Glossary of Cleaning Terms

Here at Cleaning Depot, we are dedicated to train/educate both our Staff and Customers, in providing better service and advice. Here you will find a short glossary of all the most used cleaning teams in the attempt to assist help to explain it in more detail.

A

Abatement Reducing the degree of intensity of/or eliminating, pollution

Abrasion - The wearing away or cleaning by friction. Abrasion can also relate to the wearing away of a floor finish film by friction.

Abrasive - A product that works by abrasion. Products such as cleaners, polishes and pads may contain an abrasive.

Acid - It's a compound that ionizes in water to produce hydrogen ions. It readily donates protons to other substances and, when dissolved in water, will conduct electricity, tastes sour and turns litmus paper red. Inorganic acids (sometimes called mineral acids) include sulfuric, nitric, hydrochloric and phosphoric. Organic acids include acetic, oxalic, hydroxy acetic and citric. Acids are used in toilet bowl cleaners, rust removers and hard water stain removers. The acid will neutralise an alkali.  Acid is normally classified as a substance with a PH < 7

Acrylic Floor Finish - A water-based solution, which is often used on wooden floors, that dries hard and shiny.

Active Ingredients - The ingredients in a product that are specifically designed to achieve the product performance objectives.

Adhesion - One characteristic of soils or films which causes soils and oils to stick or bond to surfaces making them difficult to remove.

Aerobe - A microbe, or bacteria, that requires the presence of oxygen for survival.

Air Pollution - Air is made up of a number of gases, mostly nitrogen and oxygen and, in smaller amounts, water vapour, carbon dioxide and argon and other trace gases. Air pollution occurs when harmful chemicals and particles are emitted to the air – due to human activity or natural forces – at a concentration that interferes with human health or welfare or that harms the environment in other ways. 

Air Quality - A measure of the level of pollution in the air.

Alcohols - Organic compounds that contain one or more hydroxyl groups (-OH functional groups) in each molecule. Alcohols used in cleaners include ethyl, methyl, propyl and butyl.

Algae - Simple rootless plants that grow in sunlit waters in proportion to the number of available nutrients. They can affect water quality adversely by lowering the dissolved oxygen in the water. They are food for fish and small aquatic animals.

Aliphatic Solvents - These are sometimes referred to as paraffin. They are also referred to as straight-chain or open-chain solvents. Kerosene, Odorless Mineral Spirits and Mineral Seal Oil are examples of aliphatic solvents.

Alkali or Base - A substance that neutralises any acid is known as an alkali or a base. With a pH of greater than 7, it will turn litmus paper blue and can feel soapy to touch. This can often be found in things such as degreasers, wax strippers and for soil and finish removal. Alkalinity is exhibited in solution by alkalies such as sodium or potassium hydroxide or alkaline salts such as sodium carbonate. A substance used in some wax strippers, degreasers and cleaners to assist in soil and finish removal.

Alternative energy sources - Energy that does not come from fossil fuels (such as coal, oil, gas), for example, wind, flowing water, solar energy and biomass.

Amenities - Benefits of a property, such as nearby playgrounds, swimming pools, community centres or parks.

Ammonia - An alkaline gas composed of nitrogen and hydrogen. Aqueous solutions of with 5-10% ammonia are sold as household ammonia.

Amphoteric Surfactant - A surfactant that, in water solution, may be either anionic or cationic, depending upon the pH.

Anhydrous - A product that has had all of the water removed.

Anhydrous Soap - Water-less soap.

Anion - An ion with a negative charge, formed when an atom gains electrons in a reaction. The atom now has more electrons than protons.

Anionic Surfactant - Negatively charged part of a molecule. Anionic surfactants are widely used in high-sudsing detergents.

Antiredeposition Agent - An ingredient used in detergents to help prevent soil from redepositing on surfaces or fabrics. Sodium carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) is the most widely used.

Aromatic Solvents - Solvents made of compounds that contain an unsaturated ring of carbon atoms, typified by benzene structures. Xylene and toluene are aromatic solvents sometimes referred to as Ring Hydrocarbons.

Atmosphere - The mass of air surrounding the Earth.

Atom - The smallest particle of an element that retains the chemical properties of that element. The atoms of many elements are bonded together in groups to form particles called molecules. Atoms consist of three main types of smaller particles. These include the electrons, protons and neutrons.

