A synthetic material used for washing clothes, even when water is hard is:
Detergent is used for both surface activity and cleansing action. Detergents are made of Alkylbenzene sulfonates, which help cleansing action in hard water.
Synthetic detergents are cleansing agents which have all the properties of soaps, but which actually do not contain any soap. These can be used both in soft and hard water as they give foam even in hard water.