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Definition of detergent

A formulation of surfactants. Simply speaking, detergents are the commercial products, whereas surfactants are the raw materials. In addition to one or several surfactants, detergents usually contain a number of ingredients that serve the purpose of maintaining physico-chemical conditions in which the respective surfactants develop their optimum performance. Most frequently, they include pH regulators and complexing agents.

Ref.: Handbook of Detergents, part a: Properties (Surfactant Science Series vol. 82). Marcel Dekker (New York), 1999, 814 pp.
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