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B

Backyard burning - An illegal method of getting rid of household waste, possibly in an attempt to save on bin charges, that releases levels of pollutants into the air, so harming air quality and risking the health of those burning the waste and of their neighbours.

Bacteriostat - A chemical agent that stops bacteria from spreading but doesn’t kill it.

BioControl or Biological Control - can be defined as the use of living organisms to depress the population of a pest

Biodegradable - The ability of a substance to be broken down into simpler, smaller parts by a biological process. Many plastics are not biodegradable. An ingredient or formula that will degrade into simple and benign components in the environment. The method follows the highest technical standard for defining biodegradability, whereby at least 70% of organic ingredients break down within 28 days.

Biodegradable waste - Organic waste, typically coming from plant or animal sources (for example food scraps and paper), which other living organisms can break down.

Biodiversity - A short form of the phrase ‘biological diversity’, which means the variety of life on this planet and how it interacts within habitats and ecosystems. Biodiversity covers all plants, animals and micro-organisms on land and in water. See also ecosystem, habitat and organism.

Bioenergy - All types of energy derived from biomass, including biofuels.

Biofuels - Liquid transport fuels made from biomass.

Biological Cleaning - Generally considered to be products that use good bacteria and the enzymes they produce as cleaning agents. These friendly bacteria can also produce other actives including acids, polymers and other cleaning agents

Biomass - A source of fuel made from living and recently-dead plant materials such as wood, leaves and the biodegradable part of industrial and municipal waste.

Biosphere - The portion of Earth and its atmosphere that can support life

Black bin (grey bin) - A wheelie bin used in certain local authorities to collect waste that cannot be recycled or composted.

Blushing - When paint looks milky or cloudy caused by high humidity and temperatures. 

Bleach - A common household cleaning product that is used to brighten up fabrics, whitens, removes stains and assist in the removal of stains.

Boiling Point - The temperature at which a liquid changes to a vapour state at a given pressure.

Bring bankA place where you can bring materials for recycling, for example, glass, newspapers, heavy cardboard and textiles. See also recycling centre and civic amenity site.

Brown bin - A wheelie bin used in some local authorities to collect organic waste such as food and light garden waste (for example grass cuttings).

Buffer - In chemistry, any substance in a fluid which tends to resist a sudden change in pH when acid or alkali is added. Buffering is provided by complex phosphate builders, sodium carbonate, sodium silicate and sodium citrate. Usually a solution of a weak acid and its conjugate base or a weak base and its conjugate acid.

Builder - A material that upgrades or protects the cleaning efficiency of a surfactant. Builders inactivate water hardness, supply alkalinity to assist cleaning, provide buffering to maintain alkalinity, prevents redeposition of soil and emulsification of oily and greasy soils.

Build-up - A heavy deposit of floor finish, wax, dirt and grime. It is caused by adding layer after layer of floor finish over dirt without deep scrubbing the old layers away first. These build-ups are frequently found along baseboards and corners.

Burnish - To buff a protective floor coating for a glossy look.

Bye-law - A rule made by a local authority to govern activities within the area it controls. Examples include bye-laws covering waste disposal, traffic or public events or signs.

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C

Calcium Carbonate - An inorganic compound that occurs naturally as chalk and limestone. It's very slight solubility in water is a chief cause of "hardness" in water.

Carbon count - A measure of the amount of carbon dioxide you produce through your lifestyle every day, for example through driving or using electrical appliances and lighting.

Carbon credit - A unit of carbon dioxide bought to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. See carbon offset.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) - A colourless gas that is naturally produced from animals and people in exhaled air and the decay of plants. It is removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis in plants and by dissolving in water, especially on the surface of oceans. The use of fossil fuels for energy is increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is believed to contribute to global warming. See also greenhouse gases and photosynthesis.

Carbon emissions - In the context of climate change, the carbon dioxide released when substances, especially oil, gas, and coal, are burned by vehicles and planes, by factories and by homes.

