Laundry detergent or washing powder is a substance that is a type of cleaning agent that is added for cleaning laundry. In common usage,"detergent" refers to mixtures of chemical compounds including alkyl benzene sulfonates , which are similar to soap but are less affected by hard water. In most household contexts, the term detergent refers to laundry detergent vs hand soap or other types of cleaning agents. Most detergent is delivered in powdered form.

Many kinds of molecules and ions can serve high efficiency surfactants. They are often classified according to the charge of the molecule or ion,the three main classes being anionic,neutral and cationic detergents. Anionic detergents are most commonly encountered for domestic laundry detergents .Detergents are ions or molecules that contain both polar and non polar components. The polar component allows the detergent to dissolve in the water, whereas the non polar portion solubilizes greasy (" hydrophobic") materials that are the usual target of the cleaning process. An estimated 6 billion kilogram components.

Modern detergent formulations-the entire product vs just the surfactant-contain several components. Three main ingredients are builders (50% by weight, approximately ) , the alkyl benzene sulfonate surfactant (15%) and bleaches (7%)