It was not a long back when the Covid-19 pandemic catastrophically hit us all and led to the active adoption of habits of washing all household items, grocery bags, plastic packets, & whatnot. This thorough clean-up was principally for reducing the spread of diseases & viruses. It was pretty much the time when the demand for all kinds of cleaning items like soaps, detergents, disinfectants, etc., skyrocketed. But, did it ever cross your mind what exactly in these products ensured the elimination of germs? Well, it is the Caustic Soda!
For hundreds of years, it was believed & chemically identified that animal fat & ash were mixed in water to make soaps, where the volcanic or wood ash acted as the cleansing agent. Today, the caustic soda has taken over the concept and is aiding in the same manner, which, in turn, is portraying its vast application area across different verticals.
A recent study estimates that the Global Caustic Soda Market is set to experience more than 5% CAGR during 2022-27. Today, the utilization of caustic soda is diverse, with extensive production & distribution across different corners of the world. Yet the substantial hike was seen mainly with the advent of Covid-19 in 2020.
Various health organizations and government associations encouraged & even mandated the use of sanitizers & disinfectants for extensive cleansing and to eliminate the virus spread. Additionally, the sudden rise in the cases brought panic among people. Consequently, there was an exponential rise in the sales of soaps & detergents for cleaning clothes, face masks, shopping bags, plastic packets, & pretty much everything, which positively influenced the demand for caustic soda.
Defining Caustic Soda
Caustic Soda, which is a distinct alkali compound with intense cleansing abilities, finds extensive application in various everyday household items like disinfectants, soaps, detergents, etc. However, there is more to it than you think. Caustic Soda is also widely used in the paper & pulp industry, automotive, textile, water treatment, and chemical, among other industries, owing to its versatile properties.
The origin of the name comes from its extensive industrial application, defining a compound that is "caustic" enough to dissolve various organic compounds & proteins. The etymology also means "to wash," which is quite evident by its utilization as a cleansing agent for decades.
Many other applications make caustic soda a prominent ingredient for different spectrums. Its presence in the pharmaceutical industry is double-folded, where on one hand, it is used as an ingredient to manufacture medicines like cholesterol control drugs & painkillers, and on the other hand, caustic soda is also an active ingredient in producing cardboard for medicine shipment across geographies.
Expansive Textile Industry & Caustic Soda
While Caustic Soda finds application across different industries, the textile sector is one of the prominent consumers of these substances & makes a significant contribution to the overall expansion of the industry.
The textile industry uses caustic soda in multiple ways, from cleansing the raw materials to dyeing the final product. Any kind of raw material tends to have some kind of impurities like such as seed fragments that need to be removed to attain cloth. This process is done by soaking the raw material in an alkaline solution made of caustic soda at a high temperature. The caustic soda also forms a soapy substance that inherently acts as a cleansing agent and removes mud, natural wax, oil, and other unnecessary substances from the material. Followed this, owing to this soaking, the properties of the fiber within the fabric are enhanced, giving improved strength, luster, & durability.
The caustic soda acts as an enhancer that reduces the shrinkage of the cloth material & improves the overall cloth quality. Besides, caustic soda is also used in the textile dyeing processes to mediate a necessary control over the pH level. In fact, owing to its chemical properties, it is added to the dyeing process in textile to control the dye affinity of the fabric & enhance its color quality.
A Way Forward for the Caustic Soda Industry
The Covid-19 pandemic brought a panic-like situation among people across different corners of the world and demonstrated a rapid rise in the sales of soaps, detergents, & disinfectants. It is attributed primarily to the increased consumer inclination toward maintaining utmost hygiene & cleanliness in their households, which, in turn, surged the demand for caustic soda.
Although the pandemic today is not severe as it was back then, concerns over hygiene & sanitization are still the same, which indicates a continual consumption of cleaning products and an escalating demand for caustic soda worldwide.
What surprises more is a significant need for this compound across the chemical industry and a slowly recovering organic & inorganic chemical supply, especially from the paper & pulp, automotive, & textile industries. Hence, it is likely that the coming years will be fruitful for the leading companies in the Global Caustic Soda Market, which would unlock its full potential owing to the rising end-user requirements across different regions, especially Asia-Pacific.
Nonetheless, there might be a few challenges like the highly corrosive nature of caustic soda, which these companies may face and, in turn, hamper the market growth in the future. However, the leaders are actively working on optimizing their manufacturing & production processes associated with caustic soda, which would help promote the industry growth in the years ahead.