As a homeowner, hygiene is important and that is why you need to be aware of cleaning agents and how best to use them. If you are not familiar with what cleaning agents are, a top cleaning company has in this article explained all that you need to know.

What are cleaning agents?

Cleaning agents are products that are formulated primarily to clean surfaces. Cleaning agents in this case are chemical formulations that have been designed to help get rid of dust, dirt, oil, grease, and other substances from surfaces.

While cleaning agents are general, there are different types of cleaning agents based on what they do as well as their components. Knowing the difference between these types of cleaning agents can make a difference between a seamless cleaning process and a stressful one.

For example, if you are dealing with oil stains on a surface, choosing the right cleaning agent will ensure that the stain is wiped in a clean swoop instead of spreading it to other areas.

Based on the source of the materials used for cleaning, cleaning agents can be classified as either natural or synthetic cleaning products.

However, some homeowners and store owners classify cleaning agents broadly into deodorizers, disinfectants, detergents, abrasives, and polishes. It is important to note that each of these classes is chemically different and serve different purposes.

As a homeowner who is planning on cleaning the home and restoring it to a sparkling clean state, you are perhaps wondering how many types of cleaning agents there are, below are some of the things you should know.

What are the types of cleaning agents?

It often comes as a surprise when water is considered a cleaning agent. Although its effect is not readily acknowledged, water can be used to dissolve stains and also has cleaning abilities. Although water isn’t the best for cleaning fats and oils, it forms the basis of all other cleaning agents.

To better understand the types of cleaning agents, they have been broken down into four distinct categories including;

  • Detergents
  • Degreasers
  • Abrasives
  • Acids


Detergents contain soap and/or any organic substance or mixture which is also known as a surfactant. Detergents are perfect for a lot of uses including cleaning jobs, washing of household items, as well as for industrial cleaning purposes.

Detergents can be used for tasks like bleaching, dishwashing, fabric softeners, laundry washing, handwashing, all-purpose cleaners, and more.

There are several cleaning products in the market that contain detergent and are present in many forms. Depending on preference, detergents can be purchased in liquid capsule form, concentrated liquid, powders, pastes, tablets, or caked form.


Degreasers are designed specially to address grease and other viscous materials that may be hard to clean when using detergents. Surely, detergents may clean grease but the cleaning process will be repetitive and stressful. On the other hand, degreasers have been designed to address heavy substances like grime, grease, dirt and oils from hard surfaces.

In most cases, degreasers are often used in commercial kitchens to deliver a faster cleaning result especially when cleaning kitchen items like ovens, grills, and other metal surfaces that come in contact with heavy oils.

In making grease and for optimal results, manufacturers often add a couple of ingredients that are capable of breaking down fats and oils and thus easing the cleaning process. Some of the cleaning ingredients in degreasers include sodium tripolyphosphate, methylated spirits, kerosene, xylene, sodium metasilicate, sodium carbonate, ethylenediaminetetraacetate (EDTA).


Abrasives are available in two principal forms, either in powder form or in liquid form. Abrasives are mostly used to effect heavy cleaning on hard surfaces that are laden with accumulated dirt. For cleaning use, abrasives are great for tiles, kitchens, the outer side of pots and grills, floors, bathroom surfaces, bathtubs, and others.

Abrasives are usually made from small ingredients and minerals that aren’t as fine as powder. The goal of these small particles is to scratch the hard surface to expose the original layer under the layer of dirt.

Acid cleaning agents

Acid cleaning agents are powerful and available in various strengths and concentrations. Due to the high concentration of this cleaning agent, it should be handled with the utmost care and should be kept away from easy reach of children and adults.

Acid cleaning agents are usually reserved for the toughest stains and also for dissolving mineral buildup on surfaces.

In essence, acid cleaning agents are primarily used for cleaning masonry, restoring discolored or tarnished metal, mold removal, cleaning bathroom tiles, removing tough stains, removing rust, descaling mineral deposits.