Definition of cationic detergent
: any of a class of synthetic detergents usually consisting essentially of a quaternary ammonium salt (as cetyl-trimethyl-ammonium chloride [C16H33N(CH3)3]+Cl−) with 12 to 24 carbon atoms in the organic groups attached to the nitrogen atom in the cation and valuable as a wetting and emulsifying agent in acid or neutral solutions or as a germicide or fungicide
— called also invert soap
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