Difference Between Abrasive and Non-Abrasive Cleaners

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The difference between abrasive and non-abrasive cleaners will clarify which product to use according to the surface. Using a single product for all surfaces is impossible as it will damage the surface of the object you are cleaning. Therefore, one must know the difference between these two cleaners.

What are Abrasive Cleaners?

Abrasive cleaners clean rough and stubborn grease, grime, stains, tarnish or rust that is not easily cleaned by regular cleaning or wiping. Simply put, they will provide extra muscle to remove heavy-duty stains and help you restore shine.    

Types of Abrasive Cleaners

There are four kinds of abrasive cleaners, each with a different level of abrasiveness.
  • Dry or Powdered Abrasives

These are the most commonly used abrasive cleaner in a household. These powdered abrasives contain polishing and cleaning elements such as calcite, silica, quartz and feldspar. Furthermore, they also contain surfactants which help clean the grease and oil from the surface, especially in the kitchen and its sink. Some dry abrasives also have bleach to remove stains from beverages, food or mould.
  • Wet or Liquid Abrasive

If you want a light abrasive action, then use wet cleaners. Liquid abrasives contain more surfactants than soft abrasives, and their particles are finer.
  • Abrasive Tools

Abrasive tools can be generally found in households, including scrub, sponges or stones. Soap is the leading cleaning product used with these tools to remove dirt or stains. While most tools degrade over time, newer ones are made of disintegrating materials such as copper mesh, nylon and stainless-steel wire. For regular use, a ball of steel wool will work just fine; however, for chemical cleaning, steel wool pads are used. Furthermore, for heavy cleaning purposes, colour-coded scrubs are used. They are made from resins, synthetic fibres and abrasive material. For instance, black and red scrubs like griddles are used for heavy cleaning.
  • Disinfecting Abrasives

These abrasives contain antimicrobial chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite, quaternary ammonium or pine oil compounds, helping reduce bacteria’s growth and correctly disinfect the property.  

Careful Tips When Using Abrasive Cleaners

  1. Some surfaces do not respond well to abrasives; therefore, test on a smaller area before using it on the entire surface.
  2. Wear a mask and cover your eyes while using abrasive files, as it might produce dust.
  3. Each cleaner reacts differently on a surface; therefore, before applying any cleaner, make sure you know the construction material of a surface.
  4. Lastly, read all the instructions and directions carefully.

What are Non-Abrasive Cleaners?

Non-abrasive cleaners also come in powder and liquid forms. The cleaner is diluted to achieve the correct strength in powder form. On the other, if liquid, the cleaner can be used as it is or diluted accordingly. Additionally, like non-abrasive, abrasive cleaners are also used to:
  • Disinfect surface or property
  • They are best for surfaces such as woodwork, floors, painted walls and countertops.
  • These surfaces are easily cleaned as they do not have tough stains or stubborn dirt.
  • As “all-purpose” cleaners, without dilution, they can remove tough stains that do not need as much muscle as an abrasive cleaner.
  • These cleaners are ideal for working in alkaline conditions; therefore, non-abrasive cleaners contain alkaline buffer salt to balance the pH levels.
Some common ingredients of non-abrasive cleaners include the following:
  • Surfactants
  • Builders
  • Ammonia
  • Pine Oil
  • Organic Solvents such as Ethanol or Isopropanol

How to Use a Non-Abrasive Cleaner to Successfully Disinfect an Area?

Follow these four steps to ensure your surface is adequately disinfected.
  • Make Sure the Cleaner is a Disinfectant

As mentioned earlier, a non-abrasive cleaner can be a disinfectant. Before purchasing or applying on a surface, ensure it has the proper disinfectant properties to sanitise the area.
  • Clean High Traffic Areas

Properly clean the area frequently used and visited by people daily.
  • Clean as Often as Possible

Cleaning as frequently as possible, in addition to a regular cleaning schedule, will help keep surfaces and objects as clean as possible. It will also prevent germs from building up throughout the day.
  • Personal Hygiene

Monitor your personal hygiene regularly to prevent the spread of infection. Use non-abrasive cleaners such as hand sanitisers to ensure you are not passing on any harmful germs.

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