The Importance of pH Levels in Commercial Cleaning

When most people clean their domestic premises they’ll try all kinds of products on a variety of surfaces, only paying a cursory glance to the recommended usage guidelines. Use the wrong cleaning product on a table or sofa and there’s a chance you’ll lose a few hundred pounds replacing it, but in the commercial cleaning industry the wrong product could cause thousands of pounds of damage, create a health hazard, and lose you a vital contract in the process.

The suitability of a cleaning product is often closely linked to its pH level, which is a number attributed to substances in order to indicate their acidity or alkalinity. On a scale of 0 to 14 any cleaning products with a pH below 7 are acidic, anything greater than 7 will be an alkali, and anything rated specifically a 7 is pH neutral. If you need to know the general pH of a product, litmus paper is a handy tool for cleaners to keep upon their person.

However, knowing the pH level of a cleaning solution is not even half the battle, as a solution’s high pH is no indicator of its general effectiveness or suitability for the surface at hand. In order to choose the right cleaning product for the job you must know the pH of the spillage or soiling you are about to tackle and use the opposite.

Alkaline Cleaning Solutions

The majority of spills tend to be acidic; therefore an alkaline cleaning solution will neutralise and remove the soiling most efficiently. Alkaline cleaners are commonly used to dissolve fats and oils, hence why the old wives tale of baking soda being such a good multipurpose cleaner has become popular.

Alternatively, if your stain or soiling is alkaline in nature you will need to employ an acid-based product to remove it, but don’t think that this means you’ll burn through anything your product comes into contact with, as many cleaning acids used are no higher than vinegar on the pH scale.

In fact vinegar provides the perfect example of acid use in the home, as its acidic pH level combats calcium deposits to prove a simple and effective kettle de-scaler. But even weak acids can easily damage some treated or hard-surface flooring, with marble flooring’s alkaline pH meaning it is very susceptible to damage from acidic products.

It should also be noted that some substances can actually be both acidic and alkaline depending on when you tackle the stain. Pet urine is acidic when wet but alkaline when dry, so to neutralise it effectively you must take this into account.

Additional factors you must also consider when using professional cleaning products is whether the surface finish could be damaged by acids or alkalis, and whether your industrial cleaning equipment can handle the product at hand.

Clean Sweep UK has extensive experience in tackling stains and spillages using different pH products with a range of different surfaces and machinery, so if you require some expert, friendly advice on which products might be suitable for your next commercial cleaning job contact us today on 0844 967 1930.

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