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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Why is it called detergent?

The word "detergent" is derived from the Latin word "detergens," which is the present participle of the verb "detergere." "Detergere" means "to wipe away" or "to cleanse." The term "detergent" has been used in English since the early 17th century to describe substances or agents that are used for cleaning or washing.

Detergents are compounds that have the ability to remove dirt, stains, and oils from various surfaces, including fabrics and dishes. They work by reducing the surface tension of water, allowing it to penetrate and break up the dirt and grease, and by forming micelles, which are small structures that can trap and carry away the dirt and oil. Detergents are commonly used in cleaning products, such as laundry detergents, dishwashing detergents, and household cleaners, because of their cleaning properties.

So, the term "detergent" is used to describe these cleansing agents because they are effective at deterring or removing dirt and stains from surfaces.

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