Formulating manual dishwash liquid with sophorolipids - Guide formulation

What is a Biosurfactant?

Biosurfactants are amphiphilic compounds typically produced by yeasts and bacteria, which are secreted into the aqueous fermentation media in which the cells are growing. Biosurfactants possess the characteristic property of reducing the surface and interfacial tension, using the same mechanisms as chemical surfactants. In short, biosurfactants are a class of surfactants that are produced by yeasts and bacteria via fermentation.


Sophorolipids are a type of glycolipid biosurfactant that give a formulator a range of performance properties in formulations over a pH range from 2 to 10, which is the standard range for the majority of cleaning, cosmetic, agriculture and oil and gas formulations. Sophorolipids provide improved wetting properties in comparison to other biosurfactants and are created by a naturally occurring yeast found in honey, unlike other biosurfactants that can come from either genetically modified organisms (GMO) or pathogenic organisms.

Manual Dishwash Liquid

Utilising Sophorolipids in hard surface cleaners allows a formulator to add a powerful non-ionic cleaner, offering improved cleaning and mildness, with the knowledge that they are using a green sustainable cleaning ingredient; this finished product has no CLP grading.

How to formulate…

• Add 1/2 of the Water to the Vessel
• Add Sodium GLDA, Citric Acid and dissolve until a clear liquid - add Sodium Hydroxide to pH 10 (Citric acid and sodium hydroxide can be replaced with Tri-sodium Citrate at this step)
• Add SLES and Honeysurf HF stir until dissolved - adding this will make the mixture go cloudy, though it will clear with in 1 minute
• Add the rest of the water
• Add Cocamidopropyl Betaine (coconut oil sourced)
• Adjust with Sodium Hydroxide if needed
• Add colour and perfume as desired
• Add Sodium Chloride and salt thicken to desired viscosity

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All guide formulations provided by Holiferm are for information purposes only, and are not designed for commercial use, as such Holiferm takes no liability for their use. These are designed to create a spark for the creative mind of other formulators.