When talking about acid cleaners, you have to mention their counterpart, alkaline cleaners but what’s the difference? Acids have lower pH values while alkalines higher ones. The main difference between them is that acid has a pH value below 7 and alkaline is above that. Plainly, acidic cleaners are best used to brighten metals and removing mineral deposits or oxidation on surfaces. Alkaline cleaners remove oils, fats, greases and proteins.
Mild alkaline cleaners mostly contain sodium bicarbonate, better known as baking soda. Mixed with water, this solution is used on areas that require a mild cleaning – safely cleaning glass, wall tile and porcelain enamels. It also removes coffee and tea stains from china and plastic dishes. Mild alkalis are not corrosive and are safe to use around children and pets.
Ammonia is a strong, colorless gas, ammonia is a moderate alkaline cleaner. When this gas is dissolved in water, it becomes liquid ammonia. It’s added to a number of household and commercial cleaners to boost their alkalinity and grease-cutting ability. Drying clear and usually non-streaking, ammonia also is found in glass cleaners and in cleaners used for shiny surfaces, like wax cleaners. Too much of it can ruin or damage some surfaces, so be careful when using it.
While a very effective cleaning agent, ammonia’s odor is it’s main drawback. Never mix ammonia with chlorine and bleach products because this can release a highly toxic gas and for good measure, never mix any kind of chemicals. This can cause an unstable reaction and perhaps fumes, fire, or volatility in the form of an explosion.
Borax, or sodium borate, is a natural mineral compound. In the home, borax is used for many things; a natural laundry booster, a multipurpose cleaner for woodwork, walls, sinks, and carpets, a deodorizer and disinfectant. It’s not flammable and isn’t reactive so it can be mixed with most other cleaning agents, including chlorine bleach. Dissolving best in warm water, Borax is toxic if swallowed in large doses and you should get medical attention immediately.