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Surfactants are used in the manufacture of soaps, shampoos, detergents, and other specialty wetting applications. Dimethylamine is reacted with fatty tertiary amines with C10-C18 alkyl groups from alpha-olefins or fatty alcohols to make nonionic alkyldimethylamines.

Salts of n-acyl-n-methyltaurates and n-acyl sarcosinates are used in many specialty surfactants. DMDAC (see Water Treatment), made from DMA, is used in shampoos.