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Consider just NH3 and C3H8O (isopropyl alcohol) for their cleaning ability, in liquid form, on common hard surfaces (glass, aluminum, stainless steel, finished wood, PETE, etc). The action is just soaking and wiping with a towel, repeatedly.

What's the best example of a "preferred hard surface" (i.e., the other cleaner would not work as well) for each cleaner?

I was thinking that the contaminant on the surface can be any greasy thing, but maybe it's more complicated, so feel free to instead give a "preferred contaminant plus hard surface".

The goal here is basically to understand the simplest cleaners since I never know which to use. Memorizing a simple list might help me.

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Ammonia:

The ammonia, also known as ammonium hydroxide (NH4OH), is an aqueous solution containing ammonia gas (NH3).

Ammonia is available for sale in supermarkets and hypermarkets

What to clean with ammonia?
fingernails varnish

Ammonia is a useful detergent to a large amount of stains. It removes stains of:

Blood
Wine
Transpiration
Fruits,
Wax
Varnish,
And many others.

It can be used on:

All tissue types except silk and wool,
rugs and carpets,
wallpaper,
dishes and windows,
electrical appliances,
floors and walls (except cement and concrete)
plastics,
wood.

Precautions for use of ammonia:

Ammonia is a hazardous material that must be used with care:

Read the instructions carefully.
Wear protective gloves.
Do not breathe its irritating odor.
Open the window.
Always dilute ammonia in a large quantity of water.
Keep the ammonia out of the reach of children and pets.
On fragile materials, first test its effect on an invisible part.

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  • is there a hard surface which ammonia is bad for? is there a hard surface which isopropyl alcohol is clearly better for?
    – bobuhito
    Sep 20, 2014 at 12:25

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