Cationic detergent

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A class of synthetic surfactants in which the active group has a positive charge in water. Cationic detergents are more strongly absorbed on fabrics that are anionic or nonionic surfactants. They are used as wetting agents, fabric softeners, bacteriostats and emulsifiers. Example of cationic detergents are quaternary ammonium compounds, benzalkonium chloride and cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide. They will precipitate when mixed with an anionic detergent (soap).

Synonyms and Related Terms

invert soap

Resources and Citations

  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • Rosalie Rosso King, Textile Identification, Conservation, and Preservation, Noyes Publications, Park Ridge, NJ, 1985