and alkanesulfonates) are used to clean leather, wool, fur and other products.  
Fatty alcohol ethoxylate are widely used in tanning, degreasing and other finishing operations on leather. During degreasing, fatty alcohols are applied on hides and skins. This process removes any fats, grease and oil. Special surfactants such as chrome complexes with fatty acid and perfluoro acids are used to impact water resistant properties on leather which makes them durable.

Dyeing of leather is one of the most important steps in leather tanning. This process greatly depends of anionic surfactants which stabilize the dye color and enhance the fixation of the dye onto the leather fibers. Both anionic and anionic surfactants increase the dye solubility which is an important step in the dyeing process.  

Fat liquoring is one of the last stages of processing leather. During tanning process, the leather does not have enough lubricants to prevent it from forming a hard mass or drying to hard fabric.  The fat liquoring induces oil into the leather such that the fibers are coated individually. This process is done using alkanesulfonates and it makes the leather soft and very flexible. During this process, emulsifiers are also applied to increase the spread of oil on leather surface

Use of special surfactants to protect leather and fur

Leathers and fur are mostly treated with surfactants and other oilfield chemicals in order to produce a protective coating on the skin of the fibers. Surfactants also prevent the furs and hide fibers from sticking together. Surfactants increase the tensile strength of the leather products making it more durable and attractive.

Use of surfactants to produce special coating when finishing leather products

Surfactants are used to form the final coating of leather products. A lacquer like polymer is used to form the coating. This coating is applied in form of emulsions and suspensions which use surfactants.


Leather tanning process greatly relies on oilfield chemicals and surfactants due to their excellent solubility, dispersion and emulsification. They are widely applied in cleaning and degreasing hides. They are also applied during tanning, dyeing, lacquering, dyeing and other finishing operations done on leather. 

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