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Historic Preservation - Technical Procedures

Spectitle:

Types Of Cleaning Detergents

Procedure code:

0451007S

Source:

Floor Maintenance Materials: Their Choice & Uses/Edwards

Division:

Masonry

Section:

Masonry Cleaning

Last Modified:

02/24/2012

Details:

Types Of Cleaning Detergents



TYPES OF CLEANING DETERGENTS


This standard includes general information on the different types
of cleaning detergents, their typical uses, and their advantages
and limitations.  Sample products are listed when known.


SOAP

Uses:
1.   A surfactant (Surface Active Agent).
2.   Soaps are produced from naturally occurring fats and oils.
    Soapless or synthetic detergents are manufactured from organic
    chemicals usually derived from petroleum.

Advantages:
1.   Very effective as a bactericide.
2.   It will form gels, emulsify oil and lower the surface tension
    of water.  A lower surface tension allows the soap to come in
    contact with greater surface area than with water alone.

Disadvantages:
1.   When used in hard water, soap can produce a scum - calcium and
    magnesium salts present in hard water react with the soap to
    cause this to happen.  Soapless or synthetic detergents do not
    leave a residual film behind.
2.   Considerable rinsing is required to remove soap scum.
3.   Soap may produce a greasy build-up on the surface which can be
    slippery.
4.   More expensive than synthetic detergents.

Sample Products:
1.   "Joy", "Ivory" (Procter & Gamble Co.)


ANIONIC DETERGENTS

Uses:
1.   Commonly known as a "neutral" detergent.
2.   The most widely used soapless detergent.
3.   Available in both liquid or powder.
4.   Manufactured from strong alkalis and weak acids.
5.   Effectiveness is even greater when combined with a non-ionic
    detergent.
6.   These detergents produce foam when used in excess quantities
    and, therefore, should only be used in the recommended
    amounts.

Advantages:
1.   Safe for use on all floors and should not affect any pigment
    present in the floor covering.
2.   Can safely be used on waxed or unwaxed floors or floors
    treated with a water emulsion floor wax or solvent-based wax.
3.   Can be used in conjunction with mopping equipment or a
    polishing/scrubbing machine.
4.   More effective than non-ionic detergents in the wetting of
    metal surfaces.
5.   Very effective in removing inorganic dirt and soil.
6.   Greater dirt carrying capacity than non-ionic detergents.
7.   Fairly inexpensive.

Disadvantages:
1.   Not very effective in hard water.
2.   More difficult to rinse than non-ionic detergents.
3.   Produces considerable foam.

Sample Products:
1.   Natural soaps


NON-IONIC DETERGENTS

Uses:
1.   These detergents do not ionize or carry a charge when
    dissolved in water.
2.   They are manufactured from alkalis and acids of equal
    strengths and are, therefore, neither alkaline or acid.  They
    have a pH value of 7.
3.   Compatible with many ingredients and can, therefore, be
    included in a wide variety of formulations.
4.   Acts as a foam booster when combined with other detergents
    such as anionic detergents.

Advantages:
1.   Safe for use on all surfaces.
2.   Produce less foam than anionic detergents.
3.   Because of their low foam characteristics, they may be
    effectively used in conjunction with scrubbing machines or
    other cleaning equipment.
4.   Easier to rinse.
5.   More effective for use in hard water than anionic detergents.
6.   Very effective for removing oils and grease.

Disadvantages:
1.   Less effective than anionic detergents in the wetting of metal
    surfaces.
2.   Generally more expensive than anionic detergents.
3.   Mostly available in liquid form.

Sample Products:
1.   "Orvus" (Procter & Gamble Co.)
2.   "Joy" or "Ivory Liquid" (Procter & Gamble Co.)
3.   "Zyfo" (Industrial Soap Co.) cleaner concentrate, a controlled
    suds, silicate buffered, non-ionic, rinseless-type synthetic
    detergent, containing no soap, free alkali, solvents,
    abrasives, acids, caustics or the like.
4.   "Igepal 630" (GAF Corporation)


CATIONIC DETERGENTS

Uses:
1.   These detergents carry a positive charge when dissolved in
    water.
2.   Manufactured from weak alkalis and strong acids.  They are
    acidic in nature with a pH value less than 7.

