Surfactants Versus Detergents

Surfactants Versus Detergents

In earlier blogs we have discussed if soaps and surfactants are the same thing, and in simplest terms they are because soap was the first kind of surfactant. This piece is labeled surfactants versus detergents. One may be asking, aren’t soaps and detergents almost the same thing as well? They are in fact not the same.

Soap versus Detergent?

Soap and detergent are both cleaners. But the way they clean and what they leave behind is what distinguishes them. When you clean with soap across a surface it tends to normally need to be cleaned off in order for the soap to disappear otherwise it leaves some residue behind. With detergent on the other hand when used is not as natural of a product but when it is used it is more of a free rinse meaning that unlike soap it doesn’t leave a residue.

What is a Surfactant?

A surfactant can be known by many terms, it is commonly known as a surface-active agent.  When combined with a liquid like water, surfactants reduce something’s hardness or tension and increases how a liquid moves and spreads across something whether its across a surface or dipping something. We can now use this to distinguish the similarities and or differences between surfactants and detergents.

Surfactant versus Detergents

Looking towards similarities both products work to clean something in the sense of reducing surface tensions and being able to clean deeper and be more effective in a cleaning or printing process. There is one major difference between the two different substances. Surfactant in basic terms is a whole group of chemicals where detergent is a cleansing product that uses oil-dissolving cleansing methods to clean an item. Though surfactants are forms of cleaners its broader term is the name for the whole conglomerate of cleaning chemical substances.

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