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Surfactant vs. Detergent

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Main Difference

The main difference between Surfactant and Detergent is that the Surfactant is a group of chemical substances and Detergent is a purifying or cleansing agents, usually salts of long-chain aliphatic bases or acids, that exert cleansing (oil-dissolving) and antimicrobial effects through a surface action that depends on possessing both hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties.

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Wikipedia
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  • Surfactant (noun)

    A surface active agent, or wetting agent, capable of reducing the surface tension of a liquid; typically organic compounds having a hydrophilic "head" and a hydrophobic "tail".

  • Surfactant (noun)

    A lipoprotein in the tissues of the lung that reduces surface tension and permits more efficient gas transport.

  • Detergent (noun)

    Any non-soap cleaning agent, especially a synthetic surfactant.

  • Detergent (adjective)

    Having the power to clean.

Wiktionary
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  • Surfactant (noun)

    a substance which tends to reduce the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved.

  • Detergent (noun)

    a water-soluble cleansing agent which combines with impurities and dirt to make them more soluble, and differs from soap in not forming a scum with the salts in hard water

    "packets of detergent"

    "liquid detergents"

  • Detergent (noun)

    any additive with a similar action to a detergent, e.g. an oil-soluble substance which holds dirt in suspension in lubricating oil.

  • Detergent (adjective)

    relating to detergents or their action

    "staining that resists detergent action"

Oxford Dictionary
Webster Dictionary
  • Surfactant (noun)

    a substance capable of reducing the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved

  • Detergent (noun)

    a surface-active chemical widely used in industry and laundering

  • Detergent (noun)

    a cleansing agent that differs from soap but can also emulsify oils and hold dirt in suspension

  • Detergent (adjective)

    having cleansing power

Princeton's WordNet

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