Abrasive Cleaners Abrasive Cleaners

The Basic Cleaning Families

Abrasive Cleaners are mechanical cleaners. They physically scratch off dirt, stains and tarnish via friction as you rub the surface. They are composed of either particles or physical abraders such as sandpaper, steel wool, scrubbing pads, etc. The finer the particle the less are less abrasive and the coarser the particle the more abrasive. Baking soda and salt can be used as abrasives. Baking soda is finer, less abrasive. Salt more abrasive. Abrasives dull glossy surfaces and change both the reflection from, and texture of, surfaces. They should never be used on mica because they take away top layers making future cleaning eventually impossible.

Mild Abrasives include fine plastic mesh pads, nylon coated sponges, fine brass wool, rotten-stone and whiting. Mild abrasives are used to scour pots and pans, oven interiors, and drip pans. Use as directed to remove stains on surfaces as furniture, countertops, etc. NOTE: Abrasives will scratch fine, hard, smooth surfaces if you rub hard.

Moderate Abrasive Cleaners include fine pumice and fine steel wool. Steel wool is actually graded from 0000-super fine, 000-extra fine, 00-very fine, 0-fine, 1-medium, 2-medium course and 3-0 course. The finer 00 and finer should be used lightly on pots and pans when needed to remove burned on crusty foods and grease. They are often used on burnt spills in non self cleaning or continuous cleaning oven interiors when they will not come off with other milder cleaners. NOTE: Do not use regularly for cleaning; use only for stubborn spots.

Strong Abrasives include medium and coarse steel wool, metal mesh cloths and balls, metal brushes, coarse pumice, and sand/silica. Use them on barbecue grills and untreated oven racks for stubborn deposits when damage to surface is not important. NOTE:Strong abrasives quickly abrade hard surfaces making them course and thus harder to remove dirt from in the future. Use only when necessary.

The Basic Cleaning Families


This article has been contributed in part by Michigan State University Extension

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