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2.4 Decision on Cleaning Technique

The Equation of Cleaning: Decision on Cleaning Technique 

When you understand what kind of dirt is on where, the next step is to decide how to clean it. Chemical force (knowledge of detergents) and physical force (knowledge of tools) need to be effectively applied (knowledge of technique) to fight the dirt. In order to ease the maintenance afterwards, it is advisable to implement anti-dirt coating as prevention cleaning (knowledge of protectants) 

 Should I use detergents?  Should I use tools?  How should I utilize them?  What about prevention cleaning?

The process to decide on cleaning methods starts with the selection of "removal force" such as detergents and tools, then it moves on to decide how to apply it. Therefore, basic knowledge on removal force such as "knowledge of detergents" and "knowledge of tools" is prerequisite. You also need to have "knowledge of cleaning technique" such as contents and procedure of work. Furthermore, when you want to implement anti-dirt coating as prevention cleaning, "knowledge of protectants" is required. 


2.4-1 Knowledge on detergents (chemical force)


The most common chemical force involved in cleaning is detergents. Detergents are very often used in cleaning and it is fair to say that they are indispensable. If detergents alone can clear dirt without physical force such as "scrubbing away" and "scraping away", it mitigates the risk of damaging architectural materials and eases the labor. Mal-application, on the other hand, could damage architectural materials and make them more susceptible to future contamination. Therefore, it is necessary to at least know the necessity and categories of detergents. In other words, to be able to judge whether you need to use detergents and what kind of detergents should be used is the minimal skill. Moreover, knowledge of detergents is required to use them efficiently. 

★ Basic knowledge of detergents
(1) to know categories of detergents  (2) to know how to use them efficiently


(1) Categories of detergents
One general tip for choosing household detergents is to pick one that suits your object, as there is a variety of products made for specific usage. Detergents can also be categorized by their pH (neutral detergent/ acid detergent/ alkaline detergent) and additive (solvent-containing cleanser/ abrasive detergents/ enzyme-containing cleanser). 


 *Generally detergents indicate synthetic detergents. Recently popular natural cleaning such as the use of baking soda and vinegar, on the other hand, makes use of non-detergent chemical force. 

Japanese Household Goods Quality Labeling Law requires household products such as detergents to display "product name", "components", "liquid property", "uses", "net content", "normal amount to be used", "handling precautions", and "especial precaution statement". For household synthetic detergents, it is obligatory to display the particulars listed below.

Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry

(4-1)Synthetic detergents
ⅰThis law binds these products that cleanse with surfactant other than pure soap content, excluding those that contain abrasives and those for cosmetic use.

ⅱ"Product name" displays one of the followings; "laundry synthetic detergent", "Kitchen synthetic detergent", and "other terms that properly indicate the use followed by the words ‘synthetic detergents'".

ⅲ "Liquid property" displays one of the followings according to pH; "alkaline", "mildly alkaline", "neutral", "mildly acidic", and "acidic".

ⅳ "Uses" displays proper terms that show its use (vegetable and fruit, dish)

ⅴ "Net content" follows Measurement Act. Unit is one of the followings; "kilogram", "gram", "liter", and "milliliter".

ⅵ "Normal amount to be used" displays the proper amount to be used in specific and clear terms (such as amount of laundry and amount of water)".

ⅶ "Handling precautions" properly display required particulars according to the quality of the product.

ⅷ "especial precaution statement" should conform to the regulation that requires certain size and color of letters and frames and should be displayed on noticeable part of the container.

(2) Tips for wise use of detergents
The followings are 7 tips to use detergents wisely (including knowledge of tools and knowledge of cleaning technique)

1. Always read the instruction
It is always better to read and follow the instruction such as handling precautions and proper usage.

2. Concentration
Each detergent has optimal concentration for use, which is required to be displayed by Household Goods Quality Labeling Law. Though most detergents on the market can be used without dilution, it is important to dilute properly when you use industrial detergents or undiluted solution.

3. Temperature
Surfactant, the main component of detergents, dissolves in water more quickly with higher temperature. Generally speaking, surfactant dissolves nearly completely when temperature rises above 20℃(60°F) (Krafft point*1). It is said that 10 degrees rise of temperature doubles the rate of cleansing. Normally tepid water around 40℃(104°F) is recommended.
*1. Krafft point is the boundary temperature above which surfactant dissolves a lot quicker.

4.Use proper tools
To remove dirt smoothly, you should use tools that fit the location and material on which dirt is placed so that the effect of detergent goes around quickly. Properly chosen tools such as sponge and brush will help you clean in an "easy and quick" way.

5. Patch test*2
You should always test on an inconspicuous part before you actually use the tool and detergents. The purpose is to check the effectiveness of detergents, usefulness of tools, and the result on dirt. Another purpose is to see if you are not damaging the architectural material on which dirt is placed.
*2. Patch test: Patch test generally means the inspection of the causal substance of allergic reaction. Patch test here is closer to its crude sense; "to test in one section (of operating site)". Hence, patch test in cleaning is a test on an inconspicuous part before you start the cleaning.

6. Caution! Do Not Mix!
Do not mix a detergent with another detergent. For instance, the mixture of acid detergents and chlorine bleach generates toxic gas (chlorine gas: cl2) that is extremely dangerous to human body. The mixture of acid detergents and alkaline detergents cancels each other's effect and kills the cleansing power of detergents. Moreover, mixed detergents could damage architectural materials. In short, it is highly risky to mix different detergents.

7. Rinsing after the use of detergents
Carefully wash out or wipe with a wet cloth to finish the cleaning. Remaining detergent components attract dirt and can be a cause of an outbreak of mold and microbes. Moreover, if you leave some detergent on materials long enough, it might damage the material with chemical reactions. Therefore, the final rinsing is not to be forgotten.


★ An example of cleaning(Tips for wise use of detergents)