- Cleaning agent
Cleaning agents are substances, usually liquids, that are used to remove dirt, including dust, stains, bad smells, and clutter on surfaces. Purposes of cleaning agents include health, beauty, absence of offensive odor, avoidance of shame, and avoidance of spreading of dirt and contaminants to oneself and others. Some cleaning agents can kill bacteria and clean at the same time.
Cleaning agents normally water solutions that might be acidic, alkaline, or neutral, depending on the use. Cleaning agents may also be solvent-based or solvent-containing and is then called degreasers.
Acidic washing agents are mainly used for removal of inorganic deposits like scaling. The active ingredients are normally strong mineral acids and chelants. Often, there are added surfactants and corrosion inhibitors.
Alkaline washing agents contain strong bases like sodium hydroxide and/or potassium hydroxide. The alkali dissolves grease, oils, fats, and protein-,based deposits. Often there are added dispersing agents to prevent redeposition of dissolved dirt and/or chelants to attack rust on metal parts.
Neutral washing agents are pH-neutral and based on non-ionic surfactants that disperse different types of dirt.
Cleaning agents specially made for removal of grease are called degreasers. These may be solvent-based or solvent-containing and may also have surfactants as active ingredients. The solvents have a dissolving action on grease and similar dirt. The solvent-containing degreaser may have an alkaline washing agent added to a solvent to promote further degreasing. Degreasing agents may also be made solvent-free based on alkaline chemicals and/or surfactants.
- List of cleaning agents
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