Advantages:
1.   Have low-foam characteristics.
2.   These detergents carry anti-static properties and are
    effective in repelling dust.  The positive charge in a
    cationic solution repels the positive charge carried by dust
    in the atmosphere.  
3.   Very effective as a bactericide, disinfectant and deodorizer.

Disadvantages:
1.   More expensive than anionic and non-ionic detergents.
2.   Used alone, these detergents are very ineffective.  They are
    usually combined with non-ionic detergents for better cleaning
    effectiveness.
3.   These detergents CANNOT be blended with anionic detergents, as
    each will cancel the other out, rendering the detergent
    completely ineffective.

Sample Products:
1.   Dish- and hand-washing soaps


AMPHOTERIC DETERGENTS

Uses:
1.   Also called ampholitic detergents.
2.   These detergents have both acidic and alkaline properties.
3.   Mainly used in specialty formulations.
4.   Limited quantities are used in shampoos, medicated liquid
    soaps and aerosol shampoos.

Advantages:
1.   These are greatly affected by changes in pH.  They behave like
    anionic detergents at pH values greater or equal to 8.  They
    behave like non-ionic detergents at pH values between 8 and 6.
    They behave like cationic detergents at a pH below 4.
    NOTE:  AT A HIGH PH, DETERGENCY POWERS ARE INCREASED; AT A LOW
    PH, DETERGENCY POWERS ARE REDUCED.
2.   Non-toxic, non-irritating, germicidal and compatible with
    anionic, non-ionic and cationic detergents.

Disadvantages:
1.   Fairly expensive.


ALKALINE DETERGENTS

Uses:

1.   Alkaline detergents are water-soluble alkalis having detergent
    properties, but containing no soap.
2.   Usually range in pH from 9 to 12.5.
3.   Used in applications where a strong detergent is required such
    as removing water emulsion waxes, scuff marks and heavy
    accumulations of dirt.
4.   Generally used for "hard surface" cleaning.
5.   High alkalinity is important in saponifying fats and
    neutralizing acids found in many types of dirt.
6.   They are the most used of all cleaning materials.
7.   Some materials used in formulating alkaline detergents include
    sodium carbonate, trisodium phosphate, sodium silicate, sodium
    tripolyphosphate and to a lesser extent, sodium bicarbonate,
    sodium sulphate and certain silicates.

    CAUTION:  TAKE PRECAUTIONS WHEN USING ALKALINE DETERGENTS ON
    LINOLEUM.  THESE DETERGENTS CAN REMOVE THE LINSEED OIL
    COMPONENT IN LINOLEUM AND ADVERSELY AFFECT THE WOOD FLOUR
    COMPONENT.

Advantages:
1.   They remove a wider range of dirt and soil than any other type
    of detergent.
2.   Economical.
3.   Can be used with a wide variety of cleaning equipment.
4.   Low foam properties in the better alkaline detergents.

Disadvantages:
1.   DO NOT ALLOW to remain in contact with the skin for any length
    of time.  Wear rubber gloves.
2.   Alkaline detergents may remove water emulsion floor waxes.
3.   Alkaline detergents may also affect pigment by causing it to
    fade or yellow.
4.   Some alkaline cleaners (especially those containing sodium
    hydroxide) may tend to form soluble salts which crystalize as
    efflorescence on the surface.
5.   Alkaline detergents must be rinsed thoroughly in order to
    prevent a white powdery residue from remaining on the surface.
6.   Multiple applications may cause damage to the surface.
7.   Contact of bronze or copper with alkaline cleaners will cause
    the metals to corrode.

