Solubilization of hydrophobic dyes in surfactant solutions

Ali Reza Tehrani-Bagha, Krister Holmberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review

172 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, the use of surfactants for solubilization of hydrophobic organic dyes (mainly solvent and disperse dyes) has been reviewed. The effect of parameters such as the chemical structures of the surfactant and the dye, addition of salt and of polyelectrolytes, pH, and temperature on dye solubilization has been discussed. Surfactant self-assemble into micelles in aqueous solution and below the concentration where this occurs-the critical micelle concentration (CMC)-there is no solubilization. Above the CMC, the amount of solubilized dye increases linearly with the increase in surfactant concentration. It is demonstrated that different surfactants work best for different dyes. In general, nonionic surfactants have higher solubilization power than anionic and cationic surfactants. It is likely that the reason for the good performance of nonionic surfactants is that they allow dyes to be accommodated not only in the inner, hydrocarbon part of the micelle but also in the headgroup shell. It is demonstrated that the location of a dye in a surfactant micelle can be assessed from the absorption spectrum of the dye-containing micellar solution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-608
Number of pages29
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2013
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Dye
  • Hydrophobic
  • Micelle
  • Solubilization
  • Surfactant
  • Water insoluble


Dive into the research topics of 'Solubilization of hydrophobic dyes in surfactant solutions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this