• Oil is prevented from moving into sensitive environments or standing onshore. This eliminates or reduces damage to important coastal habitats, marine life or coastal facilities (biologically sensitive shoreline environments)
  • Small chemically dispersed oil droplets not prone to re-coalescing. This means that treated oil is unlikely to form tar balls or patties.
  • Reduces risk to birds & mammals (seabirds & fur-bearing marine mammals). The oil interferes with animal’s ability to maintain body temperature, thus causing death due to hypothermia. With the oil being dispersed, there is less or no effect on birds and mammals.
  • Oil concentrations are extremely low and dilute quickly in ocean. This limits the overall impact to sensitive environmental resources


  • Dispersion process moves oil from surface to water column. This exposes water column & near shore shallow bottom-dwelling organisms to oil.
  • Both dispersants and dispersed oil particles are toxic to some marine organisms
  • Effectiveness of dispersant is dependant on type of oil spilled, weather conditions & how quickly the dispersant is applied onto oil slick.
  • Has to be mixed with oil & water: Some energy required for effective dispersion
  • Heavier oils or highly emulsified oils are less amenable to successful dispersion

Surface Washing Agents


  • Work best with light oils
  • Can remove even light sheens
  • Treated oil is less flammable
  • Likely to be used by trained individuals in specific response conditions.
  • Manual recovery from effective containment should be straight forward


  • Reduced effectiveness with emulsified, viscous oils due to poor mixing
  • Reduced effectiveness with low temperatures due to increased oil viscosity
  • Require training in proper use of new products
  • General broadcasting of loose material could be a problem in open areas and in high wind conditions that would inhibit effective containment and recovery
  • Effective containment is an issue-especially in conditions of currents, tides, and wind. Recovery of all material from the environment is highly desirable due to product persistence.

Bioremediation Agents


  • Bacteria consumes oil till there is no residue left
  • Bioremediation agents stimulate bacteria that is already present
  • Helpful in treating spills in clean environments such as untainted streams that lack nutrients (i.e. oxygen & nitrogen)
  • Increasing the amount of bacteria is safe because after they finish the task of eating the oil, they simply expire.
  • Increasing the amount of microorganisms can degrade oil spills more rapidly


  • The nature of the hydrocarbons: different hydrocarbons are easier to break down.
  • The availability of nutrients: biodegradation requires oxygen & nitrogen from nitrates
  • Biodegradation is a slow process & often remains incomplete, particularly with heavy oil
  • Not a good choice to clean up oil spills due to inability to degrade large volumes of oil
  • Only useful as finishing technique to remove residual oil
  • Employed at various stages of the oil spill cleanup rather than the main cleaning agent

11 Responses to “Advantages and Disadvantages of Cleaning Agents”

  1. heba Says:

    Rich and informative .Well done ! You inspired me as I’m working on this topic for my school project :)

  2. Alex Says:

    Same – the hard work is appreciated! (Though I realize you probably won’t see this because you’ve at least graduated by now :P )

  3. Eewei Says:

    Yeah this is pretty far behind us now. Glad it helped though :)

  4. Baba ahmad mohammad Says:

    Need much more about cleaning

  5. Melissa Says:

    may i ask what’s the meaning of sheens?

  6. THE BOMB Says:


  7. Nick Says:

    YO Yo Yo

  8. Aminu zanna Says:

    very nice..! keep up guys

  9. thanks! guys .. but i need more :)

  10. onifade Tolani Says:

    Thanks guys nice one

  11. Zidan Zuber Says:

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