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The Science Behind Your Favourite Cleaning Products: A Comprehensive Guide

The Science Behind Your Favourite Cleaning Products

1. The Power of pH

pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance and is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is considered neutral, anything below 7 is acidic, and anything above 7 is alkaline or basic.

The pH of a cleaning solution can have a significant impact on its effectiveness. Different types of dirt and stains require different pH levels to be effectively removed.

Acidic cleaners, which have a pH of less than 7, are effective at removing calcium, rust, and other mineral deposits. These cleaners are often used for bathroom and kitchen surfaces where hard water stains are common. Vinegar and lemon juice are examples of natural acidic cleaners.

Alkaline cleaners, with a pH higher than 7, effectively remove fats, oils, and grease. These cleaners are commonly used in kitchens and other areas where greasy, oily stains occur. Baking soda and ammonia are examples of alkaline cleaners.

Neutral cleaners, which have a pH of around 7, are gentle and don't damage materials, making them ideal for cleaning surfaces like hardwood floors and natural stone that more acidic or alkaline cleaners could damage.

At Broom and Bucket, we understand the science of pH and how to use it to our advantage in cleaning your home. Depending on the type of dirt or stain, we'll choose a cleaning product with the appropriate pH level to effectively and safely clean your surfaces. Our professional cleaning team in Liverpool has the knowledge and expertise to handle any cleaning challenge, ensuring your home is always at its best.

2. The Role of Surfactants

Surfactants, or surface-active agents, are key ingredients in many cleaning products. The term 'surfactant' comes from the longer phrase 'SURFace ACTive AgeNT', which describes their key property. They are compounds that lower the surface tension between two substances, such as a liquid and a solid or between two liquids. This ability makes surfactants a powerful tool for cleaning.

One end of a surfactant molecule is hydrophilic, meaning it's attracted to water. In contrast, the other end is hydrophobic, meaning it's repelled by water and instead is attracted to oils and grease. When you apply a surfactant to a dirty surface, the hydrophobic end of the molecule attaches to the dirt or grease. When you then rinse with water, the hydrophilic end of the molecule follows, effectively lifting and removing the dirt or grease from the surface.

In addition to this cleaning power, surfactants also have a secondary role in creating foam. While foam doesn't do the cleaning, it helps spread the cleaner over the surface and indicates that the cleaner is working.

Surfactants are essential to many cleaning products, from laundry detergents to hand soaps, to all-purpose cleaners. By understanding the role of surfactants, we can appreciate the complex chemistry that aids us in our daily cleaning tasks. For example, Broom and Bucket, your trusted cleaning service in Liverpool, always uses cleaning products with the most effective surfactants to ensure your home is spotless and hygienic.

3. Enzymes in Action

Enzymes are naturally occurring proteins that act as catalysts, speeding up biological reactions. They’re remarkable tools in cleaning products because they can break down complex molecules into smaller, easier-to-remove substances.

In the realm of cleaning products, specific enzymes are selected for their ability to break down different types of materials. For example, proteases are enzymes that break down proteins, making them perfect for tackling protein-based stains like blood, sweat, or egg. Lipases, however, break down fats and are great at dealing with oil or butter stains. Amylases target starches and can handle stains from foods like pasta or potatoes. Finally, cellulases work on tiny fibres and help keep colours bright and reduce fabric pilling.

By breaking down these materials, enzymes effectively 'eat away' at the stains, making it easier to wash the remnants away. What makes enzymes particularly attractive in cleaning products is their specificity and efficiency. In addition, they can work at lower temperatures and are readily biodegradable, making them a more environmentally friendly choice.

This enzymatic action makes certain cleaning products, notably laundry detergents, incredibly effective at stain removal. At Broom and Bucket, we understand the power of enzymes and where to use them for the best results. Our cleaning team in Liverpool is equipped with the right enzymatic cleaners to tackle any stain, ensuring your home is always spotless.

4. Solvents and Their Functions

Solvents play a critical role in the effectiveness of cleaning products. Solvents are substances capable of dissolving or dispersing one or more other substances. For example, in cleaning products, solvents help to dissolve dirt and grime, making it easier to wipe or rinse away.

Water is the most common solvent used in cleaning products due to its safety and effectiveness. It's particularly good at dissolving ionic compounds (like salt) and polar compounds (like sugar). However, water isn't effective at dissolving non-polar substances like oils and greases.

That's where organic solvents come into play. Organic solvents, such as alcohols and citrus solvents, are particularly effective at dissolving non-polar substances. Alcohols, like isopropyl alcohol or ethanol, are often used in glass cleaners and disinfectants. They evaporate quickly, leaving behind a streak-free shine, and have some disinfecting properties. Citrus solvents, derived from the peel of citrus fruits, are powerful at cutting through heavy grease and grime.

Additionally, solvents can act as carriers for other cleaning ingredients, helping them penetrate soils and stains more effectively. This means that solvents not only have their cleaning power but can also enhance the cleaning power of other ingredients.

At Broom and Bucket, we utilise the power of different solvents to ensure the most effective cleaning for your home. Our professional cleaning team in Liverpool understands the role of solvents in cleaning and uses this knowledge to select the right cleaning product for every job.

5. The Magic of Bleach

Bleach is a common household cleaning and disinfecting agent, known for killing a wide range of microbes and removing stains. The most common type of bleach used in cleaning products is chlorine bleach, scientifically known as sodium hypochlorite.

When bleach comes into contact with a stain, it acts as an oxidising agent, breaking down the chemical bonds that make up the colour of the stain. This process, known as oxidation, effectively 'bleaches' the stain and leaves it white or colourless. This robust oxidation process also makes bleach an excellent disinfectant, as it can break down the cell walls of bacteria and other microbes, killing them.

In addition to its stain-removing and disinfecting abilities, bleach also has strong whitening properties. When used on white fabrics or surfaces, bleach can help to remove any discolouration and restore a bright, clean white appearance.

However, bleach is a powerful chemical and must be used cautiously. It can discolour fabrics and surfaces, harm plants and animals, and irritate skin, eyes, and respiratory systems. Always use bleach in a well-ventilated area and wear protective clothing if necessary.

At Broom and Bucket, we use bleach judiciously and responsibly. Our cleaning professionals in Liverpool are well-trained in the proper use of bleach and will always use the right amount to effectively clean and disinfect your home without causing damage.


Understanding the science behind your favourite cleaning products can help you choose the best products for your specific cleaning needs. At Broom and Bucket, we pride ourselves on using scientifically-proven methods and high-quality cleaning products to provide you with the best cleaning service in Liverpool. For more insights into the world of cleaning or to schedule a cleaning service, don't hesitate to contact us.

cleaning products that broom and bucket uses to clean.

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