Cleaning agents are liquids, powders, sprays, or granules used to get rid of stains, dirt, and debris. They’re primarily used to kill bacteria, remove unpleasant smells, and avoid spreading germs that could affect our health.
Different cleaning agents are chosen depending on the type of soiling – and the item itself. Effective cleaning will prevent allergic reactions, cross-contamination of food products, and keep the pests away!
See how and when cleaning agents are used here…
Home and Workplace Cleaning
Solutions for cleaning depend on understanding the difference between the different kinds of cleaning agents used in housekeeping and chemicals for cleaning. See a brief guide below:
Abrasives – can be used to clean pots and pans with a rubbing or scrubbing action. Hard floor surfaces can also be cleaned this way. Be careful that the abrasive motion doesn’t scratch plastic or stainless steel. Abrasives may be infused with additional chemicals for
disinfecting and sanitising purposes.
Acids – need to be handled with care as they’re corrosive and poisonous. They should be properly diluted and you must avoid direct contact with the skin when applying them. Rust and mineral deposits can be removed with this chemical agent.
Disinfectants – after surfaces are cleaned to remove dirt and stains, disinfectants are then applied to kill germs and stop them from spreading.
Degreasers – these solvent cleaners are used to get rid of grease from surfaces by breaking down oil and fats. Non-toxic degreasers that won’t contaminate food are used by restaurants and food processing businesses. These cleaners are ideal for use in home kitchens.
Detergents – many detergents are concentrated and require diluting before use. Perfect for cleaning a multitude of surfaces – but they don’t sanitise or disinfect. Detergents can be used as an initial clean before disinfecting.
Sanitisers – these home cleaning agents are a mixture of detergents and a sterilising agent that can clean as well as eliminate germs and bacteria.
Sterilising agents – these are strong enough to kill bacterial spores, germs, and viruses, and are the choice of hospital wards and operating theatres. Whenever a surface needs to be sterile this is the cleaning agent you need.
The most common types of industrial cleaning chemicals used in commercial properties are:
Acids – most often handled in office cleaning, boiler descaling, toilets, and floor cleaning after concrete and grouting has taken place
Abrasives – abrasive blasting creates surface preparation for coating pipelines, and abrasives are often associated with construction, and precision engineering
Degreasers – food businesses, manufacturing and motor settings, and commercial kitchens are the most common employers
Detergents – utilised by commercial laundries and kitchens, and food related businesses
Dry cleaning agents – used in the dry-cleaning industry this is a chemical solvent of tetrachloroethylene and perchloroethylene and is used extensively by industrial companies
Labelling Definitions and Warnings
As chemicals are classified as irritants that are potentially harmful to health and the environment there are strict labelling restrictions that have to be followed. Symbols and pictures will indicate whether the chemical ingredients are highly flammable, toxic, corrosive, or dangerous.
Two new symbols that have been recently added are a black exclamation mark within a red diamond. This indicates health hazards such as skin or eye irritation, and harmful if swallowed. And a red diamond enclosing the image of a blackhead and shoulders covered with a white star – identifying the potential risk of respiratory sensitizers, reproductive toxicity, and germ cell mutations.
High alkaline cleaners and degreasers can also cause chemical burns to the skin so protective gloves and eye masks should be worn to prevent injury. If various degreasing products are mixed with bleach this may cause a chemical reaction resulting in the production of poisonous chlorine gas.
Cleaning Agents Used in Housekeeping
A cleaning agents list used for training housekeepers covers all aspects of using a chemical cleaner in the correct way. Safely storing and handling chemical agents is vital to protect individual health and the environment. And reading product labels carefully before use is essential.
Safety precautions when highly toxic cleaning agents are used include:
- Not mixing acidic cleaning agents with other cleaners
- Avoiding contact with skin and eyes
- Ventilate rooms whilst working with acid cleaners
- Keep acid cleaners from splashing or spilling onto other materials
Housekeeping job training also includes which chemicals are used in different types of cleaning agents, and the appropriate use of the different types of cleaning agents. When special treatments are required guidelines are issued so that housekeepers always select the appropriate cleaning agents for these special jobs.