Skip to main content

Detergents, Soaps, and More

When it comes to your home, you usually have two prime, important goals in mind: Keep your home clean and keep your home healthy. Family is important to you.

To do that, it takes a lot of thought. Not about your cleaning technique… but about the products you choose to do the cleaning.

When you wander the cleaning supply aisle at your favorite department or big-box store, the options are endless. The list of ingredients is long and the descriptive words are confusing. While a scientist working in a laboratory knows what those ingredients are, it’s not your fault that they mystify you.

What do you really need to know? The basics. Here they are.

Detergent versus Soap

Most of the products you use are “detergents” — in that they are man-made or synthetic. They clean great, and usually don’t leave a sticky residue. Soap, on the other hand, is natural, clean great as well, yet can leave a sticky residue if not rinsed off completely. Choose either one, but keep in mind the residue issue. You don’t want to clean a surface and then have the sunlight shine on it and show you a white, sticky residue.


This weird word you might have heard of is the active cleaning agent. It stands for “surface active agent” and in layman’s terms it “makes water wetter.” Think of a waxed surface. The water beads up. Yet if you add a little dish detergent, which has surfactants, the water spreads out. Surfactants allow water to penetrate surfaces, which is how we clean.


pH can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. It is simply a measurement of alkalinity and acidity. Consider a lemon. It’s acidic. So is coffee, tea, and most foods. Most of your cleaning products are going to be alkaline, the opposite of acidic. When you have an upset stomach, you reach for an antacid, because the alkalinity in the antacid will counteract the acid that is upsetting your stomach. Cleaning is like that, balancing pH, in addition to using surfactants so water can do its job.

But the bottom line when it comes to choosing products? Choose a reputable brand. One that has good consumer reviews. And when you really want to know what’s best for your home when it comes to cleaning… contact your favorite cleaning company. They have intel.