Carbon Footprint - Refer to the amount of carbon it takes to produce and distribute method products. we measure our footprint annually and constantly seeks ways to reduce our carbon emissions wherever we can

Carbon monoxide - A highly poisonous, odourless, tasteless and colourless gas that is formed when carbon material burns without enough oxygen. Carbon monoxide is toxic when inhaled because it combines with your blood and prevents oxygen from getting to your organs. If a person is exposed to carbon monoxide over a period, it can cause illness and even death. Carbon Monoxide has no smell, taste or colour. This is why it is sometimes called the “Silent Killer”. The most common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home are house fires, faulty heating appliances such as boilers, blocked chimney or flues, and rooms not properly ventilated. Carbon Monoxide alarms can be used as a backup to provide a warning to householders in the event of a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide.

Carbon neutral - A situation that arises when the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air equals the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the air, for example by planting trees, or the amount saved by using renewable energy sources to produce the same amount of energy. See also renewable energy.

Carbon offset - an investment that results in an external reduction of carbon emissions. carbon offsets can take on multiple forms, such as planting trees, investing in renewable energy technologies, or otherwise reducing the quantity of carbon in the atmosphere, thereby reducing global warming.

Carbon tax - A tax on fuels according to their carbon content, which aims to encourage people and businesses to use fuels with less carbon and reduce the amount of energy they use.

Carpooling - Sharing a car to a destination to reduce fuel use, pollution and travel costs.

Catalyst - An element or compound that accelerates the rate of a chemical reaction but is neither changed nor consumed by it.

Cation - An ion with a positive charge, formed when an atom loses electrons in a reaction. The atom now has more protons than electrons.

Cationic Surfactant - A surfactant with a positively charged ionic group. The most common cationic surfactants are known as quaternary ammonium compounds such as alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride. These are widely used as disinfectants and sanitizers.

Caustic - Strong alkaline substance which irritates the skin.

Ceramic Tile - Clay tile with an impervious, usually glossy, layer on the surface.

CFCs - Short for ‘chlorofluorocarbons’, which are chemicals used in manufacturing and, in the past, in aerosol cans and refrigerators, which can damage the ozone layer.

CFL bulbs - Short for ‘compact fluorescent lamp’ bulbs, which are light bulbs that use a fraction of the energy of traditional filament bulbs and last up to five times longer. 

‘Change’ campaign - The Government’s campaign to change how people in Ireland think about climate change and encourage us to change how we behave. It includes a website, External linkwww.change.ie, which has carbon calculators that can calculate the carbon footprint of individuals, businesses and local authorities.

Civic amenity site - A public or private facility that accepts recyclable and non-recyclable materials such as garden and household waste and certain hazardous wastes such as paints, batteries and electrical and electronic devices. See also bring bank, recycling centre and WEEE.

Chelating Agent - An organic sequestering agent used to inactivate hard water and other metallic ions in water. Additives in detergents for inactivating the minerals in water that interfere with cleaning. Ingredients include ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA), NTA and sodium citrate.

Chemical Reaction - Any change which alters the chemical properties of a substance or which forms a new substance. During a chemical reaction, products are formed from reactants.

Chemical Symbol -  A shorthand way of representing an element in formula and equations. Sodium Chloride is represented in chemical symbols by NaCl (Na is Sodium and Cl is Chlorine).

Chemistry - The study of substances. What they are made of and how they work. It is divided into three main branches -- physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry.

Chlorinated Solvents - An organic solvent that contains chlorine atoms as part of the molecular structure. Examples include methylene chloride and trichloroethylene.

Chlorine Bleach - A group of strong oxidizing agents commonly used as whitener, stain remover, disinfectant and deodoriser.  It's sold in an approximately 5% solution of sodium hypochlorite. Care should be taken to never mix chlorine bleach with ammonia or hydrochloric acid. The dry form of chlorine bleach is used in cleaners, such as dishwasher detergents.

Cidal - Kills bacteria.

Cleaning - Cleaning is locating, identifying, containing, removing and disposing of unwanted substances (pollutants) from the environment. It is our most powerful means of managing our immediate surrounding and protecting our health.

Cleanser - A powdered or in liquid cleaning product containing abrasives, surfactants and frequently a bleach. 

Climate - The pattern of weather in a particular region over a set period of time, usually 30 years. The pattern is affected by the amount of rain or snowfall, average temperatures throughout the year, humidity, wind speeds and so on. Ireland has a temperate climate, in which it doesn’t get too hot or too cold.

Climate change - A change in the climate of a region over time due to natural forces or human activity. In the context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, it is the change in climate caused by higher levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human activities as well as natural climate changes.

