The following surfactants infographic was taken from “Anionic, Nonionic, Cationic: What do they all mean?” by Timothy J. Roach. In the article, Roach writes:
With all these different types of surfactants, and with a seemingly infinite list of each type of surfactant, it is a wonder that formulators are able to choose the right detergent for the right application.
Experienced formulators have gotten their hands dirty working with many different types of detergents in an effort to make just the right blend of cleaning agents.
Any formulator worth his salt will be quick to tell you that not all surfactants are created equal, and that some cleaners are better than others, given the situation.