Understanding the how and why of cleaning product chemistry will help eliminate the guesswork when choosing the best solution for your cleaning needs. Although seemingly a simple matter, cleaning involves many variables. Some can be controlled, others not. For the best result, we need to utilize as many variables as possible. To better understand the chemistry of cleaning products we first need to look at the problem of soil and its removal.
Soil can be anything foreign to the basic construction of an item, be it carpet or hard flooring. Examples of soil include: sand, dirt, hair, food spills, oil, urine and a never ending list of possibilities.
Most soil is tracked or brought in on people’s shoes, clothes, boxes, or in their hands. Others are generated as a by-product of some activity taking place on or near the soiled floor type.
Some of these activities include but are not limited to:
Soil found in both residential and commercial settings can be classified as either “dry particulate matter” or as “all other”.
Most soil is considered dry particulate matter. It's categorized as being “solid” and is:
The “all other” type of soil is categorized as being “fluid” and is:
This type of soil is mostly acidic by nature. For this reason most cleaning product chemistry is on the alkaline side of the pH scale Alkaline cleaners neutralize this acid condition to increase soil removal.
The principles of cleaning soil consist of 4 major steps.
Step 1: Dry Soil Removal
Step 2: Soil Suspension
The four fundamentals which determine how efficiently soil suspension occurs are:
We can use the acronym T.A.C.T. as a way to remember these 4 fundamentals. The T.A.C.T fundamentals of cleaning product chemistry are represented as a pie with 4 equal slices.
Each cleaning situation determines the size of each pie slice. Anytime you decrease one of the pie slices (fundamentals) you must increase another pie slice to keep the overall pie (cleaning efficiency) as large as possible.
Step 3: Soil Removal
Step 4: Drying
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