Science | Nov 16
Ah yes. The 8th wonder of the world: the all purpose cleaner (or muti-purpose cleaner). There’s no need to have 6 or more bottles of cleaners or cleaning products, just one will do! Since the introduction of the all purpose cleaner and the discovery of all of its uses, life is just...better! Right? There’s no more need to worry if you’re using the correct cleaner for the surface, just spray, wipe, and done! But you wouldn’t just spray it on your hands or clothes and keep on going, so there definitely are some limits to what this wonder product can do. Knowing when and how to use a multi purpose cleaner is the key behind unlocking the potential of this great product! But before going into the particulars of its use, let’s first answer:
What is an all purpose cleaner?
Well, to put it simply, an all purpose cleaner is a cleaner that is gentle enough that it doesn’t damage surfaces, but effective enough that it removes stains, dirt, and grease. There is are no ‘standard’ all purpose cleaner ingredients and the different formulations give each multi purpose cleaner special cleaning powers.
There are disinfectant, de-greaser, and gentle all purpose cleaners. Chances are that with all the different brands of cleaners (and the different ingredients in each all purpose cleaner) some might work better on some surfaces than others. But if you look hard enough, you will definitely find the best one for you and your household.
However, (and this is especially true with regular, mainstream all purpose cleaners) some all purpose cleaners do contain damaging or powerful chemicals that can hurt your hands or skin, so be sure to follow the directions on the label and look at all safety warnings before using those!
When should they be used?
If you’re using a non toxic all purpose cleaner or a safe multi purpose cleaner, the answer to this question is “always!” Most all purpose cleaners are safe to use on marble, plastic, steel, wood, or any other type of surface. The longer answer to this question is that you definitely have to read the label on your bottle.
Because different all purpose cleaners have different ingredients, they work well for different surfaces. So if a cleaner is too harsh, then you definitely don’t want it anywhere close to your hardwood floors (and you might want to test it somewhere inconspicuous before using it on your car, too!). If, in change, you have a natural all purpose cleaner then you probably have nothing to worry about! However, you should still read the label and contact the manufacturer with any questions.
But how? How to use an all purpose cleaner?
First is first. Before tackling any mess in your house, be sure to have at hand some rubber gloves, cleaning cloths, a bucket of water, and a mop. Since some all purpose cleaners are concentrated, you might need to dilute them in a bit of water before using the cleaner. Other detergents are harmful to your hands and skin and might dry them up, make them itchy or, in some extreme cases, cause a burning sensation. If you’re not sure of your detergent’s ingredients or how they may react to your skin, definitely have a pair of rubber gloves at hand.
Now to specifics! Keep in mind that these are general suggestions and some might not work with your specific all purpose cleaner!
For glass: Remove all excess dirt, then spray on your cleaner, and wipe off with a dry, clean cloth. Make sure to remove all stains and dry up all the solutio! (Any cleaning solution not removed can create smear marks on the glass)
For steel: First test in an inconspicuous area! Some steels can stain quickly with the wrong cleaner. If you are able to wipe off all the solution from the small spot, you are good to go! Remove excess dirt, spray on your cleaner, and wipe it off! Grease stains, hand prints, and other pesky spots should disappear!
For floors: You can go one of two ways here! Either spray directly on floors and then wipe away with a damp mop or dilute a bit of the all purpose cleaner in water and use the solution to mop your floors. As easy as that!
For wood: Wood is the trickiest of all of these materials. Because different woods react to cleaners differently, you will definitely want to test it on an inconspicuous area first. Spray some on that specific spot and leave on for 5 minutes. If you don’t see any changes, you are good to go! If the wood becomes stained or looks wrong, wash away the cleaner immediately with a bit of warm water! That cleaner is not for you! If your all purpose cleaner is gentle and not filled with chemicals (like the one we love hint hint), then you will be good to go. Either spray some of the cleaner and then wipe away or, if you’re cleaning hardwood floors, use the instructions in the previous paragraph.
And that’s it! All purpose cleaners do have their limits (and you will see them on the label, usually), but their versatility makes them a staple cleaner in all households throughout the entire country!