Cloud Point - The temperature at which a surfactant becomes insoluble in water. This becomes important when designing detergents for use in hot water.

Coagulation - An irreversible process in which a number of emulsion droplets coalesce, leading to complete separation of the emulsion.

Colloid - A type of solution in which the particles are not dissolved but are dispersed throughout the solvent or medium and held in suspension.

Compatibility - The ability of two or more substances to mix without objectionable changes in their physical or chemical properties.

Compost - A rich soil-like material produced from decayed plants and other organic matter, such as food and animal waste, that decomposes (breaks down) naturally. Most food waste can be put into compost, but you should not include meat, bones, cheese, cooking oils and fish. These may take a long time to break down and attract unwanted pests.

Compostable - Any material that will break down to simple, benign components in municipal composting conditions

Compound - A combination of two or more elements, bonded together in some way. It has different physical and chemical properties from the elements it is made of. Compounds are often difficult to split into their elements and can only be separated by chemical reactions.

Composting - The process of deliberately allowing food, garden and other suitable organic wastes to break down naturally over time to produce compost.

Conservation - Preserving or protecting animals and resources such as minerals, water and plants through planned action (such as breeding endangered species) or non-action (such as not letting taps run unnecessarily).

Concrete - A mixture of sand, gravel, Portland cement and water that forms a very hard surface when dry. It is one of the most common floor types found in buildings. Other types of floors like vinyl and vinyl composition tile are often laid over the top of concrete.


Corrosion Inhibitor - It's a protect that protects against the wearing away of surfaces. Sodium silicate is a corrosion inhibitor regularly used in detergents.

Cradle to Cradle(R) - a design framework for making products that are safe for people and provide environmental benefits as outlined in the book of the same name by chemist Michael Braungart and architect Bill McDonough.

Critical Micelle Concentration - The concentration of a surfactant in solution at which the molecules begin to form aggregates called micelles while the concentration of surfactant in solution remains constant.

Cruelty-Free - Method is certified by Leaping Bunny and Cruelty-Free International - Product is not tested on any living animal.

Cryptosporidium - A tiny parasite that can infect people if it is present in drinking water.

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D

Damp Mopping - Cleaning with a damp cloth or mop lightly soaked in a mixture of detergent and water.

Defoamers - Substance used to reduce or eliminate foam.

Degreaser - A speciality product that removes grease and greasy/oily soils from hard surfaces. Basic ingredients comprise of surfactants that penetrate and emulsify along with alcohol or glycol derivatives to boost cleaning.

Deionized Water - Water from which charged or ionizable organic or inorganic salts are removed.

Deliquescent - Describes a substance which absorbs water vapour from the air and dissolves in it, forming a concentrated solution. Calcium chloride is an example.

Density - Equal to its mass divided by its volume.

Detergent - A washing and cleaning agent with a composition other than soap. Detergents, unlike soaps, are less sensitive to minerals in the water.

Diffusion - The spontaneous and even mixing of gases or liquids.

Dirty Ingredient - method has a list of ingredients we don’t ever use because they are either very toxic, irritating to the skin, harmful to human health, dangerous for the environment or all of the above. for a partial list of dirty ingredients

Dispersing Agent - A material that reduces the cohesive attraction between like particles.

Dispersion - A colloidal system characterized by a continuous (external phase) and a discontinuous (internal phase). Uniformity of dispersions can be improved by the use of dispersing agents.

Distilled Water - Water which has had salts removed by distillation. It is very pure but does contain some dissolved gases.

Dwell or Contact Time - Describes the time that a cleaning agent is left on a surface before rinsing.

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E

Efflorescent - Describes a crystal which loses part of its water of crystallization to the air. A powdery coating is left on its surface. The forming of a white powdery substance on the surface of concrete or brick is an example.

Electrolytes - Substances capable of conducting an electric current, either in their pure liquid state or when in solution. Acids, bases and salts are all electrolytes.

Electrostatic Attraction - Attractive force between two oppositely charged ions.

Elements - A pure substance that cannot be broken down into smaller substances. Elements are considered the building blocks of all matter. There are just over 100 known elements classified in the periodic table.

Elements, Compounds and Mixtures - These are the three main types of chemical substances. All substances are made of elements, and most are a combination of two or more elements.

Emulsification - The action of breaking up fats, oils and other soils into small particles which are then suspended in a solution.