Sample Products:
1.   Most common is Trisodium Phosphate (TSP):
    NOTE:  THIS CHEMICAL IS BANNED IN SOME STATES SUCH AS
    CALIFORNIA.  REGULATORY INFORMATION AS WELL AS ALTERNATIVE OR
    EQUIVALENT CHEMICALS MAY BE REQUESTED FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL
    PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) REGIONAL OFFICE AND/OR THE STATE
    OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY.
    a.   Strong base-type powdered cleaning material sold under
         brand names.
    b.   Other chemical or common names include Sodium
         Orthophosphate; Tribasic sodium phosphate; Trisodium
         orthophosphate; TSP*; Phosphate of soda*; (also sold
         under brand names such as Red Devil).
    c.   Potential Hazards:  CORROSIVE TO FLESH.
    d.   Available from chemical supply house, grocery store or
         supermarket or hardware store.
    e.   Commercial TSP supplied by Red Devil, Inc., 2400 Vauxhall
         Road, Union, NJ  07083-1933, 201/688-6900 or 800/423-
         3845.
2.   Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH):
    a.   A white brittle solid that is a strong caustic base used
         especially in making soap, rayon, and paper.
    b.   Other chemical or common names include Caustic soda*;
         Hydrate of soda*; Hydrated oxide of sodium*; Lye*; Mineral
         alkali*; Soda lye*; Sodic hydrate*; Sodium hydrate*.
    c.   Potential Hazards:  CORROSIVE TO FLESH AND FLAMMABLE
         (WHEN IN CONTACT WITH ORGANIC SOLVENTS).
    d.   Available from chemical supply house, drugstore or
         pharmaceutical supply distributor, hardware store, or
         paint store.
3.   Potassium Hydroxide (KOH):
    a.   A white deliquescent solid that dissolves in water with
         much heat to form a strongly alkaline and caustic liquid;
         used chiefly in making soap and as a reagent.
    b.   Other chemical or common names include Potassium hydrate;
         Caustic potash*; Caustic potassa*; Hydrate of potassa*;
         Potassa*.
    c.   Potential Hazards:  TOXIC AND CORROSIVE TO FLESH.
    d.   Available from chemical supply house, drugstore or
         pharmaceutical supply distributor, hardware store, or
         garden and lawn supply center.
4.   Ammonium Hydroxide or Ammonia (NH4OH):
    CAUTION:  DO NOT MIX AMMONIA WITH CHLORINE BLEACHES, A
    POISONOUS GAS WILL RESULT!  DO NOT USE BLEACH ON BIRD
    DROPPINGS.
    a.   A weakly basic compound that is formed when ammonia
         dissolves in water and that exists only in solution.
    b.   Other chemical or common names include Ammonia water*;
         Aqua ammonia*; Household ammonia*.
    c.   Potential hazards:  TOXIC; MAY IRRITATE THE EYES.
    d.   Available from chemical supply house, grocery store or
         pharmaceutical supply distributor, or hardware store.
5.   Spic 'n' Span (Procter & Gamble Co.)


CAUSTIC MATERIALS

Uses:
1.   Caustic materials are based on caustic soda, sodium hydroxide,
    caustic potash or potassium hydroxide.
2.   EXTREMELY strong materials with a high pH value.
3.   Used where VERY STRONG alkaline solutions are required such as
    in clearing blocked drains.
4.   Available in solid or concentrated liquid forms.
5.   Caustic potash is hygroscopic (absorbs water from the air) and
    is NOT recommended for use in powdered formulations that are
    to remain moisture-free.
    CAUTION:  NEVER USE CAUSTIC MATERIALS ON FLOOR COVERINGS.  THE
    STRONG ALKALINITY WILL PRODUCE IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE.

Disadvantages:
1.   Can produce irreversible discoloration.
2.   Safety hazard to user:  Corrosive to flesh and flammable when
    in contact with organic solvents.
3.   Produces a significant increase in temperature when dissolved
    in water at high levels.
4.   Difficult to rinse from surfaces.  However, caustic potash is
    more soluble than caustic soda.
5.   Lack the ability to absorb liquid ingredients in powdered
    formulations.
6.   Extremely corrosive to soft metals such as aluminum and zinc
    and ceramic or glazed surfaces.
7.   Avoid contact between caustic soda and liquid surfactants -
    contact may result in a decrease in its effectiveness and
    discoloration in the product.

