Skip to main content

JEFFSOL®: A Safe, Sustainable Cleaning Solvent

logo-huntsman-1.png Recently, many manufacturers of cleaning products have prioritized the sustainable design of their products due to growing demands from their consumers. These manufacturers have increased their focus on developing products that are friendlier for human health and the environment.
Many cleaning formulations include solvents to reduce surface tension and increase wetting power to improve contact with the surface the cleaner is applied. Solvents also have good capacity to dissolve and clean surfaces of soils such as oil, grease, and other contaminants.

However, depending on the solvent used, some may present hazards when inhaled or ingested or if they touch the skin. Some cleaning solvents also contain VOCs that pose harm to the environment. Thus, cleaning product formulators must select solvents that combine high performance and compatibility with the environment and human health.

JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate for Sustainable Cleaning Products

JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate is a cyclic organic ester used in several solvent-based, water-based, and water-rinsable cleaner and degreaser formulations. JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate is particularly ideal for boosting the performance and sustainability of cleaners and degreasers because it exhibits the properties and benefits listed and explored in depth below.
JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate Property Benefit
Ready biodegradability

Environmentally friendly

US EPA VOC exemption
Low toxicity Safe to use
Low odor
Good reduction of surface tension High cleaning power
Excellent solvency

Environmental Friendliness

As mentioned, while cleaning solvents impart a better ability to clean, some do so at the expense of harming the environment. JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate has been studied and classified according to EU criteria as very readily biodegradable. Up to 90% theoretical oxygen demand values were obtained 15 days after JEFFSOL® was added at concentrations at or above the levels found in wastewater treatment plants (250–2,500 mg/L). Furthermore, studies with JEFFSOL® did not show any adverse effects over seven days at 200 ppm on bacteria from activated sludge. Thus, JEFFSOL® can be rapidly biodegraded without adverse effects on the microbes responsible for biodegradation.

Also, in 2009, the US EPA revised its definition of VOCs, adding propylene carbonate to a list of compounds excluded from this definition because they contribute negligible tropospheric ozone formation. This reclassification allows JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate to be used in cleaning formulations without the concern of damaging the atmosphere. The table below compares data showing the relatively low VOC content of JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate versus other solvents at an elevated temperature.
Solvent % VOC (at 100°C)
JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate 28
Propylene glycol monomethyl ether (PM) 100
Di(propylene glycol) methyl ether (DPM) 100
Dibasic ester mixture (DBE) 100
Benzyl alcohol (BA) 100
D-limonene 100
Limonene 145 100

Safety of Use

JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate is recognized for providing a high degree of safety for both cleaning-product formulators and end users. Since JEFFSOL® is classified as VOC exempt, it has very low odor. This benefits cleaning product formulations because specific fragrance profiles can be easily made without needing to mask the strong smell characteristic of most organic solvents. More importantly, when end users clean, they are exposed to far fewer harmful gases that typically originate from other cleaning solvents that necessitate use in well-ventilated areas.

Also, in several instances with laboratory studies, JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate demonstrated no practical acute and short-term toxicity. In studies with laboratory animals, practical nontoxicity was demonstrated through oral and dermal exposure, with minimal irritation to the eyes and skin. JEFFSOL® has also been tested for subchronic, neurotoxic, chronic, genetic, and developmental toxicity without findings or evidence in lab animals. For these reasons, JEFFSOL® has even found use in personal care applications.

