How pH affects cleaning power
Cleaning products have different cleaning attributes based on the cleaning target, whether the product is designed to clean windows, or is designed for heavy duty degreasing. An attribute that affects all cleaning products is pH. Knowing what the cleaning target is, choosing the correct pH can easily help cleaning performance.
pH is a numerical scale that goes from 0-14. Pure water has a pH of 7 and is said to be neutral. Solutions with a pH lower than 7 are said to be acidic, and solutions with a pH above 7 are said to be alkaline. Each pH unit represents a 10 fold increase in acidic or alkaline strength. For example, a pH of 9 is 10 times more alkaline than the pH of 8, or a pH of 11 is a 1000 times more alkaline than the pH of 8. This is because, mathematically, pH is the negative logarithm of the reciprocal of the hydrogen ion activity in a solution. Below is a pictorial representation of pH.
Why is pH relevant for cleaning? Different pH values will clean specific types of soil.
Neutral Cleaners: These cleaners have a pH between 6-8 and are usually meant for daily cleaning of surfaces with light soil or small particles.
Acidic Cleaners: These cleaners have a pH below 7 and are used for cleaning soils resulting from mineral deposits i.e. hard water exposure. Cleaners with a low pH can also be used to clean toilet bowls, remove soap scum, lime, and grease from surfaces.
Alkaline Cleaners: These cleaners have a pH above 7 and are used for cleaning soils that are oily or greasy. Heavy duty degreasers usually have a pH of 13-14 and can be used to remove heavy grease and oil. General purpose cleaners have a pH between 9-11 and can be used to remove oils, particulates, fats, and proteins.
Understanding how the cleaning product works can help optimize the cleaning task. To find out more information about pH and cleaning power, check out The Power of pH technical bulletin.
For a listing of Multi-Clean cleaning products, please visit Multi-Clean’s Products Webpage.
Thanks for the article. The ph level of different cleaners can be confusing but learning it is essential for anyone in the cleaning business.