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Published: March 25, 2022

Q:  What are the differences between an acid vs alkaline cleaner?

A:  There are some key differences in choosing the right detergent for your cleaning needs; the pH of a detergent is one dividing line. Acidic cleaners are commonly used to brighten or etch metals and are effective at removing any mineral deposits or oxidation on surfaces. Generally, acidic cleaners are also ideal for removing any acid labile substances:  salts, starches, carbonates, and insoluble hydroxides.

Since most soils are acidic, alkaline cleaners are very effective. Alkaline cleaners remove organic residues.  These include: oils, fats, greases, proteins and an array of other soils. Most cleaning applications will involve an alkaline cleaner or a combination of an alkaline cleaner and an acidic cleaner.

Alconox Inc. offers acidic and alkaline cleaners for pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, healthcare, precision manufacturing and various other industries. For information on all Alconox Inc. brands, visit or browse through our Critical Cleaning Guide.

Deciding whether to go acid vs alkaline cleaner (or both) for your application? Want clarification on what type(s) of chemical solubility your residues are likely to have?  Contact us any time!

To request any Alconox Inc. detergents for free, please complete the questionnaire at Get Sample. For more information about any one of our Alconox Inc. detergents, consult the technical bulletin for each product. Or click here to access each of our detergent’s  Safety Data Sheets.

Do you have a critical cleaning question for the experts at Alconox Inc.?  Search TechNotes to see if it’s been answered before or Ask Alconox.

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