Higher Cleaning Power

While JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate is a relatively safe cleaning solvent that protects human health and the environment, its ability to dissolve soils and reduce surface tension makes it particularly useful in cleaners. As mentioned, liquids with lower surface tensions create better contact with the surfaces they are applied to. The surfaces that cleaners are applied to sometimes have rough or irregular surface morphology. Thus, cleaners with lower surface tension can better penetrate crevices or recesses on these surfaces, providing better cleaning area coverage. Detailed below are the surface tension of JEFFSOL® and its Hansen Solubility Parameters, which are used as predictors for the capacity to dissolve specific substances.
Property JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate
Hansen Solubility Parameter (Total, cal1/2cm-3/2) 13.3
Hansen Solubility Parameter (Dispersive, cal1/2cm-3/2) 9.8
Hansen Solubility Parameter (Polar, cal1/2cm-3/2) 8.8
Hansen Solubility Parameter (Hydrogen bonding, cal1/2cm-3/2) 2.0
Surface tension (dynes/cm, 25°C) 4.98
Surface tension (dynes/cm, 40°C) 40.9
Dipole moment (debyes, 40°C) 4.98

Example Starting Formulations

Hard Surface Cleaners and Floor Cleaners
Ingredients Ratio
JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate 13
Propylene glycol monomethyl ether (PM) 6
SURFONIC® N-95, N-120, or JL-80X 1
Note: This formulation is a concentrate meant for dilution with 80 parts of water

Degreaser Formulations and Performance Data
Formulation Performance
Ingredients Ratio Chevron Moly EP, % Grease Removal in 1 Hour Chevron FM EP, % Grease Removal in 1 Hour Chevron Ultra Duty, % Grease Removal in 1 Hour
JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate 8.16 97.14 96.88 96.88
JEFFSOL® Butylene Carbonate 3.50
Propylene glycol butyl ether 39.73
Naphthene 48.60
Formulation Performance
Ingredients Ratio Chevron Moly EP, % Grease Removal in 1 Hour Chevron FM EP, % Grease Removal in 1 Hour Chevron Ultra Duty, % Grease Removal in 1 Hour
JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate 17.54 97.06 96.94 96.43
JEFFSOL® Butylene Carbonate 7.52
Exxate™ 900 54.14
Naphthene 20.80
Formulation Performance
Ingredients Ratio Chevron Moly EP, % Grease Removal in 1 Hour Chevron FM EP, % Grease Removal in 1 Hour Chevron Ultra Duty, % Grease Removal in 1 Hour
JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate 27.34 93.33 100.0 100.0
JEFFSOL® Butylene Carbonate 11.72
Exxate™ 900 44.16
Naphthene 16.19
Formulation Performance
Ingredients Ratio Chevron Moly EP, % Removal in 1 Hour Chevron FM EP, % Removal in 1 Hour Chevron Ultra Duty, % Removal in 1 Hour
JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate 22.20 97.14 84.38 96.43
JEFFSOL® Butylene Carbonate 22.20
Propylene glycol butyl ether 55.60
Tub and Tile Cleaners and Performance Data
Formula Ingredients Ingredient Ratios Water (Dilution) Average Delta G (20°/60°)
A JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate 5.00 89.98 96.0/98.14
Propylene glycol monomethyl ether 5.00
Activator 0.02
B JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate 2.49 89.50 94.3/95.2
Propylene glycol monomethyl ether 2.49
Activator 0.56
C JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate 2.48 89.18 96.1/95.3
Propylene glycol monomethyl ether 2.48
Activator 0.91
Commercial Clear Cleaner I N/A N/A N/A 83.5/86.9
Commercial Clear Cleaner II N/A N/A N/A 82.4/88.6
Industrial Cleaners

JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate is also an excellent choice for industrial cleaning applications involving the removal of uncured components originating from polyurethane foam, polymer, polyester, or epoxy production processes.
Formulation Ingredients Ratios
A JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate 50
Dibasic ester mixture 50
B JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate 50
NMP 50
C JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate 50
Propylene glycol monomethyl ether 50


JEFFSOL® Propylene Carbonate is an ideal solvent for various cleaning formulations due to its sustainability and cleaning performance. It is readily biodegradable, practically nontoxic, and VOC exempt by the US EPA. In addition, it reduces surface tension and dissolves several types of soils. Click below to request a sample today.

Get a Sample

PHONE  425.372.9464

Hi, let us know if you have any questions as you visit our website.

ChemPoint reps are here to assist you