SDI Quality

What Are The 4 Categories Of Cleaning Agents?

Over the course of any kitchen deep cleaning process, a number of different cleaning agents may be used depending on the items being cleaned, the cleaning method being employed, and the type of materials being removed from the surface of the items. In general, there are four categories of cleaning agents that are commonly used:

This guide will help you learn more about each, so you will know exactly which to use to achieve the desired results.


Abrasives are most used in commercial kitchen deep cleaning to clean floors, pots, and pans of built-up grease. They are effective at these types of jobs because they contain abrasive substances or components that when scrubbed, cuts through the layers of dirt and grease to remove and lift them from hard surfaces. Abrasives usually feature a gritty consistency that can cause scratching on some surfaces. As a result, they should be used with care on materials such as plastic or stainless steel.


Cleaning agents featuring acids are the most powerful types of cleaning agents available and therefore, they should be used with care and with the appropriate safety equipment. These cleaning agents are most used to remove rust and mineral deposits from surfaces and equipment. Acids need to be diluted correctly because if they are not, they can be highly corrosive and even potentially poisonous.


Degreasers, or solvent cleaners, are most used to remove built-up grease from kitchen surfaces. Commonly affected areas include oven tops, exhausts, counters, and grill backsplashes. In a commercial kitchen environment, it is important to use only non-toxic, non-fuming degreasers to prevent potential problems like chemical contamination.


Detergents are the safest and most common type of cleaning agent used in commercial kitchens. Combined with warm water, detergents break up and loosen dirt or soil, so it can be washed away. Most commercial kitchens use synthetic detergents made from petroleum products that come in the form of powder, liquid, gel, or crystals.

After Cleaning, Sanitize

Regardless of which of the 4 categories of cleaning agents you choose to use, it is important to know that cleaning alone isn’t enough to rid your kitchen of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. To ensure a completely clean and compliant kitchen, you need to sanitize after deep cleaning. This helps prevent things like:

Effective cleaning and sanitizing is a time consuming job that needs to be done right. So, let the professionals handle your deep cleaning. At SDI, we believe Quality is Job #1. Call us today at 800-794-2345 to schedule a free kitchen inspection and keep your kitchen compliant with today’s strict safety guidelines.

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