Pro's Corner

Soils Can Have More Affinity to the Cleaning Solution Than the Surface Being Cleaned

One pizza company used the effective branding statement, “Better Ingredients Makes Better Pizza”. This statement holds true to making better cleaning solutions. Just like there are grades of cheese, pepperoni, sauce, etc., there are grades of raw materials used in making cleaning solutions.

The different grades of d’limonene are among the more obvious to the cleaner. Distillates, technical grade, and food-grade are distinguished by the consistency of the fragrance. The odor of a poor distillate will not easily be forgotten.

The amount of the ingredient used in any formula matters. However, we need to go beyond the quality and amount of the ingredient and also find special ingredients with core performance features that improve cleaning results. It is important to properly select ingredients that highlight a core feature that creates unique cleaning solutions and provides consistent results.

Each blog in this series will focus on a different feature brought about by a distinctive raw material based on performance and not cost. We will show pictures and/or short videos that visually illustrate performance from adding this raw material that by itself is uniquely responsible for that aspect of the result. The art of the formulator is in the selection of these quality, innovative raws with features that produce reliable results for each application.

It starts and ends with the science of cleaning….


Attracting Soils To Cleaning Solution

The problem of removing embedded particulate soils has been confounding carpet cleaners and restorers for decades.

Oily soil bonds to the surface of fibers but with the right chemistry, it can be readily removed. Particulate soils are brought in from foot traffic and as a result of gravity, they drop further into the foundation of the soil. If you have ever dusted an older oriental rug, then you are probably wondering how all that soil ended up in the rug, even with regular vacuuming.

The heat generated by a fire also drives soot deep into the surface of fibers including clothes in the closets. If you have cleaned up after a fire you might be wondering how you are supposed to get all of that soot out of the various soft surfaces in the house. Using the right chemistry can make the task easier.

A cleaning solution that can draw and hold the soil in will remove more soil after the soil is wiped or extracted away from the surface.

A charged hydrotrope is responsible for drawing soil into the cleaning solution Phosphates are known for many features. In this situation, its ability to prevent soil from redepositing or leaving the cleaning solution is paramount. The cleaning solution needs to come into contact with the soil which is why gravity, surfactants, and water pressure help get the solution into contact with soil that is driven to the base of the fibers.

By adding wiping or extraction you remove more soil with these special ingredients than without them.


The following video shows how particulate soil like soot can be attracted to a cleaning solution. There are a few things to note:

  1. After adding the powdered product to the water you see the soot go into the solution. The phosphate in the formula has several features, but in this instance, the anti-redeposition characteristic comes into play.


  1. The clean t-shirt when dipped into the evenly soiled water does not release from the solution partially as a result of the phosphate. The other ingredient at work is a charged hydrotrope, which draws particulate soil from the soiled t-shirt.

  2. The charge is greater than the soil initially attracted to the cotton t-shirt. In essence, the phosphate and charged hydrotrope help draw and hold the soils in solution.

  3. In essence, the phosphate and charged hydrotrope help draw and hold the soils in solution. This feature is especially relevant for a commercial laundry detergent designed for soot removal.



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