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In addition to a surfactant, modern detergent contains several other ingredients. Among the most significant are builders, chemicals which serve several purposes. Most importantly, they increase the efficiency of the surfactant. They also sequester minerals in hard water, meaning that they hold them in solution, preventing them from precipitating out. Furthermore, builders can emulsify oil and grease into tiny globules that can be washed away. Some, like sodium silicate, inhibit corrosion and help assure that the detergent will not damage a washing machine. Still other builders contribute to the chemical balance of the wash water, making sure that it conduces to effective washing.

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Q: What is the difference between built and non-built detergent?
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