Cleaning Solutions

Tackle the daily grease, grime, germs, mold, bacteria and more with a good arsenal of cleaning solutions

Cleaning Solutions

Whether you live in a large house with many rooms or a smaller apartment with only a few, having an array of cleaning solutions at your disposal is necessary to keep things neat and tidy. Glass cleaner, hand soap, bleach and baking soda are just a few of the substances that you might want to have at your disposal.

Messes come in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, there are no magic cleaners that work on all dirt and surface types. There are, however, a number of versatile all-purpose cleaners that can help with a range of tasks.

This buying guide highlights the different types of cleaning solutions available, along with information on which solution is best for a particular surface.

Alkalis and Bleaches

Bleach and alkalis are available in varying degrees of strength to clean grease, heavy soil and stains

  • Baking soda can be used to remove burnt food and coffee stains from dishes and sinks, or freshen up your refrigerator.
  • Ammonia and borax can be used to address heavy-duty messes.
  • Bleach is good for removing stains from fabrics and hard surfaces like toilet bowls and countertops.
  • Chlorine can be used to remove heavier stains and disinfect toilet bowls and sinks.
  • Sodium hydroxide can be used to cut grease from drains, pots and pans.
  • Use wood bleaches to remove stains from wood and pave the way for new coloring.
  • Alkalis may damage fabrics and irritate skin, and are the most toxic.

Other Types of Cleaning Solutions

Consider an arsenal of abrasives, acids, antimicrobials and solvents to keep your home clean

  • General all-purpose cleaners come in handy for a wide variety of applications ranging from cleaning the kitchen sink to wiping down the dining room table

Cleaner Types Applications and Benefits

Abrasives

  • Calcite
  • Quartz
  • Sand
  • Feldspar
  • Smoothing
  • Scrubbing
  • Polishing
  • Rust and stain removal

Acids

  • Acetic acid
  • Citric acid
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Adjust alkalinity
  • Remove mineral buildup
  • Dissolve calcium

Antimicrobials

  • Pin oil
  • Sodium hypochlorate
  • Triclosan
  • Kill germs and bacteria
  • Inhibit germ growth
  • Prevent spread of odors and disease
  • May sanitize or disinfect

Solvents

  • Ethanol
  • Isopropanol
  • Propylene glycol
  • Remove organic soils and grease
  • Don't leave residue behind
  • Water soluble
  • Prevent separation in liquids

Forms

Powders, liquids, bars, scrubbing pads, wipes and aerosol sprays are just a few of the formats available

  • Some cleaners can come in multiple formats, such as glass cleaners in a liquid spray or handy wipe.
  • Abrasives can be powder or liquid form and are also available as scrubbing pads.
  • Sprays may be aerosol, such as oven cleaners, or liquids for all-purpose cleaners.
  • Some cleaners may come in a concentrated form and need to be diluted prior to use.
  • Some powdered cleansers must be dissolved in water.
  • Some aerosol sprays disinfect and remove odors.
  • Pads, wipes and scrubs with cleanser let you clean without using sponges or rags.

Usage and Safety

Some cleaners are completely safe and non-toxic, while others are extremely harsh, abrasive or poisonous

  • Carefully read all safety instructions prior to use as words like “caution” or “warning” usually indicate a mild safety hazard. “Danger” is likely to alert you to a more serious threat.
  • Store all cleaning solutions away from food in and area children and pets cannot easily access.
  • Depending on what solution your use, consider using latex gloves to protect your skin.
  • Always make sure to properly dispose of cleaning solutions and containers by following the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Sponges and dish cloths are havens for germs, so be sure to clean and replace them regularly.
  • Disinfecting kills more germs than sanitizing.
  • Spot-test cleansers on hidden surfaces first to make sure they won't damage the surface you intend to clean.
  • Don't mix cleaning products, as chemicals can react to create hazardous gases.