Close this search box.

The Science of Stain Removal: Understanding How Cleaning Agents Work

Stains take many shapes and sizes and can be caused by any number of foreign contaminants. What makes it difficult is that not every stain can be cleaned the same way. While Britex’s range of cleaning products, including the 3in1 Deep Cleaning Machine and Everyday Range, are designed to tackle even the hardiest of stains, there can still be challenges with particularly stubborn stains. Today, we want to look at the types of stains that exist and how to clean them.

Different Types of Stains

The first step to understanding stain removal is to understand the chemical make up of various stains.

Organic Stains

Organic stains originate from organic materials, such as food and bodily fluids like blood. These stains are composed of molecules containing carbon and hydrogen primarily. They are often made up of proteins, fats and carbohydrates: naturally occurring nutrients that can prove quite difficult to remove.

Inorganic Stains

Inorganic stains, on the other hand, come from non-living sources like ink and oil. They consist of compounds lacking carbon-hydrogen bonds, such as metals, minerals, and salts. Oftentimes, these stains can comprise various chemicals as well, proving challenging to combat and requiring different treatments for successful removal.

How Cleaning Agents Work

Now that we know about more about the composition of these stains, it’s important to know how cleaning products work.


Surfactants are compounds that reduce the surface tension between two substances, such as a stain and the material it’s on. They play a crucial role in lifting stains by loosening them from the surface, allowing them to be more easily washed away. Surfactants are commonly found in detergents and soaps.


Solvents are substances capable of dissolving other substances. In the context of cleaning, solvents work by breaking down the molecular bonds within stains, causing them to disperse or dissolve into the solvent. This makes the stains easier to remove from surfaces. Common solvents include water, alcohol, and mineral spirits.


Enzymes are biological molecules that catalyse chemical reactions. In cleaning agents, enzymes are used to break down specific types of stains, particularly organic stains like those from food and bodily fluids. Each enzyme targets a specific type of stain by accelerating the natural chemical processes that break down the stain molecules into smaller, more manageable components. This process makes the stains easier to remove during the cleaning process.


The reality is that you don’t need to know the science behind how cleaners work to use them… you just need to keep everything clean! At Britex, we’ve done all the hard work to ensure that our products can help remove all of your common household stains.

The Britex Cleaning Calendar

We understand how challenging it can be to keep your house neat, tidy, and free of germs. However, cleaning shouldn’t be a hassle. A few