Detergent Definition in Chemistry

How To Define a Detergent

While both soap and detergent are used as cleaners, the two types of molecules have different structures.
While both soap and detergent are used as cleaners, the two types of molecules have different structures. Image Source/Getty Images

Detergent Definition:

A detergent is a cleaning agent. A detergent is similar to a soap, but with a general structure R-SO4-, Na+, where R is a long-chain alkyl group.