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Different Types of Cleaning Products Different Types of Cleaning Products

Different Types of Cleaning Products

Whether you are looking to deep clean your home or wanting to keep your newly re-modeled kitchen spotless, deciding which of the different types of cleaning products to get can seem like a chore itself. After all, how all-purpose is all-purpose cleaner anyway? Choosing the right cleaner gets the job done on the first try without spending money on a bunch of different products and making that carpet stain worse.

All-Purpose Cleaners


Most cleaners contain what are called surfactants which are substances that make liquids spread better to grab and lift dirt off surfaces. This makes cleaning products more effective than water alone and why you might choose to grab a general, all-purpose cleaner for everyday life.

The three main types of surfactants include: nonionic, anionic, and cationic. Two of these are commonly found in cleaners:

  1. Nonionic surfactants include ingredients like alcohol ethoxylate and nonylphenol which are helpful for cleaning greasy stains.
  2. Anionic surfactants like ammonium lauryl sulfate are used as foaming agents to lift dirt.

All-purpose cleaners are a blend of different cleaning agents for a wide variety of messes and some even help sanitize against germs. However, there is not one set of ingredients for an all-purpose cleaner which makes it especially important to read the label to determine which cleaning solution is right for you. There are even “green” options to choose from like vinegar-based cleaners that clean messes because of their acidic nature.


Other Cleaning Prodcuts


When a mess requires a more delicate clean or even a deep clean, choosing the right product for the job is important. Household cleaning products are generalized into different types of cleaning agents.

  • Abrasives such as pumice use their gritty texture to scour away dirt.
  • Acids are a mixture of chemicals that remove mineral deposits like calcium and can be found in products like toilet bowl cleaner.
  • Alkaline cleaners are cleaning salts that are common in some all-purpose cleaners or even simply in baking soda.
  • Bleach is a chemical cleaner made from sodium hypochlorite that is used to lift stains and disinfect.
  • Detergents including any kind of soap, contain at least one type of surfactant.
  • Sanitizers/Disinfectants kill bacteria and viruses. Disinfectants like bleach or pine oil will completely kill germs and sanitizers will kill most germs.
  • Spirit Solvents are chemicals that clean away oily grime with ingredients like acetone.

When shopping in the cleaning products aisle, it’s tricky to keep everything straight. Let’s break down some of the different household cleaners by their jobs.

  • Glass cleaners are specifically formulated with alkalis and detergents to clean oil and dirt but dissolve quickly to avoid streaks.
  • Wood cleaners clean wood such as a desk or hardwood floors without stripping or altering the wood by drying it out. Some contain oils to help polish the wood as they clean.
  • Calcium, lime, and rust cleaners dissolve mineral buildup with different acids in areas where water is most common like sink faucets.
  • Drain cleaners are strong cleaners from alkalis and bleach that create chemical reactions to loosen oil and grease in drainpipes making water drain more effectively.
  • Mold and mildew cleaners will kill mold and mildew and will prevent future growth usually with bleaches and acids.
  • Carpet and upholstery cleaners are specifically formulated to not harm the fabric and to lift stains. There are many different types of the cleaners and the type of fabric you have will determine which you chose. To help determine this, each fabric in your home will have a universal fabric code. The codes are W (wet), S (solvent), WS (wet/solvent), and X (no cleaning). Seek advice from the fabric’s manufacturer for the best cleaning product or method.


Safe Handling


While each cleaning product can work wonders for their specific job, mixing them together can hinder their effectiveness or even become harmful. While some reactions during cleaning are helpful like the bubbling that occurs with vinegar and baking soda, some reactions will release toxic fumes. A general rule of thumb is never to mix bleach with any other chemical such as ammonia, rubbing alcohol, mildew removers, and even lemon juice. Always be sure to read the warning labels on your cleaning products before use as some could be irritants to people and pets.

Always use cleaners in a well-ventilated area and use personal protection equipment such as gloves when necessary. Cleaning supplies should be stored in dry, cool areas and away from children and pets.

Cleaning Supplies at McCoy's


While you’re checking off items on your DIY shopping list, check out our wide variety of cleaning products to help you shine up your bathroom remodel or keep your new windows streak-free. We have all you need to keep your home clean and looking its best including mops and brooms, buckets, and dusters. Our buy online and pick up in store option helps you easily get the products you need to save time and get the job done faster.