How to Use 4 Categories of Cleaning Agents for Deeper Cleans

4 Categories of Cleaning Agents

Regardless of your industry, when it comes to delivering quality products, the cleanliness of your equipment is a major contributing factor. From processing and holding tanks to other handling equipment, a deep clean helps to ensure the safety of food products and the quality of manufactured goods. Below, we further explore the four categories of cleaning agents, including how you can use them in tandem with cleaning nozzles and accessories for the highest possible quality of products.

What are Cleaning Agents?

Used to remove dirt, dust, residue, and odors, cleaning agents help us reduce or eliminate cross contamination and the spread of germs. Some are designed to lift dirt away for easier cleaning, while others are used to kill bacteria and clean at the same time.

The four categories of cleaning agents are as follows:


Used in both home and commercial applications, detergents are the most common type of cleaning agent used today. Taking the form of powders, liquids, gels, or crystals, commercial detergents work by breaking up dirt and soil, making them easier to wash away with pressurized water nozzles.

Commonly synthesized from petroleum products, this cleaning agent works through its amphiphilic nature, meaning it can mix compounds like oil and grease with water for a complete clean. Major applications of detergents include household & commercial cleaning, fuel additives, and a biological reagent.


Whether in the form of sprays, foams, wipes, powders, or solutions, degreasers work by removing water-insoluble substances (like grease and oil) from surfaces without damage. Typically, degreasers are useful on oven tops, counters, grill backsplashes, or other locations where grease production is prevalent in the food and beverage industry. Manufacturing and automotive industries also use degreasers to removed oil-based contaminants from metal or concrete.

There are many types of degreasing solvents, with non-toxic and even environmentally friendly bio solvent options available.


Abrasive cleaners are useful when you are working with stubborn and heavy amounts of soil. Many in the cleaning industry refer to these products as having “built-in elbow grease” that can remove dirt, stains, tarnish, hard water deposits, and similar soils.

Used to clean floors and equipment alike, abrasives have different levels of harshness, depending on the size of the particles used within. Accordingly, abrasives can scratch certain materials like stainless steel, and should always be used with care.


Acid cleaners are used to remove scaling, rust, and other inorganic deposits. Typically, they include mineral acids, corrosion inhibitors, and surfactants. Regarded as the most powerful category of cleaning agent, strong acidic cleaners can be both incredibly useful and very dangerous if used improperly. For example, if diluted incorrectly, acidic cleaners have to potential to be poisonous and corrosive.

There are also more mild acidic cleaning products, such as the acetic acid found in vinegar and the citric acid of lemon juice. Both are widely used in both commercial and household cleaning products.

Get More Thorough Cleans Using the Correct Nozzle System

While the above cleaning agents are useful in and of themselves, choosing the correct nozzle system can further facilitate important cleaning factors for the most thorough clean possible.

Understanding Impact, Flow Rate, and Pressure

Impact, flow rate, and pressure all play important roles when it comes to selecting the best nozzle system for your cleaning application.

Impact refers to the rate at which a solvent droplet strikes the wall of your tank or equipment. Most nozzles are categorized as high or low impact, depending on the rate of impact.

Flow rate is directly tied to impact, meaning that as flow rate increases, so too does impact.

Pressure refers to the size and impact of the cleaning agent against the object being cleaned. Using nozzles with the optimal pressure, flow rate, and impact will help you penetrate even the most challenging soils in the most difficult industrial applications.

Choose the Right Cleaning Nozzles For Your Needs

Flat Fan Nozzles

Lechler flat fan nozzles are capable of delivering a uniform liquid distribution with high impact. Creating spray angles up to 60 degrees, flat fan nozzles come in both high pressure and low pressure types. While low pressure options are especially suited for humidifying and spraying in general, high pressure flat fan nozzles are ideal for high pressure cleaners and steam jet cleaners. The flow geometry of the nozzle allows for the production of accurate, compact sprays, available with different distribution patterns.

Full Cone Nozzles

Creating a completely filled, round impact area, full cone nozzles spray within the interior of a circular area. There are two different styles of full cone nozzles: axial and tangential.

Axial full cone nozzles achieve a uniform distribution of liquid over a circular area with a high level of precision. That precision is achieved as the liquid in the nozzle is oriented in the center of the swirl chamber of the nozzle.

Tangential full cone nozzles have no internal vanes, so they are less prone to clogging and are nicely suited for spraying liquids with a high amount of particulate matter.

Tank Cleaning Nozzles

Economical, reliable, and proven: Tank cleaning nozzles come in a wide variety of options to ensure you have exactly the right nozzle to ensure a thorough clean. Learn more about the different options and their applications by clicking the link above.

Always Follow Cleaning with Sanitizing

Because they won’t kill bacteria or other microorganisms, cleaning agents are only the first step to delivering the best possible products. After cleaning, you should always sanitize in order to kill bacteria and ensure a clean workplace. When combined with the nozzles above, cleaning and sanitizing work to prevent cross-contamination and allergic reactions caused as a result of that contamination.

Lechler USA: Providing the Very Best Cleaning Nozzles & Accessories

Now, you should have everything you need to get started on selecting the best cleaning products and accessories for your industry, your application, and your needs. For more information about these products, or any of the thousands of nozzles and accessories we provide, please contact us, or browse our entire product line-up for yourself. If you decide to reach out, one of our product specialists will respond shortly with more information.