Types of Cleaning Chemicals

We all know surfaces are only as clean as the cleaning chemicals used on them. For this reason it is imperative to use the correct cleaning products and cleaning equipment on various surfaces. Cleaning chemicals and detergents should always be used according to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the best results

Neutral Cleaners: Not So Neutral After All

While cleaning chemicals are often called “neutral cleaners,” the term can be a bit misleading. While these products generally have a pH close to 7, they may be a bit more alkaline or acidic in nature. For this reason, one type of neutral cleaner may be more effective on certain types of stains compared to another. These cleaners are used primarily for daily and routine cleaning, including floor mopping. The common denominator of almost all neutral cleaners is that they are safe to use as long as you read and follow the manufacturers recommended dilution and use instructions.

All-Purpose or General-Purpose Cleaners
Often confused with neutral cleaners, all-purpose and general-purpose cleaners are generally more powerful than neutral cleaners and tend to be more alkaline. They are used for the removal of more stubborn types of soils and can be especially effective for cleaning heavily trafficked floor areas. However, administrators and custodial crews should be aware that there is a very fine line between removing soils with an all- purpose/general-purpose cleaner and removing floor finish (wax). Using proper dilution ratios is essential to ensure effective soil removal without damaging the floor’s finish.

Sterilising Agents

Sterilising agents are similar to disinfectants, but are generally used for specialised areas where sterile surfaces and objects are a prerequisite, such as in an operating theatre. These cleaning chemicals are able to kill bacteria spores, viruses and germs that may be resistant to the chemicals found in disinfectants. In order to ensure surfaces and objects are sterile, sterilising chemicals are used with other cleaning methods such as steam or heating when absolute sterility is a crucial.


Apart from general cleaning detergents, sanitisers are also commonly used cleaning agents used in the home. This is because they are so convenient to use. Sanitisers contain cleaning chemicals which are able to disinfect and clean at the same time, therefore they contain a detergent as well as a sterilising agent or disinfectant.