C17H35COONa or sodium stearate is the chemical formula for soap, while the chemical formula of detergent is C18H29NaO3S. A synthetic detergent is any synthetic substance other than soap that is an effective cleanser and functions equally well as a surface-active agent in hard or soft water.
- Detergents usually made out of surfactants.
- Detergents are effective because they have an amphipathic structure, which means that one side of the compound is hydrophobic and will avoid water. In contrast, the other side of the compound is hydrophilic and will easily attach to water.
Action of detergents
The hydrophobic region of the detergent will easily react and attract other molecules that are present in its surrounding environment; thus, causing it to clump to the detergent, while the hydrophilic region of the detergent ensures that the entire compound, along with the attracted particles, can be easily carried away with water.