There are a limitless number of options to choose from when it comes to household cleaners. So how do you narrow down your options? And most importantly, how do you choose solutions that will be safe on the various surfaces in your home?

We’ll let you in on a little secret: using different types of cleaners on certain surfaces does matter, but it’s really not that complicated once you learn the basics!


Household Cleaner Do’s And Don’ts

Here are a few basic types of cleaners, where they work well, and where they should be avoided.


Homemade Cleaners

Most DIY cleaners are natural, non-toxic, cheap, and versatile. They’re typically made with a mixture of vinegar and lemon. The acidic component is great for cutting through grease and removing soap scum and hard water stains from tubs, shower heads, and tile.

However, these cleaners can also damage and dull the appearance of natural stone surfaces like granite, marble, and limestone and eat away finishes on kitchen knives, grout, and wood surfaces. Use a damp cloth and warm water or a specialty cleaner on these surfaces instead.


Disinfecting Cleaners

Not all cleaners contain a disinfectant, which is crucial for germ breeding grounds like kitchen sinks, countertops, bathtubs, door handles and other high traffic areas. It’s about more than just looking clean, but actually protecting our homes from unseen bacteria.

Most all-purpose cleaners contain a disinfectant and are great for these types of surfaces. Always be sure to read the label on your cleaner to make sure it kills germs, and follow the directions listed. Some cleaners require sitting on surfaces for a period of time rather than being wiped up immediately in order to effectively disinfect.


Glass And Acrylic Cleaners

The last thing you want is scratches or streaks on your glass surfaces. First, dust the surface with a clean damp cloth. Use either a mixture of ammonia and water (2 tbsp ammonia per 1 quart of water) or a specialty glass cleaner. Other cleaners either damage or don’t effectively clean glass surfaces.


All Purpose Cleaners

All-purpose cleaners come in either powder or liquid form and can be used at full strength or diluted with water. They work well in areas with light spills that need a disinfectant—like appliances, countertops, tile, and laminate or linoleum floors.

All-purpose cleaners can sometimes leave streaks on stainless steel appliances, so try a specialty cleaner instead. Also, avoid all-purpose cleaners on hardwood floors. To remove tough stains, mold, or mildew, try a stronger specialty cleaner.


Abrasive Cleaners

Abrasive cleaners have a somewhat gritty texture. They come in the form of powder, liquid, or scrubbing pads. Abrasive cleaners contain small particles or minerals and help reduce your need for elbow grease in highly soiled areas. They work well on bathtubs, cooking utensils, and tile floors.

Abrasive cleaners can corrode metal surfaces, so be sure not to use them anywhere you wouldn’t want to see potentially scratched.


Chlorine Bleach

Bleach works well to whiten surfaces and remove mildew. It’s meant for hard surfaces like toilet bowls, not porous surfaces like wood and grout. Bleach doesn’t kill mold but simply hides it by bleaching the surfaces, and actually stimulates mold grown because it contains 90% water. Bleach can also corrode and rust metal surfaces.

Bleach can be a powerful cleaning solution, but it should be used with caution.


Specialty Cleaners

In many cases, specialty cleaners are the way to go. There are a lot of products out there made specifically for certain surfaces, like the kitchen, bathroom, glass, hardwood floors, and stainless steel. Some have components that target hard water and mineral build-up, mold and mildew, shower heads, soap scum on tubs and tile, and toilet bowls.

There are also specialty cleaners for cleaning carpet and upholstery. However, it’s important to note that using too much solution or water or applying the product incorrectly can actually cause mold and mildew to grow beneath the surface and stains to appear more frequently. Instead, have a professional take care of your carpet and upholstery cleaning for you.


Enjoy A Cleaner, Healthier Home

When it comes to cleaning your home, the goal should be not just to visibly get rid of messes, but to remove harmful germs and preserve your precious surfaces. Using the right cleaning solutions and the best cleaning professionals can help you get there!


Malama ‘Aina Chem-Dry is Oahu’s most trusted carpet, upholstery, area rug, tile, stone, and grout, pet urine, and commercial carpet cleaning provider. See what other Oahu residents have to say about their experience with us!

Get a free, no-obligation price quote today from Malama ‘Aina Chem-Dry, and you’ll be well on your way to a cleaner, healthier home.