A sulfonate is an ester or a salt that contains a sulfonic acid. Sulfonates have excellent emulsifying and dispersing properties, which lends value in their use as a harsh cleaner for metals and textiles. Many industries use sulfonates as alkaline metal cleaners and zinc plating brighteners, as well as processors for textile materials in general. These compounds are soluble in water and alcohol, and are compatible with nonionic or anionic surfaces. These compounds are also used to safely clean pieces of equipment that typically experience great deals of physical stress. Gas wells and even bottles will often be cleaned with sulfonates.
This compound is also used to help people who suffer from high levels of potassium. Sodium polystyrene sulfonate is a mixture that is taken into the body, where the sodium ions are partially released into the bloodstream and replaced by the potassium ions in the body. The potassium leaves the body naturally with the mixture as natural waste.