Is Your Cleaning Program pH balanced?

phIn the world of cleaning products, there are many options for ensuring an efficient housekeeping department. But how many is too many? The typical housekeeping department spends roughly 3-10% of its budget on cleaning chemicals.

Facility managers should have a full understanding of how chemicals work and how they affect not only the workers;  but also the surfaces on which they are being used.  The best mechanism in doing this, is to identify your top five dominate products in use.

The top five in a cleaning program is:

  • Floor Finish
  • Stripper
  • General Detergent
  • Disinfectant
  • Hand Cleaner

The acidity or alkalinity of these chemicals is identified as pH, which is used to indicate the presence of hydrogen ions.  This scale reflects a numerical value of 0-14. Zero being the strongest acid, Neutral at 7 and 14 being the strongest caustic alkaline. Identifying the pH of the soil is the first step in cleaning and another critical component in selecting a cleaner based on pH is how fast it needs to work.

Most cleaning chemicals are alkaline in nature, and factors such as time, agitation and temperature play essential roles in the cleaning process. The higher the pH level, the more corrosive the cleaner and the more damage it will do to pH sensitive fibers and dyes; hot temperatures employed in steam cleaning, together with higher alkalinity, makes it even worse. It is important to clean with products that have the opposite pH of the soil. Today, most cleaning products are formulated at more neutral pH levels and are considered safer for people, surfaces, and the environment.

Bulk purchasing is considered cost efficient. The disadvantage to this may mean having to store chemicals for extended period of time, which ties resources and space. Another disadvantage is “Shelf Life.” The rule of thumb is to dispose of any cleaning solution not used for more than two years. Chemical instability occurs leading to ingredient deterioration which impacts the products effectiveness. To ensure optimum use of resources, it is paramount to have a good inventory system in place as well as establishing par levels. These actions are an effective way to remain pH balanced in your cleaning program.

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