Ajax and Comet are two of the household cleaning market’s leading powder cleansers. In this article, we will be comparing the two brands, and how they hold up in terms of efficiency, uses, price, chemical makeup, and environmental impact. Over the years, these two brands have become household names and familiar to mist families, making that all important choice between the two that more difficult. Before we compare the products, and really get down to the nitty gritty of Ajax vs Comet, we have to ask ourselves…
What are powdered cleansers used for?
In simple terms, scouring powders like Ajax and Comet are a primarily household cleaning product consisting of an abrasive powder mixed with a dry soap, soda, or often bleach (both Ajax and Comet cleansers come with bleach). 9 times out of 10, scouring powders are used in the bathroom or the kitchen. They clean those tricky encrusted deposits on hard surfaces such as pots and pans, baking trays, grills, ceramic tiles, as well as bathroom sinks, bathtubs, and toilet bowls. Think of these scouring powders as that extra bit of chemical muscle needed for the more textured and resilient stains!
How do powdered cleansers work?
The use of abrasive powders in the art of cleaning can be traced right back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Various powdered concoctions have been used to eliminate grease and other hard stains for literally thousands of years. In ancient Rome, people even used to bathe with a fine sand powder mixed with oil to act as an efficient cleanser. Modern powdered cleansers like Ajax and Comet are intended to be rubbed repeatedly over the surface with a small amount of water. This removes the dirt/stain by mechanical action, which is eventually washed away, along with the remnants of the powder by rinsing with water.
What is in my powdered cleanser?
Later in this article we will be exploring the chemical makeup of both Ajax and Comet specifically. However, as a general rule, a typical household scouring powder consists of 80% insoluble abrasive powder, 18% soluble base, and 2% detergent/bleach. The hard abrasives are perfect for removing tougher stains, but should be used with caution, as some can be strong enough to scratch glass or metal. The soluble base has one job and one job only; to break down any fatty substances found on the targeted cleaning area. Finally the detergent and bleach components are used to remove greasy elements and release chlorine respectively.
Now that we have a general overview of powdered cleansers, it’s to pitch two of the markets leading brands against each other. First up, let’s see how Ajax fairs up…
Ajax Powdered Cleanser with Bleach was first introduced onto the market by parent company Colgate-Palmolive all the way back in 1947. In the 60s and 70s, sales of the Ajax cleaning range soared in the United States, as it became the first major competitor to Procter and Gamble’s Mr. Clean. Over the past 7 decades it has become quite literally a household name, receiving generally favoured and revered reviews by users online.
Its chemical makeup consists of Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Dodecyl Benzene Sulfonate, Soda Ash, Trichlorocyanuric Acid (Detergent), Fragrance, and Dye. It comes in 14 oz, 21 oz, and 28 oz canisters.
Interestingly, while the product is not available on shelves in some parts of the world such as the United Kingdom, its availability on Amazon has hundreds of European residents using and praising the product. Two recent reviews from people based in the United Kingdom said there was ‘not a modern cleaner that can touch it’ and that it’s ‘an amazing compound that cannot be beaten when it comes to shifting stains and cleaning floors’.
Ajax Powder Cleanser is a top-of-the-range heavy duty cleaner, with more than enough ability to tackle stubborn stains, and leave sinks, kitchen surfaces, utensils, and floors sparkling clean with minimal effort.
The Comet brand was originally introduced 65 years ago, in 1965 by Proctor and Gamble. The scouring powder and other Comet range products were sold to Prestige Brands in 2001, and are now manufactured by KIK Custom Products Inc. since 2018.
Comet recently revamped its manufacturing and chemical breakdown. The results (they say) make Comet the best cleaner for problems all around the house. They boast that this new and improved Comet powder cleanser has 50% more cleaning power than the original Comet range dating back to the 60s. It’s all-purpose cleaner can work away tough stains and deodorize porcelain, stainless steel, fiberglass, Corian®* solid surfaces, natural marble, and glazed ceramic tile without scratching.
The chemical makeup of Comet consists of Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Hydroxide, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Linear Alkylbenzenesulfonate Surfactant, Trichloro-s-triazinetrione (Bleach), Trichloroisocyanuric Acid (Detergent), Fragrance, and Dye. It comes in 17 oz, 21 oz, and 25 oz canisters.
Users of Comet on Amazon are quick to point out its effectiveness in the bathroom, particulate with ceramic sinks and bathtubs. In a similar fashion to Ajax, many customers marvel at how easy and little elbow grease is required to remove tough stains with this product. Again, it is a household name and a heavy duty cleaner that particular shines for toilets, sinks, and floors at an affordable price.
In this section we will take a brief look at the do’s and don’ts of these products, and how they are best used for around-the-house cleaning.
Choosing between Ajax and Comet powder cleansers is like choosing between a Porsche and a Ferrari. Both are established, celebrated, good to look at, easy to use, fast, and most importantly get the job done well. The Ajax and Comet ranges have stood as pantheons of household cleaning for the past 60 years, and have become irreplaceable staples in household across the world. Choosing between the two will likely come down to personal preference, budget, availability in your area, and simply the scent they leave behind.
Here at Cleaning King, we believe the new and improved Comet powder cleanser might just take the edge on Ajax. Comet has always been proficient in cleaning bathroom utilities such as toilets, ceramic sinks, and bathtubs. However, the new and improved Comet, which boasts a 50% better cleaning experience than ever before, works fantastically well on kitchen items and floors. Comet’s bleach function is also a thing of wonder, leaving sinks and toilets looking almost brand new with minimal fuss. Finally, Comet’s fragrance is similar to sweet lemon, an aroma that we at the Cleaning King team think is a perfect match for a bathroom or kitchen. The scent is subtle, and less powerful than Ajax’s cedar pine smell, which can often be overpowering and gives off a hint of bleach.
You simply cannot go wrong with either of these products in your cleaning cupboard, but for the sake of the new and improved recipe, it’s improved performance on kitchenware, and the delightful citrus scent it leaves behind, we at Cleaning King are crowning Comet the winner of this head-to-head.
No. As mentioned above, under no circumstances should you mix these products with bleach, or any other household or industrial strength cleaning products. Mixing cleaning products containing bleach or other oxygenates (such as Ajax and Comet) with products that contain ammonia or acid is dangerous and can lead to nauseating fumes and acidic concoctions.
In terms of safety, Ajax and Comet are obviously not to be consumed first and foremost. They can cause eye irritation if in contact with the face, and in some cases skin irritation if left in contact with the skin for too long. Here at Cleaning King, our advice would be to wear protective cleaning gloves when using these strong products, and not to touch your face or eye region until you have washed your hands post-clean.
While the desired effect of powder cleansers is to remove dirt and greasy stains. The reality is that the detergent and bleach ingredients in the products is effective against germs and bacteria. However, it should be noted this is not the intended use of the product, and that anti-bacterial sprays and wipes are the more targeted and specific product for that particular problem.
Ajax and Comet are intended for use on pots and pans, porcelain, bathroom fixtures, ceramic tiles, and even on outdoor items like barbeque grills and garbage cans. They are not a substitute for washing up liquid for use on everyday kitchen items.