Cleaning agents or detergents are consumables used to clean or care for a wide variety of materials, items or objects. Household cleaners cause or support the removal of dirt or impurities. There are universal cleaners or also called all-purpose cleaners, which can be used for a large part of the cleaning work. Others are distinguished according to their field of application or use, such as glass cleaners, kitchen cleaners, bathroom cleaners, toilet cleaners, furniture cleaners, textile cleaners. Therefore, depending on the material to be cleaned, a cleaning agent is more or less suitable, depending on its ingredients.
Active components in a cleaning agent are ingredients that are significantly involved in the cleaning process or can be used specifically for a particular purpose. There are a variety of these: surfactants, substances that are able to reduce the surface tension of a liquid and thus dissolve it, such as grease or oil. Scouring agents consist of a liquid with small scouring particles that remove stubborn dirt by friction and are only suitable for use on insensitive surfaces. Acidic cleaners often contain citric acids and are used where there is lime and scale to remove. Alkaline cleaners, or bases, like surfactants, can dissolve grease and oily soils. Many cleaners contain bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide, which can remove dark discoloration and bacteria and are therefore also suitable for disinfection. Increasingly, there are products that carry an ecological label and have been tested for the biodegradability of the cleaning substances.
Cleaning products often contain strong chemical substances to ensure their effectiveness. The danger symbols, black on white background in red framed diamonds and the safety instructions must be observed.