Commercial And Residential Cleaners That Contain Surfactants

Our property manager recently hired a cleaning agency to care for one of our properties. As our congregation grows, so do the responsibilities involved with keeping the property clean and tidy. We gathered as a group to thoroughly clean the place before having them come in. During this time, we had some very interesting conversations that eventually led to us asking “what chemicals are in these cleaning supplies”? Most of us would opt in to using Green Cleaning Supplies next time around, but some that have used those in the past said they are not always best for getting grit and grime from worn out floor boards, countertops, and highly trafficked areas. Whatever the case may be, we decided to create a post about chemical surfactants in cleaning solutions so that our members could gain a better understanding about the cleaning supplies they use when scrubbing the church floors, to the floors in their very own homes.

We All Need To Clean

When it comes to cleaning, you most likely have tons of different supplies. But did you know that many of them probably contain surfactants? In fact, nearly all commercial cleaning products contain this chemical. Surfactants are found in many common household cleaners used today. The reason for this is due to its powerful impacts. It is used for decreasing surface tension of water, making it spread much more uniformly. This ultimately results in more efficient and quicker removal of stubborn dirt, grease, and stains.

Even with the noted benefits, surfactants are considered very toxic and can pose some serious health threats when there is high exposure. Whether you are washing your dishes, doing laundry, or even cleaning your face, you may be exposing yourself to surfactants. Though dangerous in abundance, it is generally safe with the current level of restricted usage. To be more informed about what you are exhibiting yourself to, take a look at the labels on some of these conventional cleaning products to see if they contain surfactant or not.


Surfactants play an important role here.  It allows the detergent to mix correctly with the water, helping the cleaning components to get rid of dirt and stains from the clothing. Without surfactants, the soap would just roll off of the water instead of mixing, making the cleaning process extremely difficult. Stains are hard to remove from clothing and carpeting, but with the help of chemical surfactants, your church clothes will always look clean and proper for Sunday morning.

Fabric Softeners

Another laundry product that commonly contains surfactants is fabric softeners. This chemical allows for the sheets to successfully remove the static clinging of the clothing while still providing a plumping and softening result. If you use softener, then you know how necessary it is to have this in your wash load, or while drying.

Dishwashing Liquids

Similar to detergent, without surfactants, your dishwashing soap would not mix with the water well.  This chemical assists the liquid to clean dishes by breaking down the grime on them and dissolving any associated fat and oils. When we have church gatherings, we often use chafing dishes, and these easily accumulate grease. If they are not washed properly, the next time they are used for baking, the leftover foods will bake into the pan, making it almost impossible to scrub out. Having a good detergent to properly wash industrial pots and pans will make future cooking efforts much more pleasant.

Shampoo and Conditioner 

The foaming reaction you get with shampoo and conditioner when mixed with water is a result of surfactants. These foamy suds help loosen up the hair oils and dirt, making it effortless for it to be washed away during rinsing. If you have ever jumped in the shower, rinsed your hair, but did not use shampoo, you can tell when you get out. For those of you that don’t wash your hair before church, those of us sitting behind you tend to notice these things. I’m not sure if these surfactants are present in natural shampoo and conditioners.

Toilet Bowl Cleaners

Moving into your bathroom, do not be surprised to see that your toilet bowl cleaners contain surfactants as well. Most toilet bowl cleaners, such as Cling and Lysol use nonionic surfactants to get those stubborn stains and grime out. Products like Lysol use non ionic cleaners as part of their chemical makeup, making them powerful solutions for deep cleaning. The toilet bowl is one of the most used appliances in the home, and should be washed weekly at the least. Commercial properties need to wash toilets more frequently because of the heavy traffic they receive. The church is a prime example. Our congregation has three meeting times on Sunday, and there are typically one hundred or more people here. If you multiply that by three meetings, there is the potential that three hundred people use the restrooms throughout the day. This is definitely something that needs to be cleaned daily.

Shaving Cream

One of the significant skin products that contain surfactants is shaving cream. Surfactants in shaving cream help decrease skin irritation.  It allows for the razor to smoothly remove hair by reducing the friction from the blade. Another one to note, that if you have shaved without a proper lather, you can definitely feel the uncomfortable difference between shaving with and shaving without.


Surfactants are a powerful cleaning chemical that is used strategically to make your cleaning experience much more efficient. From sprays, glass cleaners, hand cleaners, industrial hand cleaners, and even toothpaste, inevitably there will be something in your household that has surfactant as an ingredient. Though they are generally safe when exposed in low dosages, always make sure to follow the instructions on the product packaging and never use more than required to minimize risks.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.