What is the Difference between Common Cleaning Agents?

Common Cleaning Agents

In the midst of the current global crisis, the importance of a clean and sanitized space cannot be emphasized enough. This statement rings true for areas beyond the confines of your household. As a business owner, maintaining the cleanliness of the office ensures the health and wellness of your business’s best assets – your employees. 

With that said, there is more to office maintenance than periodic mopping and pantry cleaning. There is a nuisance to choosing the right products for specific surfaces. The products required for cleaning windows are different than the selections for cleaning light bulbs. Moreover, some chemicals, while effective, aren’t necessarily the safest options.

This article takes you through the intricacies of cleaning products, from the types of cleaning agents to choose the right one for your office. 

What are Cleaning Agents?

Cleaning agents are products that are used to clean surfaces. This doesn’t include cleaning tools such as mops, brooms, and vacuums. There are various types of cleaning agents available in the market. 

The most basic cleaner is water. Water is the foundation of most cleaning agents. On its own, it can break up dirt and oils. Water can also be used to dissolve minerals that are able to tackle more difficult stains. 

Not all cleaning agents are created equal. Different types are classified according to their PH balance. “PH” stands for potential hydrogen. The scale goes from zero to fourteen with zero being the most acidic, and fourteen being the most alkaline. Water is a neutral substance with a PH balance of 7. 

What is the Difference between Common Types of Cleaning Agents?

When it comes to choosing the right cleaner for your office, the substance with the highest PH balanced doesn’t necessarily have the strongest cleaning power. It is important to choose a cleaner that fits the surface you are trying to clean. Choosing the right substance entails knowing the alkalinity and acidity required to tackle the situation.  


Acidic substances are the lowest on the PH balance scale. These cleaning agents contain corrosive materials like hydrochloric acid and their main purpose is to clean metals and corrode the build-up of minerals on any given surface. Vinegar and cleaners containing citrus are examples of natural acidic cleaners. 

Acidic substances are often used to clean up bathrooms and kitchens where water pools are consistently present. Water causes the build-up of scale and calcium – two minerals that are notoriously difficult to tackle. More than cleaning the surface, acidic substances can restore the shine of metals and other fixtures in your office bathroom or kitchen. 


On the other end of the scale are alkaline cleaning agents. Unlike acidic cleaning agents, alkaline products are mainly used to clean and dissolve organic materials like oils and proteins. Alkaline cleaners work in conjunction with water. These products break down organic matter, making it easier for water to remove them from the surface. 

Products containing bleach and ammonia are perfect examples of alkaline cleaners. Depending on a specific material’s PH balanced, these materials can be used to tackle drains, carpeted floors, or any other surface that come into close contact with organic materials. 

Neutral Cleaners

Right in the middle of the PH balance scale are neutral cleaners. Again, water is one substance that is considered a neutral cleaner. Despite not being corrosive, these cleaning agents are mostly used to clean surface-level stains and dirt. Often neutral cleaners are used in tandem with acidic or alkaline cleaners.

Specialty Cleaners

Specialty cleaners can fall anywhere within the PH balance scale. They are designed to clean and maintain specific surfaces. 

Choosing the Right Cleaning Products

How To Choose the Right Cleaning Products for Your Workspace

When it comes to maintaining the cleanliness of an office, choosing the right product is important. After all, you wouldn’t use a screwdriver to hammer a nail. With that said, we understand that the selection of office cleaning agents can be overwhelming. Below are a few tips that you can take to ensure that you purchase the right products for your office:

Consider the Surface

Again, the efficacy of an agent isn’t commensurate to how high they fall in the PH balance scale. It is all a matter of determining the right agent for the surface. It is a good idea to have a selection of all-purpose cleaners in your office. Make sure that you stock on an alkaline, acidic, and neutral agent. For the most part, specialty cleaners are nice to have but when in a bind it is better to have multipurpose products. 

Stocking on Cleaner vs. Disinfectant vs. Sanitiser

Aside from their PH balance, cleaners can also be classified according to their purpose. The terms cleaner, disinfectant, and sanitizer are often interchanges, but there are some very stark differences between these three products. 

For the most part, cleaners are the least abrasive material of the three. They dislodge dirt from a surface, but it doesn’t mean that they kill the germs that are present. On the other hand, disinfectants kill germs, but they don’t clean.  Sanitizers are the perfect marriage between cleaners and disinfectants. They do a little bit of both cleaning and disinfecting, so it is also good to have them on hand. 

Read the Labels

The effectiveness of a cleaning product is one thing. However, more than their efficacy, it is also important to focus on how safe cleaning agents are to use around the office. An easy way to ensure that you don’t introduce harmful substances in such a confined space is by reading the labels of the cleaning agents before purchase. 

It is best to stay away from products containing:

  • Butoxyethanol   
  • Phthalates   
  • Triclosan   
  • Perchloroethylene   
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds

Whether you want to have a spotless linoleum floor or looking to make your office blinds are dust-free, the right cleaning product can help you do the job with ease. The information above can help you navigate your way through office cleaning and maintenance. 

Need more help? Connect with professional cleaners in your area today and achieve an unmatched level of clean!