Does Soap Get your House as Clean as Expensive Cleaning Sprays?

List: Posted: 10/12/11

Both soap and cleaning sprays have their place in keeping your house clean, but they are very different, in some regards.  Here are the main differences.

Soap is made out of lye and animal fat, or a substitute, in some cases.  It acts as a surfactant and, in particular, is very good for personal hygiene.  It also has the undesirable trait of creating scum when it’s used in water that is too hard.  This scum is very difficult to remove and, when it’s time to clean it up, people usually rely on detergents to do the job, as they don’t have this characteristic.

 

The cleaning sprays you can pick up at the supermarket tend to be more specialized to specific jobs.  For instance, degreasing detergents are used in most kitchen cleaners.  Cleaners that specifically attack soap scum are oftentimes found in bathroom cleansers, and many of them also contain bleach, which whitens surfaces and gives them a cleaner appearance.

 

Some people prefer to use soap for just about everything as the lye it contains, and most of the other ingredients are usually biodegradable.  It does, however, tend to leave a film behind and is much better at removing dirt than it is at removing grease from surfaces. 

 

Soap is usually less powerful than the detergents used in the composition of most household cleaning products, as well.

 

Cleaning sprays can be excellent for getting tough stains off of counters and other surfaces, but they oftentimes contain very harsh chemical materials.  This makes them less popular with those who like to keep their houses as green as possible, for instance if you have children.  Some products manage to strike a happy medium and, since the 1960s, detergents in the U.S. have become much more environmentally friendly.

 

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