Basic Guide to Different Types of Household Cleaners

Basic Guide to Different Types of Household Cleaners

When we talk about house cleaning, it includes cleaning different types of surfaces such as walls, floors, tiles, windows, carpets and rugs, appliances, and screens. As all these surfaces vary in texture and formulation, so we cannot generalize that one cleaner would be able to efficiently clean all types of surfaces. That is where the need for a relevant cleaner for each type of surface arises. This is the reason why the market is full of ‘n’ number of household cleaners. Some of them are general cleaners while others are specific cleaners. Let us know a little more about the various types of cleaners so that you are well aware of what type of cleaning agent is suitable for which type of surface.

Types of Cleaning Agents

Household Cleaners


Household cleaning agents are broadly divided into two main categories – All Purpose Cleaners and Special Cleaners. Now, these two categories get further subdivided into various other types that are mentioned below.

All Purpose Cleaners

These are general cleaners that are formulated for superficial cleaning of almost all surfaces. They are not surface specific, so they produce good results on almost all surfaces. They are further divided into two categories – Abrasive and Non-Abrasive Cleaners.

Abrasive Cleaners

These are generally used on surfaces that receive heavy amounts of soil. They mostly come in powder form, a liquid form, and scrubbing pads. These cleaners reduce the hard rubbing effort that is required to remove the soil as they contain some amount of grease content that cuts down the soil. 

The abrasive property in these cleaning agents comes from the presence of fine granules of minerals or metal particles. If you use them over an extended period of time, then sometimes the polish or coating of the surface starts to fade away due to their abrasive nature. So, always follow instructions from the manufacturer of the surface that you are cleaning. 

Powder cleaners contain fine particles of minerals, a surfactant, and a bleaching agent/oxalic acid. Liquid cleaners contain soft abrasive granules suspended in a liquid matrix. Scrubbing pads are made of copper, stainless steel, or nylon mesh wires for cleaning metal surfaces.

Non-Abrasive Cleaners

These differ from abrasive cleaners in one major way i.e., absence of abrasive granules. They are also available in powder and liquid form and are devoid of abrasive granules. They are mostly used in the form of spray bottles or pump-activated bottles. 

These cleaners contain a surfactant, builder, an alkaline buffer salt such as sodium carbonate, ammonia, pine oil, organic solvents. You can dilute them in water or use them at full strength as required. They might also contain disinfection to kill germs or bacteria from the surface.

Household Cleaners


Special Cleaners

Unlike all-purpose cleaners, these are designed to be used on specific surfaces such as glass, metal, floors, carpets, kitchen, bathroom, and furniture. 

Glass Cleaners

They remove the soil from glass surfaces. They are mostly found in spray bottles and contain surfactants, solvents, water, and builder to loosen, dissolve and remove soils from the glass surfaces. 

Kitchen Cleaners

These are formulated in a such way that the product clings to the soiled and greasy kitchen surfaces. They generally come in liquid form packed in aerosol containers. They contain a surfactant and a strong alkaline builder to remove the soil and grease.

Bathroom Cleaners

They not only remove soil and grease but also remove hard water stains. They are mostly liquid cleaners that come in spray bottles or aerosol containers. They contain surfactants and special solvents that keep the mineral deposits and soap scum in the solution itself. 

Metal Cleaners

Metal surfaces need to get rid of tarnish. They come in a paste form or thick liquid that contains fine granules in suspension. They contain organic acids to remove the oxidative impurities on the metal surface and a buffering agent to enhance its metallic shine.

Floor Cleaners

They mostly come in liquid or paste form. Different types of floor surfaces require a different cleaner. They might contain water or solvent as a carrier for wax particles that give shine and a protective layer after drying. In general, their composition is quite similar to All-Purpose Cleaners.

Furniture Cleaners

They are marketed in the form of liquids, pastes, and aerosols. They are formulated to remove dust and stain from furniture surfaces and provide luster and protection against water stains. They either come as a water-in-oil emulsion or oil-in-water emulsion.

Use Sanitizers after Cleaning Surfaces, especially in Kitchens – Cleaning is usually done with detergents, but it is not possible for them to kill microorganisms and bacteria that are harmful and can cause food poisoning.  So, it is always better to use a sanitizer after the cleaning process is over.

So, this was a basic guide that will make you understand a bit about different types of cleaners and what type of cleaner you should choose for a particular type of surface cleaning.

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