Choosing household cleaners

Be sure to choose the best cleaner for the household job that needs to be done to protect fixtures and remove dirt and grime.

Neutral cleaners are neither acid nor alkaline, and should be mild enough to clean just about anything, such as floors or walls. They are really good for light duty cleaning because they won't leave streaks or residue. Neutral cleaner will prolong household furnishings. You should not use anything stronger until it is really necessary.

Dishwashing liquid is a good neutral cleaner for many cleaning jobs around the house. The only drawback is that it foams quite a bit. If you want to save money, you can go to a janitorial store that sells large containers with pumps to fill smaller bottles of cleaner. Besides saving a lot of money, it also will last for months at a time.

All-purpose pine oil cleaners are made from a natural resin distilled from pine trees. It does not dissolve in water; instead, it makes a milky soap. Pine oil cleaner does not disinfect. Most people like the way it smells and that it can clean and deodorize at the same time. Overall, it is a good cleaner. Don't use it straight or leave it soaking on waxed or freshly painted surfaces.

Heavy-duty cleaners are the most powerful detergent formulas designed to remove grease, oil, and heavy soils. They are highly alkaline, and some contain solvents, ammonia, and other strong ingredients to boost their cleaning power. Many heavy-duty cleaners claim to be all-purpose cleaners. Be careful so you don't damage paint, metals, and some plastics when using this type of cleaner. Some also have butyl and other ingredients that should not come in contact with the bare hand. When you decide to clean something at home, don't start with the strongest cleaner; instead, reach for the mildest. Be sure you read the label and follow instructions. Also be careful to keep all cleaners out of the reach of children.

A disinfectant cleaner will clean as well as kill germs. Most contain detergent already. Never try to mix your own disinfectant cleaner by adding all sorts of chemicals together. Disinfectant cleaners are good for the bathroom. You can clean the toilet, sink, shower, tub, the floor, and the walls. You can use it for the kitchen floor, and if you have a pet, this is a good way of sanitizing any areas that the animals frequently come in contact with or misuse, especially while housebreaking them.

The powdered scouring cleaners rely on abrasiveness so you can grind away soil. The old cleanser used to be so harsh that they scratched or dulled tubs, sinks, pots, and pans. Then as more pans and dishes were starting to be made from plastic, more damage occurred. To make cleansers safer for soft surfaces, manufacturers began using chemicals instead of abrasives to protect the various surfaces. Many liquid cleansers contain bleach. Comet is the least abrasive, while Ajax is the most abrasive. If you find you do have some burned-on food that won't come off, use steel wool.

Choosing the best cleaner for a particular job can help to protect the surface of a fixture or item while ensuring that it becomes free of soil, stains, or debris. Read the package or label directions to choose the best cleaning material for the job at hand.

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