In the Beginning
Long ago, someone figured out that when it came to cleaning, old fashioned elbow grease by itself didn’t get it done very effectively. Then came the magic of chemical surfactants that when used in tiny amounts in water, created a powerful cleaning solution. The physics of manual agitation, combined with chemistry transformed the cleaning process.
The Middle Ages
With the industrial revolution, came equipment that could replace manual agitation. Floor buffers, vacuums and other tools made the job easier. When the physics of agitation went from manpower to machine power, chemistry was still needed to insure the equipment worked productively.
Automatic scrubbers as the name implies, truly automated the cleaning of floors. The combined physics of agitation and vacuum recovery allowed for a giant leap in productivity. The need for chemistry was still required, as the poor wetting properties of water could not be overcome by mere physics alone.
Current Affairs.Physics and Chemical Free Cleaning…REALLY?
Tennant Company has an onboard device that claims to electrically convert plain tap water into a cleaner1 and does not require the use of any cleaning chemical. Nilfisk-Advance takes a different approach, allowing the user to clean with only water or variable levels of cleaning chemical2.
- Tennant claims to electrically convert tap water into a cleaner for a short time before it converts back into plain water. However, Tennant has come under fire for some of the marketing claims being made about ec-H2Oâ„¢. Press release from the National Advertising Div. of the Council of Better Business Bureaus: READ PRESS RELEASE
- Nil-Fisk- Advance’s EcoFlex has variable onboard dilution control that allows the user to adjust the amount of chemical to be used in a cleaning process, including using only water. Note: Advance has commissioned and published independent test results that claim that the Tennant H2O cleans no better than plain water READ PRESS RELEASE. Tennant has vigorously refuted these claims.
What to Conclude from all of this?
Does Chemical Free Cleaning sound too good to be true? You probably know the old saying on the answer to that question. Progress with machines and chemicals has made cleaning more effective, productive and safer. But to achieve a truly clean surface, physics and chemistry must work together! The Equation of Clean!