Is the cleaning product I’m using a disinfectant or a sanitizer? What exactly is green cleaning? What’s the difference between concentrate and ready to use chemicals?
Understanding basic cleaning terms and definitions is essential to cleaning effectively and efficiently. We’ve outlined the top cleaning terms you should understand before you clean any facility.
General Cleaning Definitions and Terms
Abrasive Cleaner: A cleaning product generally used for scrubbing, that contains granular materials such as finely ground silica, volcanic ash, powder feldspar, or powdered pumice.
Antimicrobial: Antimicrobial products kill or slow the spread of germs.
Bulk Concentrates: Bulk concentrates require manual mixing of the chemical with water to dilute them. This format puts the onus on the user to correctly measure the right amount of concentrate with water.
Carpet Cleaning Machine: Carpet cleaning machines or carpet extractors are designed to remove embedded dirt and stains in carpet.
Chemical Dilution Systems: Chemical Dilution Systems automatically measure out chemical concentrate and water in specific proportions, reducing exposure to chemicals and improper chemical mixing. Dilution systems can range from wall mounted units to hand-held miniature dilution systems.
Cleaning: Cleaning removes dirt and germs from surfaces or objects. This may not kill germs, but remove some of them so there are fewer germs that could spread infection.
Decontamination: The reduction or removal of microorganisms, including biohazardous material and infectious viruses.
Degreaser: A cleaning product that removes grease from hard surfaces.
Deodorizer: Any substance or device used to mask or remove odors.
Disinfectant: A chemical liquid that kills germs.
Disinfecting: Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
Dwell Time: The amount of time a disinfectant needs to sit on a surface in order to properly disinfect. This means the disinfectant needs to stay wet on the surface for the duration of the dwell time.
Floor Buffer: Floor buffers, also called floor burnishers, create a smooth, even surface for light to reflect off of.
Floor Scrubber: A commercial floor scrubber is simply a high-powered mop. It uses jets that disperse a floor cleaning solution. Then, rotary brushes efficiently scrub dirt.
Green Cleaning: Using cleaning solutions and cleaning methods that promote a healthier environment.
Green Seal Certification: Green Seal is an environmentally-friendly product designation. They develop stringent, multi-attribute standards and certify products and services that meet them.
Ready to Use Chemicals (RTU): These chemicals are already diluted, so the user doesn’t have to worry about mixing the correct amount of chemical with water.
Safer Choice Certification: Safer Choice is an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) designation that helps consumers and businesses find products that perform and contain ingredients that are safer for human health and the environment.
Sanitizing: Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.
Surfactant or Surface-Active Agent: A substance that when dissolved in a liquid reduces the surface tension, thereby increasing its spreading and wetting properties.