Emulsion - A two-phase liquid system in which small droplets of one liquid are uniformly dispersed throughout the second. An oil in water (O/W) emulsion, is one in which the continuous phase is aqueous, while a water in oil (W/O) +-emulsion is one in which the continuous phase is oil.

Enzyme - Protein molecules produced within an organism that are used as catalysts for biochemical reactions.

Enzymatic Cleaner - Enzymatic cleaners are bio-degradable, non-toxic cleaning agents that can be used to clean floors, carpets, and various other home items. These cleaners can break down tough stains with natural enzymes and remove them naturally, without introducing new harmful chemicals.

Epoxy - A synthetic adhesive.

Etch - A chemically caused change on the outside of a smooth floor surface which causes the floor to be pitted or rough.

Eutrophication - An overgrowth of aquatic plants caused by an excess of nitrates, nitrites and phosphates. It results in a shortage of oxygen in the water, causing the death of aquatic life.

Evaporation - A change of state from liquid to gaseous (vapour), due to the escape of molecules from the surface. A liquid which evaporates readily is described as volatile.

Evaporation Speed - Expressed in relation to the evaporation rate of n-Butyl Acetate which is standardized at 1.0. All products with evaporation rates greater than 1.0 are faster evaporating than n-Butyl Acetate and conversely, numbers lower than 1.0 indicate a slower rate.

Exothermic Reaction - A reaction in which heat is given off to the surroundings as the products of the reaction are formed. The addition of high concentrations of sodium hydroxide to water produces an exothermic reaction.

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F

Fatty Acid - It's an organic substance that reacts with a base to form a soap. Tallow and coconut oil are examples.

Flashpoint - The minimum temperature at which a liquid gives off a vapour in sufficient concentration to ignite when tested.

Flocculation - A reversible process in which a number of emulsion droplets stick together to form a cluster which can be broken up by mechanical action restoring the emulsion to its original form.

Foam - A mass of bubbles formed on liquids by agitation. Foam can be unstable, transient or stable depending upon the presence and nature of the components in the liquid.

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G

Gas Form of Matter - A gas has no shape, diffuses readily, and assumes the full-volume shape of any closed container. Gas molecules are widely distributed and can move in any direction.

Grains Hardness - A measure of water hardness. The actual amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium salts measured in parts per million.

Green - A common express meaning environmentally responsible  

Green Bin - A wheelie bin used in certain local authorities to collect dry cardboard, paper, tins and other recyclable waste, including certain plastics

Green Chemistry - the domain of chemistry that encourages the efficient use of safe, renewable chemistry technologies to make products. the method relies heavily on green chemistry advances to craft our formulations.

Green Cleaning - The use of cleaning products and practices that have reduced environmental impacts in comparison with conventional products and practices.

Green Collar Job - A job connected to eco-friendly products and services

Green Label - The Carpet and Rug Institute's certification program for vacuum cleaners.

Groundwater - Water that collects or flows underground in the small spaces in soil and rock. It might be a source of water for springs and wells and then used for drinking water.

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H

Habitat - The area occupied by a community or species (a group of animals or plants), such as a forest floor, desert or seashore.

HACCP - Stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System and is a food safety system that prevents food safety from being compromised. ISO 22000 is an international standard according to ISO standards and has been created to guarantee the safety of the global food chain.

Hard Water - Water which contains calcium and magnesium salts that have dissolved from the rocks over which the water has flowed. Water that does not contain these salts is called soft water. There are two types of hardness -- temporary hardness, which can be removed relatively easy and permanent hardness, which is more difficult to remove.

Hazardous waste - Waste that poses a risk to human health or the environment and needs to be handled and disposed of carefully. Examples include oil-based paints, car batteries, weed killers, bleach and waste electrical and electronic devices.

Heterogeneous - Describes a substance which varies in its composition and properties from one part to another. Properties differ from place to place within the solution.

HLB (Hydrophile-Lipophile Balance) - A property of a surfactant which is represented by an arbitrary scale of 0-20 wherein the most hydrophilic materials have the highest numbers. The HLB of a nonionic surfactant is the approximate weight of ethylene oxide in the surfactant divided by 5.

Homogeneous - Describes a substance which is the same throughout its properties and composition.

Humidity - A measure of moisture in the atmosphere. It depends on the temperature and is higher in warm air than cold air.

