A Cleaning Solution

What’s in a Cleaning Solution?
A cleaning solution has to be fairly versatile and suitable for dealing with a variety of types of soils. For example, water normally does not work well to remove an oily soil, such as a greasy mess on the stove-top.  So, to enhance the power of water a number of ingredients can be added to form a more effective water-based solution.  Surfactants, solvents, and chelants mixed with water will improve its ability to dissolve the oily soil.  Builders, bleaches, and enzymes can be added to water to chemically modify the oily soil to make it more soluble in water.  The optimal combination of these ingredients in water will deliver a truly powerful cleaning solution.

Feel like you just got hit with a bunch of vocabulary?  Here’s a quick tutorial. 

  • Builders:  Compounds that adjust pH to optimize cleaning performance and contribute to suspending soils.
  • Bleaches:  Compounds that oxidize and remove soils and lighten the color of stains. 
  • Enzymes:  Biological proteins that speed the breakdown of soils. 
  • Surfactants:  Compounds that allow cleaning solution to wet surfaces, emulsify greasy soils, and lift away dirt.
  • Solvents:  Organics that dissolves soils.
  • Chelants:  Compounds that bind with metal ions in solution (e.g., calcium and magnesium found in soap scum).


The cleaning solutions you use to clean your counter-tops, windows, and bathtub all likely have at least one or more of these “clean-boosters” in their ingredients.  The more “clean-boosters” there are in the solution, the more versatile it is.

To learn more about these and other Product Ingredients, click here.