Cleavable surfactants are of great interest for numerous reasons. These are amphiphiles in which a weak linkage has been deliberately inserted, normally, but not always, between the hydrophobic tail and the polar head group. Surfactant may degrade by chemical means, e.g., induced by acid, alkali, ultraviolet (UV) light, heat, or ozone. Acid- and alkali-labile surfactants have also attracted the attention in recent years. The main purpose for development of novel cleavable surfactants is to improve the biodegradation characteristics and the rate of biodegradation has consequently been studied for several of the surfactants. Alkali labile linkages that have been used for the purpose include normal ester bonds, betaine esters, and carbonates. This review deals the development of monomeric and gemini type cleavable surfactants.