What Makes an Effective and Sustainable Cleaner

The Keys to a Great Cleaner

February 7th, 2024

3 minutes

Home Care

By Sierra Cotton

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What Makes an Effective and Sustainable Cleaner

The performance and sustainability of cleaning products are two pivotal factors that define their impact on our homes and the environment. Cleaner formulas should be designed for soil removal and surface safety so fixtures and surfaces last longer. When cleaning, the afterlife of the formulas in the products we use is often overlooked, yet it's crucial. Traditional cleaners, laden with harsh chemicals, can wreak havoc on our water sources and persist in the environment for years. This has sparked a growing demand for cleaners that are both effective and environmentally responsible.

What Makes a Sustainable Cleaner

Traditional cleaning agents often contain harmful chemicals that can be detrimental to ecosystems, such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These agents can pose a significant threat. In fact, chemical cleaners contribute to around 30,948 tons of hazardous waste annually.

Sustainable cleaners should embody several key characteristics:


  • Biodegradability: Formulations that are biodegradable are essential for minimizing products that persist in our ecosystem long after their use.
  • Reduced VOC Use: Reducing the use of chemicals such as VOCs in cleaning formulations not only lessens environmental toxicity but also promotes safer manufacturing processes, minimizing industrial pollution.
  • Surface Safety: Formulations should safely clean sensitive surfaces like marble and granite, grout, and certain fixtures, which can be damaged by overly acidic solutions. This ensures they last longer.
  • Innovation: Employing new technologies and methodologies for enhanced efficiency and reduced environmental impact is crucial for growing sustainability products.

What Makes an Effective Cleaner

The effectiveness of a cleaner is determined by several different attributes, and formulation is critical. Cleaning solutions should optimize characteristics such as performance and ensure compatibility with various surface materials.


  • Soap scum and limescale removal: Effective removal of these stubborn residues is not just a matter of cleanliness but also plays a role in preserving the material integrity of surfaces like bathroom tiles, countertops, and fixtures such as faucets.
  • Grime and soil removal: A cleaner's ability to tackle grime effectively is essential for maintaining hygiene and overall cleanliness. The composition of cleaners influences grime removal.
  • No smearing or streaking: Ensuring surfaces are free of streaks or smears after cleaning is important for a clean look. The combination of surfactants and chelating agents plays a significant role in achieving this, as it aids in soil removal as well as the dissolution of soap scum.
  • Surface safety: The choice of cleaning agents is also influenced by the need to preserve the integrity of the surfaces being cleaned. This is particularly important for materials like granite or marble, grout, and some fixture materials, where aggressive cleaning agents and low pH can cause damage.

Soltellus™ Polymer: A Cleaner for a Better Future

Soltellus™ Polymer exemplifies the fusion of effectiveness and sustainability. This biodegradable anionic polymer is adept at tackling soap scum and limescale happening in hard water conditions and supports oil and particulate removal. In formulation, it could replace chelants. Its efficacy at neutral and alkaline pH makes it safer for cleaners designed for delicate surfaces, and it’s used in a variety of products, from all-purpose to specialty cleaners like bathroom. With Soltellus™ Polymer, you're not just choosing a cleaning solution, you're opting for a sustainable future, balancing high cleaning efficacy with biodegradability. This makes it an ideal choice for the environmentally conscious consumer.

Lygos Knows How to Make High Performing Cleaners

We’re ready to assist with your cleaner formulation and product development. Get in touch with us to combine our world-class application knowledge, best-in-class chemistry, and strategic partnerships to help accelerate your commercial development. We’re currently offering biodegradable polymer options for automatic dishwasher detergents, laundry detergents, and cleaners with a dedicated path to biobased.

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