Hydrochloric Acid - A solution of hydrogen chloride in water and a common ingredient in cleaning products.

Hydrophobic Fibers - Fibers that do not absorb water easily.

Hydrophilic - A descriptive term applied to the group or radical of a surfactant molecule that makes or tends to make it soluble in water. Associated with the hydrophilic portion of a surfactant molecule is the opposite hydrophobic (water-hating) portion.

Hydrotrope - A substance that increases the insolubility in the water of another material, which is only partially soluble.

Hygroscopic - Describes a substance which can absorb up to 70% of its own mass of water vapour. Such a substance becomes damp but does not dissolve.

HypoAllergenic - this means an ingredient or product is relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. method clinically validates this claim with testing on typical people. it does not mean an ingredient or product will not cause any allergic reaction or irritation in any person; a small percentage of individuals may have still had some form of allergic reaction or irritation to certain ingredients or products. people with known skin allergies or sensitive skin should consult with their doctor to choose products that are best for them.

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I

Inorganic Alkaline Detergent - A water-soluble detergent that contains no soap or synthetic

Insolubility - The inability of one substance to dissolve in another.

Interfacial Tension - A measure of the molecular forces existing at the boundary between two phases. It is expressed in dynes/cm. Liquids with low interfacial tension are more easily emulsified.

Ions - An electrically charged particle, formed when an atom loses or gains one or more electrons to form a stable outer shell. All icons are either cations or anions.

ISO - Stands for the International Organization for Standardisation which is based in Geneva

ISO 9001 - is defined as the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS). Organizations use the standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

ISO 14001 - It's the international standard that specifies requirements for an effective environmental management system (EMS). It provides a framework that an organization can follow, rather than establishing environmental performance requirements.

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L

Landfill - A site that is specially designed to dispose of waste and operates with a licence granted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA reviews licences and, with local authorities, monitors landfills around the country for emissions.

Litter - Waste that is thrown away carelessly, mainly made up of plastic, metal, glass, paper or food. Common examples are chewing gum and cigarette butts.

Liquid Form of Matter - A liquid assumes the shape of its container. The molecules of a liquid are in constant motion and do not have the fixed arrangement found in solids.

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M

Matter - Any substance that has mass (weight) and occupies space. It exists in any of three forms including a solid, liquid or gas.

MBT - Short for ‘mechanical biological treatment’, which is a way of sorting and treating waste. The waste is first sorted mechanically into materials that can and cannot be recycled. Any waste that can be recycled is then broken down biologically, often through composting, while the rest is usually sent to landfill.  See also composting.

Micelle - A spherical grouping of detergent molecules in water. Oils and greases dissolve in the hydrophobic centre of the micelle.

Milking - The result of removing worn paint on window frames, which leave a cloudy stain on the glass. 

Miscibility - A term often used interchangeably with solubility. It is the ability of a liquid or gas to dissolve uniformly in another liquid or gas.

Mixture - A blend of two or more elements and/or compounds which are not chemically combined. A mixture can usually be separated into its elements or compounds fairly easily by physical means.

Molecules - The smallest particle of an element or compound that normally exists on its own and still retains its properties. Molecules normally consist of two or more atoms bonded together. Some molecules have thousands of atoms. Ionic compounds consist of ions and do not have molecules.

Mulch - leaves, straw or compost used to cover growing plants to protect them from the wind or cold.

Municipal waste - Waste produced in urban areas, mainly made up of household waste but also some small commercial waste that is similar to household waste.

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N

Neutral - A chemical state that is neither acid nor alkali. A pH of 7 is considered neutral.

Neutral Cleaner - A floor cleaner that has a pH that is compatible with the finish to be cleaned. Generally, this means a pH of between 7-9. Higher pH floor cleaners can attack the floor finish and dull it.

Non-chlorine Bleach - Commonly used as a laundry product, non-chlorine bleach contains Hydrogen peroxide compounds that release oxygen into the water in the washing machine’s drum. This is a far gentler bleaching solution in comparison to chlorine bleach.

Nonionic Surfactant - A surface-active agent that contains neither positively or negatively charged functional groups. These surfactants have been found to be especially effective in removing oily soil.

