Detergent Cleaners Detergent Cleaners

The Basic Cleaning Families

Detergents can be alkaline or neutral. Neutral detergents are pH 7 meaning neither acidic nor alkaline. Read the can or bottle first to determine.

Mild Detergents - Hand Dish washing Liquid Detergent

Mild detergents have surfactants that dissolve dirt and grease; use in solution of warm to hot water to clean washable surfaces such as counter-tops, appliances, fixtures, floors.

  • Caution: Safe for washable surfaces and skin. High-sudsing, so do not put much in the solution, and rinse all suds off thoroughly.

Moderately Strong Detergents - Laundry Detergents Uses

Has both surfactant and builder, so dissolves heavier soil and grease; use in a solution of warm to hot water to clean washable surfaces where a stronger detergent is safe. Use the smallest amount of detergent that will do the job. Low sudsing types are easier to rinse off.

  • Caution: Most powdered detergents contain washing soda as a builder and some are very alkaline which can damage surfaces, and irritated skin with prolonged contact. Strong solutions can dissolve paint. Always rinse thoroughly. Do NOT use where mild detergent is recommended.

The Basic Cleaning Families


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

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