Cleaning & pH Simplified

Cleaning & pH – Simplified

What exactly is cleaning?   Cleaning is the act of locating, identifying, containing, removing and properly disposing of unwanted matter, also known as soil.

  • Cleaning means to remove unwanted soils.

If you want to understand what exactly cleaning is then you need to know that pH is the acidity or alkalinity of a water-based solution.

  • pH is the acidity or alkalinity of a water-based solution.

Usually, we clean with the opposite pH of the soil we want to remove so if we want to remove an acidic soil we use an alkaline cleaning product and if we want to remove an alkaline soil we use an acidic cleaning product.

  • We clean, usually, with the opposite pH of the soil we want to remove.

Most of the soils that residential cleaning technicians deal with are acidic, such as body oils and animal fats so most household cleaning products are alkaline.

  • Most household soils are acidic so most household cleaning products are alkaline

The alkalinity attacks fatty & oily soils, breaking them down so they are easier to remove from the surface.  Some examples of common household cleaning products that are alkaline are:

  • Clorox® Toilet Bowl Cleaner – with Bleach (12.50-13.50)
  • Easy-Off® Fume Free Max Oven Cleaner (12.50)
  • Fantastik® Original Disinfectant All Purpose Cleaner (11.75)
  • Clorox® Regular Bleach (11.40)
  • Mr. Clean® Multi-Purpose Spray Cleaner Lemon Scent (11.00)
  • Lysol® Disinfecting Wipes (10.50)
  • Windex® Original Glass Cleaner (10.70)
  • Mr. Clean® All-Purpose Cleaner (9.00-10.00)
  • Dawn® Ultra Dishwashing Liquid, Original Scent (9.00 – 9.20)

We use acid-based cleaners to attack alkaline soils such as soap scum or hard water buildup so you often see acidic cleaners being used in bathrooms.  Some examples of common household cleaning products that are acidic are:

  • Swiffer® WetJet® Mr. Clean® (6.00-8.00)
  • Weiman® Glass Cook Top Heavy-Duty Cleaner (4.20-5.00)
  • Original Pine-Sol® Squirt ‘N Mop Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner (3.00-4.00)
  • Original Pine-Sol® Multi Surface Cleaner (2.10-2.60)
  • CLR Pro® Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover (2.10 -2.30)
  • LYSOL® Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner (<1.00)

What is interesting is that you can have toilet bowl cleaner that is highly alkaline and toilet bowl cleaner that is highly acidic:

  • Clorox® Toilet Bowl Cleaner – with Bleach (12.50-13.50)
  • LYSOL® Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner (<1.00)

In a toilet bowl there can be soils that are alkaline and soils that are acidic, thus we need either an alkaline or acidic toilet bowl cleaner depending on the soil type.

The key is to know the pH of the soil you are trying to remove so that you can make the right choice on what cleaning product to use.   As well, you want to know about the surface you are removing the soil from as you want a cleaning product to be acidic enough or alkaline enough to remove he soil but not damage the surface.

  • Know the pH of the soil you want to remove.

pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral (neither acidic nor alkaline).  Anything less than 7 is acidic and anything greater than 7 is alkaline. The further away from 7 a cleaning solution moves then the stronger a solution it becomes.  A pH reading of 2 is a stronger acid than a pH reading of 5.

  • The further away from pH 7 the stronger acid or alkaline it is.

However, the scale is logarithmic which means that each number is 10 times stronger than the previous one.   This means there is a huge difference in strength between a pH 10 and a pH 12.  In fact, it is 100 times stronger!

  • A 1-unit increase in pH increased the concentration ten-fold.

When cleaning it is important to understand some of the basics, including how pH works so that you can select the best product for the job.

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Motivated Maids Inc.

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