Non-toxic - this means that a product is unlikely to cause any adverse health effect in normal or foreseeable use. it does not mean a product will not cause any allergic reaction or irritation in any person; a small percentage of individuals may have still had some form of allergic reaction or irritation to certain ingredients or products. people with known skin allergies or sensitive skin should consult with their doctor to choose products that are best for them.

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O

Oil spill - The harmful release of oil into the environment, usually through water, which is very difficult to clean up and often kills birds, fish and other wildlife.

Organic food - Plants and animals that are grown or reared without the use of synthetic fertilisers, pesticides or hormones.

Organic - In this guide, matter from living, or once-living, things.

Organism - Any living thing, from bacteria and fungi through to insects, plants, animals and humans.

Ozone layer - The thin protective layer of gas 10 to 50km above the Earth that acts as a filter for ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. High UV levels can lead to skin cancer and cataracts and affect the growth of plants.

Oxidation - To combine with oxygen. Slow oxidation is typified by the rusting of metal.

Oxidizing Agent - A substance that accepts electrons in an oxidation-reduction reaction. A substance that causes the oxidation of a reactant molecule.

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P

pH - A measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. It is expressed in a number from 0-14. Zero is a powerful acid and 14 being a powerful alkali. Distilled water is a 7.

Phosphates - A substance that is added to detergent to increase its water softening ability.

Phosphoric Acid - A safe acid commonly used to remove rust, and interestingly enough, gives colas their tangy flavour. 

Physical Properties - Qualitative and Quantitative properties that describe a substance. They include smell, taste, colour, melting point, density, hardness etc.

Pine Oil - An oil process from the gum of pine trees.

Plastic bag levy - An environmental tax that customers must pay when they accept plastic or laminated bag from a retailer. There is no tax on small bags, such as those for fresh meat or loose fruit and vegetables. Money raised from the tax is put into a special fund that is used to protect the environment.

Polar Solvent - Water is the most common polar solvent.

Porous - A surface that was many tiny openings. A porous surface will require more finish or sealer to fill and smooth out these openings.

Precipitate - Material settled out of solution.

Preservatives - Floor finishes are susceptible to bacterial contamination. This is why finishes contain small amounts of antimicrobial agents to prevent microbial deterioration. These preservatives protect the unopened container, but do not substantially protect finish after it has been used. This is why it is important to never pour used floor finish back into a container of unused finish.

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R

Reagent - A substance used to start a chemical reaction. In the laboratory, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide are reagents.

Recycle - Any packaging element or material that can be collected by municipal recycling programs and made into a new material or package

Recycled Plastic - plastic that has been diverted from a waste stream and made into something new, like a method bottle. this includes both PCR (post-consumer recycled) and PIR (post-industrial recycled).

Redeposition - When something gets dirty again before you have a chance to fully clean it. 

Refuse - Another name for waste.

Renewable energy - Energy from renewable resources such as wind power, solar energy or biomass.

Renewable resource - A resource that can be used again and again without reducing its supply because it is constantly topped up, for example, wind or sun rays.

Reuse - To use an item more than once for the same purpose, which helps save money, time, energy and resources.

River basin - The portion of land drained by a river and the streams that flow into it. The quality of a river basin affects the quality of water, so efforts to protect and improve water quality must often include plans for managing river basins.

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S

Salt - An ionic compound formed by the reaction between an acid and a base.

Saponification - The process of converting fat into soap by treating it with an alkali. Also, the process used by some to remove grease and oil.

Saturated - Describes a solution that will not dissolve any more solute at a given temperature. Any more solute will remain as crystals

Sanitizer - Sanitizers are usually found in healthcare establishments, such as hospitals, doctor’s surgery, or in the food industry. A sanitizer will reduce the number of harmful bacterias to a safer level, although it will never completely eradicate them entirely.

Smartclean Technology® - powerful, patented, plant-based formula created for our ultra-concentrated 8x laundry detergent.

Scientific Method - A standardized way that scientists research and find answers to questions and problems.

Sequestering Agents - Chemicals that tie up water hardness and prevent the precipitation of hard water salts. This action causes clarity in liquid soap.

Sewage - Liquid wastes from communities, which may be a mixture of domestic effluent from homes and liquid waste from industry.

Smog - Air pollution consisting of smoke and fog, which occurs in large urban and industrial areas and is mainly caused by the action of sunlight on burned fuels, mostly from car exhausts. Smog can cause eye irritations and breathing problems and damage plant life.

