Labor analyse

Alkylphenols and alkylphenol ethoxylates

DIN EN ISO 18254-1 specifies a method for determining the content of alkylphenol ethoxylates in textiles. DIN EN ISO 21084, on the other hand, describes a method for determining the alkylphenol concentration in textiles. Both methods involve extraction in an ultrasonic bath and subsequent measurement by HPLC/DAD or GC/MS.

Test description

Not all pollutants sound harmful at first glance. Alkylphenols and alkylphenol ethoxylates are mainly surfactants, i.e. a kind of soap. And soap sounds harmless. But there are properties that make alkylphenols and alkylphenol ethoxylates particularly bad. For one thing, they are extremely harmful to aquatic organisms. The surface tension of water and its importance can be known. Surfactants lower this and thus disturb an important property of water. This is bad for water striders, which suddenly sink in, but can also have fatal consequences in fish when breathing under water, for example. At the same time, alkylphenols and alkylphenol ethoxylates degrade very poorly in nature. This means that their influence persists and increases over time. Finally, nonylphenolyethoxylate is known to be harmful to reproduction. The combination of these three points makes it one of the most tested substances on textiles.

At least nonylphenol is restricted by law to 1000 mg/kg and nonylphenol ethoxylates to 100 mg/kg according to Regulation 1907/2006 (Reach) Annex XVII Entry 46. However, their use in production or refinement is not restricted. They only have to be separated and collected afterwards so that they are not released into the environment. This also means that simple post-washing is not allowed in the EU. A special process must be used to collect the wash water and capture the alkylphenols and alkylphenol ethoxylates. It is better and cheaper to be directly sure whether they are in there or not.

We test alkylphenols according to the standard DIN EN ISO 21084 and alkylphenol ethoxylates according to DIN EN ISO 18254-1. Both standards are similar in their processing, extraction is carried out in an ultrasonic bath and then the concentration of pollutant is determined in the extract. GC/MS, HPLC/DAD, HPCL/MS and other variants can be used.


  • Testing for alkylphenols and alkylphenol ethoxylates
  • Testing for alkylphenols
  • Testing for alkylphenol ethoxylates

Required material for the test

  • at least 3 g fabric weight

Additional Tips

It is not allowed in the EU to wash nonylphenol or nonylphenol ethoxylates out of textiles in normal laundry. The washing water must be collected and disposed of in a special way.

How do we work

Our workflow



At the beginning, we clarify the scope of testing, the goal of the tests and, if applicable, the project requirements with the customer.



We prepare a quotation based on the scope of testing and the requirements



The order is clear and as soon as the test sample is received in the laboratory, we get straight to work with the sample.


Submitted test reports

The results are available in the form of a test report. In addition to the pure test result, an overall assessment according to legal, general or customer-specific requirements is possible.

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