- Read labels carefully to avoid injury from harsh cleaning agents.Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
Cleaning agents are chemicals or mixtures of chemicals used to remove dirt, bacteria and viruses from surfaces. The ingredients in cleaning agents vary according to what needs to be cleaned. Some chemicals remove grease and viscous fluids, some remove stains and others kill microorganisms. Many formulations of chemical cleaning agents are on the market, each marketed toward a different specialized cleaning task. Some common chemical ingredients are in a wide variety of products.
- Ammonia is a potent cleaning agent found in many products for both household and industrial use. Ammonia has a strong smell, and can be fatal if ingested or inhaled too deeply. Ammonia (NH3) is a naturally occurring compound used in many different biological processes and produced naturally during organic decomposition. Ammonia is a powerful anti-bacterial chemical and disintegrates many types of oil and dirt.
- Chlorine bleach is in many cleaning products such as laundry detergents, floor cleaners, toilet cleaners and in many industrial cleaning products. Liquid bleach is a 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite solution. Chlorine bleach is an effective stain remover, grease remover and anti-bacterial agent. It is also effective at killing many types of viruses, including highly contagious intestinal noroviruses. Bleach is toxic and can be fatal if swallowed.
- Hydrochloric acid is a corrosive cleaning agent often found in toilet cleaners. It is also a commonly used industrial cleaner for cleaning metal surfaces and for breaking down other chemicals to create different chemical compounds. Hydrochloric acid is extremely hazardous. It eats away at skin and mucous membranes and can dissolve a human body. The vapors are corrosive too, and can damage nasal passages quickly when inhaled.