Smokeless fuelSolid fuel, such as charcoal, that does not release smoke when it is burned.

Sodium Hypochlorite - A bleaching and sanitizing compound.

Soils - Describes a wide group of substances that attach themselves to surfaces creating a pollutant. Soils loosely attach themselves to surfaces by surface tension, electrical attraction or chemical bonding.

Solar panel - A panel fixed to the roof of a building that uses special cells to collect energy from the sun and convert it to electricity to heat the building and/or power the lights, appliances or equipment.

Standing charges - Fixed fees that must be paid for a certain period, often a year, to continue receiving a service.  Examples include standing charges for bin collections or gas supply. Other charges may apply depending on the use of the service over a given period of time.

Surface waterWater that is collected on the ground or in a stream, river, lake, wetland or ocean.

Sustainable developmentDevelopment using land or energy sources in a way that meets the needs of people today without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable tourism - A form of tourism that meets the needs of current tourists and host communities while protecting and enhancing tourism for the future by balancing economic and social needs with a respect for different cultures and the environment. See also ecotourism.

Solid Form of Matter - A solid holds its shape and volume even when not in a container. The molecules of a solid are tightly compacted and move only slightly.

Solvents - A liquid which dissolves another substance. Water is the most common solvent.

Specific Gravity - The ratio of the weight of a given volume of a liquid to the weight of an equal volume of distilled water. Water at that temperature has a specific gravity of 1. If the specific gravity of the other substance is greater than 1 it floats in water; if less than 1 it sinks.

Stearic Acid - A common fatty acid often added to soaps and detergents to increase its foaming properties.

The states of Matter - A substance can be solid, liquid or gaseous. Substances can change between states, normally when heated or cooled to increase or decrease the energy of the particles.

Surface Tension - The attractive forces which liquid molecules have for each other.

Surfactant - Substances which lower the surface tension of water. These surface-active agents modify the emulsifying, foaming, dispersing, spreading and wetting properties of a product.

Suspension - The process of a cleaning agent holding insoluble dirt particles in the cleaning solution and keeping them from redepositing on a clean floor.

Sustainability - Focus on the health, community and environmental impact of our products.

Synergistic - Chemicals that when combined have a greater effect than the sum of the two independently.

Synthetic Detergents - These are sometimes called soapless detergents. They are typically made from by-products of refining crude oil. They do not form a scum in hard water and lather better than soaps.


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T

Tack Rag - A damp cloth used to remove dust and lint on a surface before it's coated with paint or finished with another product. 

Thinner - A liquid used to reduce the viscosity of a coating and that will evaporate before or during the cure of a film.

Titration - A procedure that uses a neutralization reaction to determine the normality (the number of equivalents per litre of solution) of an unknown acid or base solution.

Toxic - Poisonous or harmful to the body (ecotoxic relates to damage to the environment).

Toxin - A poisonous substance that can either be natural (produced by plants, animals or bacteria) or manufactured. 

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U

Universal Solvent - Water is called the universal solvent because it dissolves both ionic compounds and polar molecular compounds. Water usually cannot dissolve nonpolar molecules.

Use-Dilution - The final concentration at which a product is used.

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V

Vapour Pressure - Describes a measure of a liquids tendency to evaporate. Every liquid has a characteristic vapour pressure that changes as the internal temperature of the liquid changes. Generally, as the temperature of liquid increases, its vapour pressure also increases.

VentilationIn this guide, the movement of air between the inside and outside of a building usually through windows, doors and air vents built into the building’s walls or ceilings.

Virgin Paper - is paper that contains no recycled content and is made directly from the pulp of trees or, alternatively, cotton.

Viscosity - The thickness of a liquid which determines pourability. Water has a viscosity of 1 centipoise. The resistance to flow is measured in relationship to water in centipoise.

Volatile - The part of a product that evaporates during drying.


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W

Water Hardness - A measure of the number of metallic salts found in water. Hard water can inhibit the action of some surfactants and reduce the effectiveness of the cleaning process.

Weight per Gallon - The weight per gallon of any liquid is determined by multiplying the weight of a gallon of distilled water (8.33 lbs.) by the specific gravity of the liquid.

Wet Mopping - Using a lot of cleaning solution.

Wetting Agent - A chemical which reduces the surface tension of water, allowing it to spread more freely.

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