Cleaning chemicals are used everyday in homes, schools, business and industry. There are a variety of cleaning products for various purposes. Some may be considered toxic while others may feature safer ingredients. There are 7 chemical categories:
- Strong Alkali
- Heavy Duty Alkali
- Mild Alkali
- Strong Acid
- Mild Acid
Strong Alkali – They are highly corrosive and can be found in cleaning products such as oven cleaner, lye and drain cleaners. Products containing sodium hydroxide are in this category.
Mild Alkali – Mild alkalis are safe to use around children and pets and are not corrosive. Cleaning chemicals containing sodium bicarbonate also known as washing soda are used in cleaning products that require mild cleaning.
Strong Acid – Cleaners containing phosphoric acid and hydrofluoric acid are considered strong acid cleaners which are corrosive to fabric, concrete and metals. They are mostly used for cleaning toilets, bathtubs and sinks as they are remove hard water deposits, toilet rings and soap scum.
Mild Acid Cleaners – Safe for use around children and pets these cleansers are made from citrus or acetic acids. They may contain acetic, hydroxyacetic, levulinic, and gluconic acidand are used to remove rust stains, tarnish and hard water stains from around sink and shower doors.
Solvents – Cleaning chemicals used to dissolve grease and oil are known as solvents. Cleansers that contain solvents include spot removers, rug cleaners and all purpose cleansers. They must be kept away from extreme heat and open flames as they are flammable and combustible. The ingredients in solvents may include acetones, denatured alcohols and mineral spirits.
Soaps/Detergents – Liquid dishwashing soap and laundry soap are used to emulsify fat and grease. Liquid dishwashing soap is safe for use around children and pets. Different laundry soaps may contain additional chemicals and as such the safety of the product may vary.
Consider These Facts When Selecting Your Cleaning Products
- Performance – Your cleaning product must be effective and economical. Products which allow you to complete the task quickly are favorable. Products which combine their efficiency with innovative features are favorable.
- Cost Effective – Products which serve more than one function may be an effective solution.
- Ease of Use – Quality products which are RTU (ready to use) may be most cost effective.
- Environmental Awareness - Be sure your product meets the environmental standards required.