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I have a few cleaning products and after I looked on the ingredients, they feel pretty redundant:

  • Bath cleaner: Less than 5% anionic tensides, anionic tensides, scent.
  • Shower cleaner: Less than 5% anionic tensides, anionic tensides, scent.
  • Glass cleaner: Less than 5% anionic tensides, color components, helper components, scent.
  • Kitchen cleaner: Less than 5%: anionic tensides, scent, lime, linalool.

Others seem to have significantly different chemicals in them:

  • Bref Power Universal Cleaner: Less than 5% soap, non-ionic tensides, anionic tensides. Additionally: Scent (dutylphenyl methylpropional, citronellol, lime), preservative (sodiumhydroxymethylicinat)
  • Frosch pH-neutral cleaner: 5–15% anionic tensides, less than 5% amphoteric tensides, preservatives (sodium benzonate, benzyl alcohol), scent, color.

The “kitchen cleaner” has a distinct scent and cleans much better. When I get it on my hands, it feels really slippery, so perhaps it is alkaline? The “bath” and “shower” cleaner seem to be virtually the same except for the printing on the bottle.

I know that in order so solve grease with water, one needs to have a solvent that has both polar and Van der Vaals bonds. Ethanol would do, for instance. For limestone, one needs to have some acid, like citric acid (my chemistry teacher one said that he uses diluted hydrochloric acid, but that's another story).

Are those cleaning products really all that different? Is “anionic tensides” broad enough that there could be a significant difference between them such that using one or the other actually makes more sense?

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  • $\begingroup$ I always wondered how we are easily forced to be redundant. I am not neglecting that there can be a lot of chemistry and fine effects in the detergents fields. But still, surely there is redundancy. A very similar case is that of cosmetic: cream for day, cream for night, cream for men, young men, woman, and so on. I think they invest a lot in scents and textures to drive the same chemicals as specifically oriented for a purpose. Think about dishes: lemon like smells are fine, but lavender might be not. The latter will be better suited for a bath gel or a bathroom cleaner.... $\endgroup$
    – Alchimista
    Aug 19 '17 at 13:11

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