Cleaning is the act of removing all unwanted materials, including bacteria, toxic agents, dirt, and other pollutants, from a non-porous object or environment. Cleaning takes place in a variety of contexts and employs many techniques. Some occupations are dedicated to cleaning professionally. In most professions, however, the act of cleaning involves some level of manual labor such as scrubbing toilets, mopping floors, sweeping, and vacuuming. These tasks allow people to get into the nooks and crannies of the workplace and clean with tools that most people have never even seen.
Cleaning can also refer to disinfecting, which kills or sterilizes organisms that may be on surfaces. This is usually done through the use of chemical agents that destroy microorganisms on contact, sometimes through the application of heat or steam. Disinfecting is done by wiping down surfaces with water or another germ-free liquid. This prevents passing of germs between cleaners and their surfaces, preventing illnesses and diseases.
In addition to disinfecting, there are sanitizers. Sanitizers are chemicals that kill or prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Most common sanitizers are chlorine and bromine. Some include ingredients that sterilize the surfaces as well. Some contain enzymes that break down potentially harmful bacteria. These chemicals are added during the cleaning process to kill or sterilize any bacteria or organisms that might be present on the surfaces.
Cleaning that involves disinfecting generally involves the removal of dirt or grime from surfaces that are cleaned. This leaves floors, sinks, countertops, appliances, tables, etc., smelling clean and smelling fresher. Cleaning companies that specialize in disinfection use different chemicals, some of which are ozone and chlorine dioxide. Ozone is used to reduce the intensity of sunlight, preventing germs from growing in dark, damp environments. Chlorine dioxide kills germs and prevents the growth of mildew on surfaces.
Here’s a pro tip for cleaning services: find out what kind of sanitizer was used. Some people prefer a natural, organic product, whereas others require stronger chemicals. Find out what was used for disinfecting and whether it was left in the water during cleaning. The more sanitizer used, the fewer germs will be left behind to breed.
Other chemicals commonly used in cleaning are phosphates, acids, and chlorine bleach. Phosphates are commonly used as deodorizers but may have negative effects on the eyes. Many homeowners use these strong cleaners because they smell good. However, these chemicals can create a haze over surfaces, making them appear brighter.
Another potential problem is the residue left behind after a cleaning process. Laundry detergents may contain phosphates or other chemicals that leave a residue behind that can be picked up by clothing. A detergent-less cleaner would be recommended.
Some disinfectants have both disinfectant and stain remover components. An example is Drano. Another option is a bleach-water solution that kills bacteria and bleach can be used to kill germs before they can reproduce. A good disinfectant recommendation is to only use a disinfectant that has the recommended dwell time on it or a product that has a long enough dwell time that the residual effects are not a problem.
For those with stains that still need treatment, there is a pro tip for removing grease and oil. Vinegar is a very effective disinfectant and is one of the most widely used household cleaners. It can remove grease stains and most oil stains as well. A word of caution, though – if you are allergic to vinegar or have sensitive skin, do not use it.
A popular household product that can help to keep surfaces clean is pine oil. Pine oil is one of those unsung heroes of home cleaning. Its effectiveness makes it a great choice for a lot of surfaces, especially tiles. Like many commercial products, pine oil disinfects surfaces by forming a thin layer over the surface it’s applied to. This thin layer traps dirt and grime, which is then removed from the surface through regular wiping.
Cleaning pads are also a great alternative to abrasive cleaners and disinfectants. These pads can be placed on hard-to-reach areas, like ovens, stove tops, countertops, and sinks. They come with rubber no-drill pads that can remove grease and grime and are perfect for removing stubborn dirt that just won’t come off. There are many different varieties, so finding one to suit your needs should be easy.
Scouring pads can also be used to remove small particles of food. Small particles of food tend to gather on surfaces, including counter tops, plates, and utensils, and are hard to get rid of. Using a cleaning mixture of aluminum oxide and sodium hypochlorite, scouring pads can loosen and lift small particles of food. This will help reduce the need to use abrasives to get rid of them.