MadScientist

“Cleaning should protect your health first, the structure and contents of the home.” From the beginning of time human beings have been cleaning the environment around them. Cleaning methods and cleaning tools have remained much the same until in innovation of the vacuum around the 1900’s. Cleaning is the act of locating, identifying, containing, removing and properly disposing of unwanted matter also known as soil.

Clients are under the impression that most cleaning people are knowledgeable about cleaning and have some formal education on the chemistry of cleaning product, materials being cleaned and equipment they use. Most of what Cleaning Technicians do involves chemistry.

Some of the products being used to clean you home are actually damaging your surfaces or home interior without you or the cleaner even knowing it. This is why Sparkles Maid Services has made a concision decision to become HCT certified. A true professional has expert knowledge and continues to update that knowledge. Cleaning your home or business should not be taking lightly. It is more than just cleaning your home & business, its about your health and protecting your contents.

Some important definitions to help you understand the language of Chemistry of Cleaning:

Chelate –a chemical compound that binds metals and removes them from solutions

Chelating agents –agents used to cause hard-water ions to form water-soluble chelates that do not interfere with the actions of detergents. These agents can interact with the minerals in natural stones.

Chemical –a combination of two or more elements.

Chelate –a chemical compound that binds metals and removes them from solutions

Chelating agents –agents used to cause hard-water ions to form water-soluble chelates that do not interfere with the actions of detergents. These agents can interact with the minerals in natural stones.

Chemical –a combination of two or more elements.

Mixture –two or more components place together that do not interact chemically.

Emulsion –a mixture in which a substance is broken down and dispersed throughout a carrier such as water, often through detergents.

Solution –a molecular mixture of two substances, usually a solid and a liquid, that combines without chemical change (loss or gain of an ion).

Solvent –a chemical compound that binds metals and removes them from solutions

Dry solvent –agents used to cause hard-water ions to form water-soluble chelates that do not interfere with the actions of detergents. These agents can interact with the minerals in natural stones.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) –a combination of two or more elements.

Hard Water –two or more components place together that do not interact chemically.

Soft Water –a mixture in which a substance is broken down and dispersed throughout a carrier such as water, often through detergents.

pH –a molecular mixture of two substances, usually a solid and a liquid, that combines without chemical change (loss or gain of an ion).

Soap –a mixture in which a substance is broken down and dispersed throughout a carrier such as water, often through detergents.

Synthetic Detergents –a molecular mixture of two substances, usually a solid and a liquid, that combines without chemical change (loss or gain of an ion).

Certain Classes of Cleaning Agents:

Degreasers –have a relatively high pH (11.5 to 13) and larger concentrations of co-solvents. Great for grease cutting and on build-up grime (Can damage the protective coating on brass and other fixture as well as break down floor finishes)

General Cleaners –most commonly used for daily or weekly cleaning. With pH ranges from 8 to 10, they are generally safe for most surfaces.

Neutral Cleaner –very close to neutral pH of 7 (Can be used as general cleaners, but are designed for pH – sensitive materials. Cleaner of choice for finished floors such as Commercial Vinyl Tile (VCT) and natural stone unfortunately not great grease cutters).

Glass Cleaner –range considerably in both pH and solvent make-up, from powerful ammoniated grease- and grime-cutters to more lubricants. (Commonly contain one or more agents, often alcohols, to help them dry streak-free)

Hydrogen Peroxide –based cleaners – combine hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) with a surfactant and various other components. Hydrogen peroxide is a mild oxidizing agent. (It helps break down complex molecules, making it easier for the surfactant to lift them into solutions. Can cause undesirable bleaching because hydrogen breaks down into oxygen or O2 and water, it is considered a “GREEN” cleaner).

Enzyme Cleaners –enzymes are protein molecules produced by living organisms to facilitate functions such as digestion. There are several groups of enzymes, each directed toward different substances, e.g. proteins, starches and fats. These enzymes help break down complex molecules, making it easier to get them into a solution.

Acid-based Cleaners –we generally referring to cleaning agents in which the main cleaning effect is from the cleaner’s acidity. This includes many bathroom cleaners as well as vinegar. These cleaners do a great job of dissolving soap scum and hard water deposits like calcium carbonate. (Never use acid cleaners on calcium carbonate-based stone such as MARLE, LIMESTONE, and TRAVERTINE as they will also dissolve the stone, causing pitting, etching or dulling).

Bleaches –Though both technically cleaners, bleaches change the chemical composition of soil through oxidation, making soil seem to disappear by rendering it colorless or causing it to fade. (This is NOT the same as cleaning, which is the removal or unwanted matter)

Two main types of bleaches:

  • Reducing Bleaches – alter stains by removing oxygen from the stain molecule. (They are not, however, commonly used in house cleaning due to the fact that they are not self-neutralizing and can cause color loss on surfaces)

  • Oxidizing Bleaches – usually means chlorine bleach. These work by adding oxygen or chlorine to a stain.

  • Sodium Perborate – normally sold as all fabric bleach or as one of the many “oxi” cleaning powers on the market. It is a weak powder bleach that releases hydrogen peroxide when mixed with water.

  • ydrogen Peroxide – used both straight and as a additive in many cleaners. A weak to moderate oxidizing bleach depending on its dilution strength. The molecule is basically water with an extra oxygen atom, H2O, making it unstable and willing to give up its extra oxygen to combine with something else.

  • Sodium Hypochlorite – more commonly known as chlorine beach or just bleach. Has been used for years as a whitener and disinfectant. This has given rise to misconceptions about the effectiveness and safety of using chlorine bleach. It is also inactivated by organic matter. (The use of chlorine bleach is controlled under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

Solvents are normally classified as:
  • Volatile – alter stains by removing oxygen from the stain molecule. (They are not, however, commonly used in house cleaning due to the fact that they are not self-neutralizing and can cause color loss on surfaces)

  • Non-volatile – usually means chlorine bleach. These work by adding oxygen or chlorine to a stain.

Disinfectants and Sanitizers

Agents are strictly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Terminology:
  • Sanitizers – reduce, but not necessarily eliminate, microorganisms from the inanimate environment to levels considered safe as determined by public health rules or regulation.

  • Disinfectants –used on hard inanimate surfaces to kill or inactivate at least 99.9 percent of disease-producing microorganisms, but not necessarily their spores.

  • Sterilizers (sporicides) –destroy or eliminate all forms of microbial life, including fungi, viruses and all forms or bacteria and their spores.

  • Growth inhibitors (bacteriostats, fungistats)-treat surfaces to related future microbial or fungal growth

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