Aqueous-based cleaners are most like detergents. They create sudsy pockets that help lift and remove contaminants and greases. Aqueous-based cleaners are designed to enhance the cleaning ability of water.
They typically contain a surface-active agent that not only helps eliminate soils by dissolving contaminants, but they also chemically react with those pollutants to help them become more dissolvable in water.
Many aqueous cleaners have options that add in detergents, emulsifiers, inhibitors, anti-foaming agents, PH buffers, builders, deflocculants, and chelating agents to help clean different levels of soil and different types of substrates.