Abrasive cleaners are mechanical cleaning agents. They are designed to wipe out medium and heavy amounts of soil on a small surface area and hard water deposits.
Abrasive cleaners are employed when routine wiping and cleaning fail to eradicate tough stains. The friction generated while rubbing the surface erases the stain.
Abrasive cleaners come in various forms, which can either be liquid or powder. Abrasive tools are usually used when using abrasive cleaners to facilitate the scrubbing process. Examples of these include; scouring pads and iron sponges.
The application of abrasive cleaners varies depending on the surface that needs to be cleaned. Some are made for specific uses and are therefore corrosive to surfaces outside those uses.
The efficiency of an abrasive cleaner is directly related to its coarseness. The more coarse an abrasive cleaner is, the more effective it is in wiping dirt off a surface. However, that increases the risk of surface damage.
Cleaning abrasives are generally categorized into three categories, depending on their strength. They are;
- Mild cleaning abrasives
- Moderate cleaning abrasives
- Strong cleaning abrasives
Types of Abrasive Cleaners
These abrasives are powdered and usually contain calcite, feldspar, quartz, and silica plus a small fraction of surfactant. The presence of the surfactant allows it to remove oil residues, greasy films, and food and beverage stains.
As the name indicated, these are in liquid form. Usually consist of surfactant and solid particles suspended in a thick liquid. They are the best option when a deep cleaning is required as they have more powerful constituents than dry abrasives.
These contain chemical compounds that can sanitize surfaces, like antimicrobial ingredients that can kill and disrupt the active growth of bacteria—abrasives containing sodium hypochlorite, quaternary, or ammonium fall under this category.
These are also known as physical abraders, and the most common abrasive household tools are pumice stone, scouring pads, steel wool, and iron sponge. They are used with a cleaning agent ( soap and abrasive cleaner) to clean and polish surfaces.
Other Forms of Abrasive Cleaner
- Natural abrasives like baking soda, table salt, Borax,
- Some abrasive cleaners are suitable for rust removal because they contain chemicals like oxalic acid or sodium hydrosulphite, which are effective against rust.
As good as abrasive cleaners are, they are not all-in-one answers to all your cleaning questions. Using abrasive cleaners on some materials will temporarily damage them. Such materials include
- Artificial sinks
- Stainless steel and aluminum
- Painted surfaces
- Glass, including mirrors.
Precautions when using abrasive cleaners
- Wear protective clothing.
- Avoid contact with the eyes and skin as this may irritate them.
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and follow them accordingly.
- Don’t combine different abrasive products
When elbow grease doesn’t work, abrasive cleaning is the best option, but it’s essential to take the surface to be cleaned into account and the label’s instructions.
This is to prevent damaging the surface you intend to clean. Damage caused by abrasive cleaners is usually irreparable.