General Purpose Cleaners

Say it’s a Saturday afternoon, and you want to do a little quick tidying up around the house.  You’ve got some dirty linoleum counters in the kitchen, fingerprints on the stainless steel fridge doors, spilled toothpaste in the tiled bathroom, and some melted chocolate on your painted-wood bedside table.  In the old days, you’d have to sort through bottle after bottle of specialized cleaners to match the right formula to each surface.  Fortunately, with the creation of general purpose cleaners, now you can use just one bottle to tackle the messes on all of those surfaces.  General purpose cleaners, sometimes called all-purpose cleaners, are suitable for removing a wide variety of soils from a wide variety of surfaces.

Let’s see how!

What is a general purpose cleaner?
General purpose cleaners are often water-based and are frequently packaged in trigger-spray bottles.  Although there are many different formulation types of general purpose cleaners, almost all contain one or more of the following types of ingredients:

  • Surfactants:  A material to allow cleaning solution to wet surfaces, emulsify greasy soils, and lift away dirt.
  • Solvents:  A water soluble organic compound that dissolves soils.
  • Chelants: Material that binds with metal ions in solution (e.g., calcium and magnesium found in soap scum)
  • Builders: Adjusts pH to optimize cleaning performance and contributes to suspending soils.

A general purpose cleaning solution is equipped to handle a greasy stovetop and a grimy kitchen and bathroom sink, a crumbly kitchen counter, dirty fingerprints on walls and muddy floors.  In addition, many of today’s general purpose cleaners are also disinfectants to kill microorganisms and bacteria around the house, giving you a clean and healthy environment that’s more than meets the eye.


General Purpose Cleaners Are Going Green
Many general purpose cleaners contain biodegradable cleaning agents.  In order to reduce packaging and therefore reduce solid waste, dilutable products and refillable/re-useable packaging are being introduced to the market.  Moreover, many general purpose cleaners come in packaging with some recycled content and/or packaging which is itself recyclable.

Next time you face a houseful of messes, don’t worry about having to figure out which cleaner works on which mess. You can grab one bottle knowing it will tackle the variety of soils you face allowing you to spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your Saturday.