Detergents, as mentioned previously, can be formulated with a variety of organic and inorganic chemicals, depending on the cleaning characteristics desired. A finished, packaged detergent customarily consists of two main components: the active ingredient or surfactant, and the builder. The processes discussed in the following will include the manufacture and processing of the surfactant as well as the preparation of the finished, marketable detergent. The production of the surfactant (Fig. 1) is generally a two-step process: (a) sulfation or sulfonation, and (b) neutralization.
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