Cleaning is important and is a vital measure for preventing contamination and diseases. Nevertheless, as important as regular cleaning is, what you use in cleaning is likewise important. There are lots of cleaning agents available, both natural and chemical, and one might get confused about what type to purchase. In fact, there are natural cleaning options that work almost like chemical cleaners.
However, there could be controversies about which of these two types of cleaning agents is most preferable. But before we can choose, let’s see a few details about each category of cleaning agents.
You can call these the “chemical-free” kind of cleaning agents. As the name implies, they are organic cleaners, meaning that there is less reaction to chemicals. Several cleaning agents fall into this category, like baking soda, borax, and white vinegar. Most natural cleaning agents are effective for eliminating tough stains. White vinegar when mixed with water acts as a natural disinfectant. It is effective for removing grease stains, this makes it ideal for cleaning kitchen counters and floors. However, it does not work too well on marble.
Baking soda doubles as a cleaning agent and a deodorizer and Borax is most suitable as a toilet or bathroom cleaner due to its effectiveness in getting rid of tough stains. There are also natural detergents which are mostly characterized as plant-based or phosphate-free detergents. These are commonly used for washing, just like chemical detergents.
They smell nice
Most natural cleaning agents have appealing smells, especially baking soda. It works as a perfect deodorant for carpets. Likewise, soy candles work nicely just as chemical air fresheners. As a plus, it is healthier, so you don’t have to worry about the chemicals in the air.
They do not cause reactions
Unlike most chemical cleaning agents which cause headaches, respiratory problems, and allergic reactions, natural cleaners hardly cause any reaction. This is because they are organic, and the absence of chemicals means there is less tendency for anyone to inhale harmful chemicals.
They are relatively cheap
Most natural cleaners are readily available and easily accessible. They are common items in stores, and they do not cost much. Some are regular home items like baking soda, so you may not need to spend extra.
They might not be as effective as chemical cleaners
Because chemical cleaners are formulated for cleaning they tend to be more effective than natural ones. Most cleaners are formulated with special chemicals to handle tough stains.
These are cleaning agents that are formulated specially to remove stains from different surfaces. There are specific kinds of cleaners for specific types of surfaces, therefore it is important to use the right type of cleaning agent for each surface you want to clean. Common chemical cleaning agents are abrasives, detergents, and acid cleaners. Detergents could be liquid or in powder form. They are very common in homes and are used for basic cleaning like laundry, mopping, as well as for cleaning kitchen surfaces. They are also used in gym cleaning.
Abrasives are basically used for scrubbing hard surfaces like floors, and in the kitchen, it is used to clean pans and pots. Degreasers, as the name implies are used to remove grease stains, They are commonly used in kitchens since that is where you are most likely to find these stains. Acid cleaners are much more powerful and if not properly used can be very toxic. It is preferable to dilute these types of cleaners with water before using them.
Most of the cleaners are classified as antibacterial. These types of cleaners are specifically used to protect against ailments and infections caused by germs. However, they can result in certain health problems like resistance to bacteria and disruption of hormones. Some of their constituent chemical like triclosan could reduce the potency of the immune system in fighting bacteria that are new to the body, by eliminating beneficial bacteria.
Studies have shown that the chemicals in antibacterial cleaners can increase allergic reactions in children, including food allergies like peanut allergies and hay fever, which makes them hazardous for children. This is more common if used as bathing soaps and body wash. In children, proper development of the immune system requires that they are exposed to beneficial bacteria and harmful bacteria as well. This process is altered by antibacterial body wash, which gets rid of every bacteria they come in contact with.
They are effective
As earlier mentioned, they are specially formulated, and since they are specific in the kind of surfaces they work on, they tend to work faster and more effectively than natural cleaning agents.
They are ready-to-use
Unlike natural cleaners which most times need to be prepared or mixed before using, chemical cleaners have already been formulated so there is no need for additional effort.
They can be toxic
These cleaners contain chemicals that are usually toxic, and may cause allergic reactions, dizziness, eye irritation, and many others upon exposure. They are specifically dangerous for children, whose body is still developing and may be unable to eliminate toxins from their bodies. Likewise, they are also dangerous for adults if exposure is constant and prolonged, and without appropriate measures may contribute to chronic diseases. Therefore, it is important to use these cleaning agents with caution.
Which is better?
Judging by the characteristics of each type of cleaning agent, it is fair to say that each has its benefits and limitations. So choosing what type of cleaner to stick to will depend on individual preference. Nevertheless, there is hardly a way to use one without the other. If one decides to stick to the natural option, there will eventually be a reason to switch to the chemical type at one point or the other.
It is important to be cautious when handling cleaning agents, especially chemical types. It is best to store them in a secure place, and preferably in their original containers. Cloths that are used for cleaning should be specifically for cleaning, and they should be replaced from time to time. And one more thing, ensure you keep chemical cleaners, especially acidic cleaners away from food or cooking utensils.