What makes a detergent a detergent?

Robert86

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2 chemicals designed to clean, disinfect, and deodorize restrooms. Basically the same except one is labeled as a detergent and the other isn't. So what is it that makes one a detergent? Or is this just some marketing thing?
 

Scott W

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Good question. This is one of the topics I will be explaining in a new series of classes next year "Bridgepoint Chemistry Day." Watch for the promotions at your local Interlink Supply location. A day of learning the chemistry of cleaning products and you get a couple hundred dollars worth of free products.

Short answer - a detergent molecule has two ends, one that loves water and one that is water-hating and oil loving. One end attaches to water molecules and the other end attaches to anything that is not water. This separates soil from the fiber and holds it suspended in the water until the water is extracted.

Detergents are also surfactants. They reduce the surface tension of water-based solutions allowing them to penetrate into a surface quickly. Sometimes this is called making water wetter.
 

PistolPete

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2 chemicals designed to clean, disinfect, and deodorize restrooms. Basically the same except one is labeled as a detergent and the other isn't. So what is it that makes one a detergent? Or is this just some marketing thing?
Pull the SDS on both and see if there are differences in the ingredients. I think the word detergent can be somewhat generic, but I believe that a detergent is designed to suspend soils and hold them while you rinse.
I always taught that cleaning and disinfecting are 2 separate steps. (I used to sell chems to hospitals & train the staff.)
Some 'all-in-one-step' disinfectant cleaners can accomplish both, but once the soils are removed the surface needs the labelled dwell time in order to achieve the kill claims on the label. Many true disinfectants require several minutes. 3,6 or 10 minutes.
 

Robert86

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Good question. This is one of the topics I will be explaining in a new series of classes next year "Bridgepoint Chemistry Day." Watch for the promotions at your local Interlink Supply location. A day of learning the chemistry of cleaning products and you get a couple hundred dollars worth of free products.

Short answer - a detergent molecule has two ends, one that loves water and one that is water-hating and oil loving. One end attaches to water molecules and the other end attaches to anything that is not water. This separates soil from the fiber and holds it suspended in the water until the water is extracted.

Detergents are also surfactants. They reduce the surface tension of water-based solutions allowing them to penetrate into a surface quickly. Sometimes this is called making water wetter.
Thankyou Scott! I need to start taking some of these classes.

Pull the SDS on both and see if there are differences in the ingredients. I think the word detergent can be somewhat generic, but I believe that a detergent is designed to suspend soils and hold them while you rinse.
I always taught that cleaning and disinfecting are 2 separate steps. (I used to sell chems to hospitals & train the staff.)
Some 'all-in-one-step' disinfectant cleaners can accomplish both, but once the soils are removed the surface needs the labelled dwell time in order to achieve the kill claims on the label. Many true disinfectants require several minutes. 3,6 or 10 minutes.
That's how I've always been taught. In my restroom services I clean everything, then go back and disinfect. I don't feel like the "all in one" products really do it all as well as a product designed for one specific task.
 

PistolPete

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Thankyou Scott! I need to start taking some of these classes.


That's how I've always been taught. In my restroom services I clean everything, then go back and disinfect. I don't feel like the "all in one" products really do it all as well as a product designed for one specific task.
Depends on the soil load. Gross soils need 2 steps for sure. Light soils, touch points, countertops etc an all in one works OK
 

rob allen

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Good question. This is one of the topics I will be explaining in a new series of classes next year "Bridgepoint Chemistry Day." Watch for the promotions at your local Interlink Supply location. A day of learning the chemistry of cleaning products and you get a couple hundred dollars worth of free products.

Short answer - a detergent molecule has two ends, one that loves water and one that is water-hating and oil loving. One end attaches to water molecules and the other end attaches to anything that is not water. This separates soil from the fiber and holds it suspended in the water until the water is extracted.

Detergents are also surfactants. They reduce the surface tension of water-based solutions allowing them to penetrate into a surface quickly. Sometimes this is called making water wetter.
We need an illustration of the water lover and oil hater. :)
 

Joe cool

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A detergent is laundry soap / dish soap , we use solutions that doesn't foam up .