Sample Products:
1.   Liquid Plumber (The Clorox Company)
2.   Oven Cleaners


ACID CLEANERS

Uses:
1.   Composed primarily of compounds based on phosphoric acid,
    sodium bisulphate, oxalic acid, gluconic acid and hydrochloric
    acid.
2.   Acid cleaners are usually formulated as aqueous solutions.
3.   DO NOT ALLOW acids to come in contact with skin or clothing.
    Protect hands by wearing rubber gloves.  Wash with soapy water
    immediately if skin comes in contact with an acid cleaner.
4.   Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is the most commonly used acid cleaner
    and the only cleaner known not to leave soluble salts in
    masonry; usually applied in a 2-5% dilute water solution.

    CAUTION:  ACID CLEANERS CAN BE DETRIMENTAL TO MANY TYPES OF
    SURFACES SUCH AS PAINT, STAINLESS STEEL, ALUMINUM AND ALMOST
    ALL FLOOR TYPES.

    NOT RECOMMENDED FOR USE ON LIMESTONE, MARBLE OR LIGHT-COLORED
    BRICK, UNLESS APPLIED IN VERY LOW CONCENTRATIONS (3%) AND
    RINSED IMMEDIATELY WITH COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF WATER.

    NEVER USE ACID CLEANERS IN COMBINATION WITH BLEACH OR
    HYPOCHLORITE SOLUTIONS.  THIS COMBINATION WILL PRODUCE A TOXIC
    CHLORINE GAS.

Advantages:
1.   Effective in removing cement, plaster or concrete spill
    because acids will attack alkaline materials.
2.   Suitable for use on sandstone and granite.

Disadvantages:
1.   Acids may damage surrounding materials such as glass, bronze,
    painted surfaces, wood, limestone and marble, vegetation and
    humans.
2.   Disposal of run-off must be carefully controlled.
3.   Drainage of toxic chemicals may not be permissible in some
    cities.

Sample Products:
1.   Weak acids include white vinegar (acetic acid) and lemon juice
    (citric acid)
2.   Rust removers - usually contain oxalic acid; "Zud"
3.   Cleaning products for removing hard water deposits - usually
    contain phosphoric acid
4.   Toilet bowl cleaners - usually contain diluted concentrations
    of hydrochloric and sulfuric acids


DETERGENT CRYSTALS

Uses:
1.   Also called alkaline degreasers.
2.   Used primarily in industrial applications.
3.   Detergent crystals contain few ingredients - one being sodium
    metasilicate which is soluble in hot or cold water.
4.   Detergent crystals, when mixed with water, create a strong
    alkaline solution that is effective in removing oil, grease
    and wax.
5.   See also Alkaline Detergents above.

Advantages:
1.   Less expensive than solvent-based emulsions.
2.   They can be used on any type of floor because they are water-
    based and solvent-free.


SOLVENT-BASED DETERGENT WAX REMOVERS

Uses:
1.   Composed of hydrocarbon solvents such as white spirit and
    water.  NOTE:  THESE WAX REMOVERS CAN ONLY BE USED ON FLOORS
    NOT ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY WHITE SPIRIT OR SIMILAR SOLVENTS.
2.   Manufactured in many different strengths.  The two most common
    include 1) those containing almost all solvent and a little
    water (usually clear, transparent liquids), and 2) those with
    equal proportions of solvent and water (usually white, opaque
    liquids).
3.   Solvent-based detergents are used primarily for removing
    solvent-based waxes, oil and grease.
4.   Widely used for removing paste and liquid types of solvent wax
    from floors.  
5.   The solvent component of the remover penetrates and softens
    the wax.  The emulsifying and wetting agents hold the wax in
    suspension for removal by mopping with warm water.

Advantages:
1.   Safe and effective for use on wood, wood composition, cork,
    magnesite, linoleum, concrete and stone floors.
2.   Non-flammable.
3.   Better than paraffin and white spirit in removing wax, oil and
    grease because of the presence of an emulsifying agent in the
    solvent-based remover, which suspends the dirt for removal.
4.   Less material is required to soften the wax than with paraffin
    or white spirit.  Paraffin and white spirit tend to evaporate
    quickly leaving loosened dirt behind to harden again on the
    surface.

Disadvantages:
1.   DO NOT USE on asphalt, thermoplastic tiles, PVC (vinyl)
    asbestos or rubber floors.  Solvents will damage these types
    of floors.

                         END OF SECTION