Cleaning Solution Strength


There are four things that determine the cleaning power or activity of a solution.


1. pH

pH is centered around hydrogen ions in a water base product.

Seven is considered neutral.

Higher than seven is alkaline or base.

Lower than seven is acid.


When talking about water base products that are on the acid side of the pH scale, do not use the term “acid” to your customer. It conjures up images of throwing “acid” against the brick wall and melting it or SMOKE coming off their carpet! Call it low pH neutralizer or low pH rinse, never acid.


The “general rule” is you treat an acid spot with alkaline and alkaline with acid.

Most soil is mildly acid. Most cleaners are alkaline but….there are, now, some very good cleaners as low as 7 pH.

Back in the old days, when soaps were made of pig fat and lye, the higher the alkalinity, the better it worked. Now, with modern synthetic products, high alkalinity is not always necessary, for cleaning..

The further away from seven, the stronger the chemical, on the acid and alkaline side.

Example:  a 10 is a stronger pH than 8; also a 3 is a stronger pH than 6 – it’s the distance from 7 that does it.f


2. Concentration of the ingredients.

Put in enough of the ingredient, to allow it to make a difference in the outcome; to affect the cleaning solution strength.


3. Total alkalinity

A simple explanation. Back in the 1800’s, during a war, the British and French would wear red coats and stand, shooting muskets at each other. The French could be lined up eight men wide and the British could also be lined up eight men wide. They are now equal. Let’s call the eight men, comparable to eight pH in a water base cleaner solution.

Now…the French are not only eight men across but they are six men deep, while the British are eight men deep. They start shooting. People fall. The first row, the second row, the third row, until they are both down to the sixth row. They are still at the same strength; eight men wide. The next row that falls leaves the French with no one standing while the British still have two more rows. This number of rows deep can be compared to total alkalinity. For a time, our two products were equal, until the alkalinity was used up, now the pH drops.

It’s nice to have an idea of what it means as our text books mention it and it’s often skipped.


4. Chemical reactivity - a biggie

If it doesn’t react, chemically, nothing else matters. The product must react with the material you are trying to dissolve. Put a sugar cube in some volatile solvent, which is a great product and see what happens. Nothing! The sugar cube will remain, unaffected. Obviously, volatile solvent has NO chemical reactivity to sugar.

Use something that does.



                MAKE MONEY


                Dennis Klager




Copyright 2012 by Dennis Klager