Chemistry in Cleaning

I thought that rather than talking process, I would talk chemistry. There are evidently a lot of ways to look at the world of cleaning. Since everything in this world is a chemical, why not talk about chemicals? First, I will start with the basic stuff and move forward from there. The pH scale. We all know it exists, we all have a general idea of how things work. What do we not all know? Every single step on the pH scale means ten times the prior level. That means that if something is at 5 on the pH scale, as soon as it moves to 4 on the pH scale it is ten times more acidic. Even more importantly, when things move to 3 on the pH scale they are 100 times more acidic they were at 5, and so on. The same holds true on the other side of the scale as well. If there is one thing that I know, it’s that despite the time that a safety data sheet takes to read, you can save a lot of heartache and health concerns just by avoiding mixing something from one side of the pH scale with something from the other. In fact never mix any chemicals, if you’ve kept up with my blog, you know that already.
The best way to reinforce this is to tell the story of how this effected one cleaner. In 1986 (just before the advent of the Material Safety Data Sheet) my Father’s best friend was cleaning a washroom that hadn’t been cleaned properly for years. He asked one of our staffers what she would recommend. Armed with a quart of bowl cleaner he went off to his job site with scrub sponges and gloves in hand (yes that was the solution 30 plus years ago). This was 23% hydrochloric acid bowl cleaner. Scary stuff. After three hours of scrubbing he was 90% of the way to where he needed to be. Things just seemed a bit dull. He headed out to the grocery store as it was after 5:00pm to get a gallon of bleach. Granted he was young, but if he had read either label he would have a week of his life back. Immediately after washing the first wall with the lightly diluted bleach water solution he was overcome with mustard gas like fumes. Two weeks after that he was back to almost normal. The moral of the story: Education and Health and Safety should always be first on every cleaner’s mind. If you want more info ask us, we have lots more!

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