Hydrotropes increase the solubility of surfactants in a wide variety of formulations, particularly those containing high concentrations of alkaline builders or acids. Hydrotropes also raise the cloud point of the solution allowing for higher temperature end-use applications. They play an essential role in the development of highly alkaline or acidic formulations and are generally required to achieve optimum formulation stability and acceptable cleaning performance over a wide temperature range.

Hydrotropes commonly used in HI&I formulations are typically monofunctional. The formulator is generally required to use multiple surfactants to achieve the desired level of detergency, wetting, and emulsification. The result is a complex and oftentimes costly formulation.

DeFOREST has developed a line of multifunctional hydrotropes which overcome the limitations of commonly used hydrotropes available to the industry. Our hydrotropes are highly efficient and also provide wetting, detergency, and in many cases corrosion inhibition.

We recommend the following multifunctional hydrotropes for use in your most challenging formulations:



A very low foaming 45% active sodium alkanoate. It’s an effective hydrotrope for use in highly alkaline systems where low foam is desirable. Additionally, this hydtrope is chlorine stable, contributes wetting properties, is non-phenolic and readily biodegradable. Not recommended for use in acid systems.



Multifunctional hydrotropes suggested for use in both liquid and powdered neutral to alkaline formulations. In addition to their hydrotrope properties, they are excellent wetting agents and corrosion inhibitors, especially for aluminum. Recommended for use in alkaline systems where a high cloud point and low-to-moderate, quick breaking foam are required. Exceptionally high performance properties allow for low use concentrations to achieve desired properties.

DeTROPE CA-90 is an easier-to-handle, 90% active version of DeTROPE CA-100 that remains liquid at low temperatures (~35ºF-40ºF). Both products are hard water stable, non-phenolic and readily biodegradable. Not recommended for use in acid systems.



A versatile surfactant classified as a 50% active organophosphate-amphoteric. It has outstanding stability in highly alkaline and acid systems, and is an excellent low-to-moderate foaming hydrotrope in formulations containing high electrolyte content. This product has very good detergency and wetting properties, is hard water stable and inherently biodegradable.



A low foaming modified phosphate ester in the free acid form with excellent hydrotroping and wetting properties. It is suggested for use in strong alkaline and acid formulations, and also as a water soluble lubricant.


DePHOS H-66-872

A 50% active potassium salt of an aromatic phosphate ester. Very low foaming with exceptional hydrotroping properties in both alkaline and acid systems. When compared to similar products in the marketplace, this hydrotrope has lower foaming properties and less odor.


Please review the hydrotrope properties of our multifunctional products in alkaline electrolytes: Cloud Point Comparison of DeForest Multifunctional Hydrotropes

In addition to the above hydrotropes, a variety of our other products are excellent hydrotropes in both alkaline and acid systems.These products include our DePHOS phosphate esters and DeTERIC amphoterics such as sodium octyliminodipropionate and sodium lauriminodipropionate.

Finally, many of our corrosion inhibitors also have excellent hydrotrope properties.   Please review the Hydrotrope Properties of DeForest Corrosion Inhibitors.


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