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Understanding the Relevance of the pH Scale


Posted on January 13, 2012
By Gary Fage

Understanding the relevance of the pH scale when carrying out cleaning tasks is vital to anyone that is serious about commercial cleaning

In general terms acidic products (less than pH 7) have descaling properties. Alkaline products (greater than pH 7) have degreasing properties.

The pH Scale is a means of measuring the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a cleaning agent or solution, simple, easy-to-understand, numeric terms. The scale itself has a range of 0-14,with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. The mid-point on the scale is 7 and is classed as neutral and this corresponds with the pH measurement for distilled water.

Acidic Products

When a pH value of a product or solution decreases below 7, its acidity will start to increase. Most acid based cleaning materials will have a typical pH value of between 0.5 and 5 on the scale. Concentrated pure acids will have a pH value of approximately 0.1, though these would never be used as cleaning as cleaning agents.

Acidic products are most commonly used to remove limescale deposits from hard surfaces as they will dissolve salts that are not soluble in water.

Alkaline Products

As you can see from the chart, if the pH value rises above 7, the product or solution will become more alkaline. Alkaline products are particularly effective in removing greasy and fatty deposits from hard surfaces. They will typically have a pH value of between 11 and 12.5. Stronger alkaline products such as emulsion floor polish strippers will have a value of around 13. Caustic soda, which is extremely corrosive, will have a pH value of 14.

Neutral Products

As we have pointed out earlier, the pH of distilled water is 7 which is taken as being the purest neutral solution. However, in reality, any product or solution with a pH value of between 6 and 9 is generally considered to be neutral. Neutral products are commonly used for general cleaning procedures and include washing-up liquid and carpet cleaning solution.

How is the pH Value Tested?

The approximate pH value of any liquid product or solution can be tested using Universal Indicator Paper, a type of litmus paper you may remember from science lessons in your schooldays. After being dipped into a solution the colour of the paper will change.

The colour of the paper can then be compared with a colour chart, the colour corresponding to the relevant value on the scale. The colours are illustrated in the chart at the head of this section.

About Gary Fage
Gary Fage has been Managing Director of Janitorial Express, since 1991, he is a Director of the Jangro Group and Council Member of the CHSA. www.janitorialexpress.co.uk

10 Top Chemical-Free Cleaning Tips


Article: www.treehugger.com

1. Employ green cleaning products
As the health and environmental impacts of conventional cleaning products become more thoroughly understood, more and more brands of healthy, green, and effective cleaning products have started hitting the market and competing for that coveted place of honor under your sink. Many of these products are non-toxic, biodegradable, and made from renewable resources (not petroleum). But if designer labels aren’t for you, home-mixed cleaners can get the job done and then some. Vinegar and baking soda can be used to clean almost anything. Mix in a little warm water with either of these and you’ve got yourself an all-purpose cleaner.

2. Avoid poor indoor air quality
It is not uncommon for the air inside a home or office to be more toxic than the air outside. This is because of the presence of toxic materials and substances and the fact that homes and buildings are better insulated than ever before (which is a good thing from an energy standpoint). Keeping windows open as often as possible allows fresh air in and keeps toxins flowing out. This is especially important when cleaning your home.

3. Be careful with antibacterial cleaners
The antibacterial and antimicrobial ‘cleaners’ that many people think are necessary, especially during cold season, don’t clean hands better than soap and water, and also add to the risk of breeding “super germs,” bacteria that survive the chemical onslaught and have resistant offspring. The FDA has found that antibacterial soaps and hand cleansers do not work better than regular soap and water, and should be avoided.

4. Help your home smell baking soda-licious
Baking soda not only removes those strange smells coming from your fridge, it’s also a great odor-eliminator for your carpet. Just sprinkle on a little baking soda to soak up some of those odors and then vacuum it up.

5. Clean your indoor air naturally
Skip the store-bought air fresheners and instead try boiling cinnamon, cloves, or any other herbs you have a fondness for. Fresh chocolate chip cookies also have been known to create a friendly aroma. Also, plants may not make your house smell different but are good for filtering interior air–pretty much any broad green leaf plant will do. Peace Lilies are a favorite choice.

6. Toss toxic cleaners carefully
When replacing your cleaning products, don’t just throw the old ones in the trash. If they’re too toxic for your home, they won’t be good for the drain or the landfill either. Many communities hold toxics & electronics recycling days and will take all of these off your hands. Throwing chemicals in the trash or down the drain means they might end up back in your water supply and come back to haunt you (see How to Go Green: Water for more).

7. Avoid conventional dry cleaners
Conventional dry cleaners are the largest users of the industrial solvent called Perchloroethylene, or perc, which is toxic to humans and also creates smog. The two most common green drycleaning methods are carbon dioxide cleaning and Green Earth. Seek out cleaners that use green methods. If you do take clothes to conventional cleaners, be sure to air them outside before wearing them or putting them in the closet.

8. Employ a chemical-free house cleaning service
For people don’t have the time to clean their own homes, fortunately there are an increasing number of chemical-free cleaning services out there to help get things spic and span.

9. Leave the toxins at the door
Imagine what’s on your shoes at the end of the day. Bringing that oil, antifreeze, animal waste, particulate pollution, pollen, and who knows what else into the house is not good news, especially for kids and other critters that spend time on floor level. Keep the sidewalk out of your home with a good doormat or a shoeless house policy. Many buildings now include entryway track-off systems as a means of maintaining a healthy interior environment. Less dirt also means less sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming, which means less work, water, energy, and fewer chemicals.

10. Design with clean in mind
Designing houses and other buildings with cleanability in mind can create spaces that are cleaner, healthier, and require fewer substances to maintain. In larger buildings, good cleanability can also be a big money-saver as cleaning costs can often add up to as much as half of a building’s total energy costs.

TreeHugger is the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream. Partial to a modern aesthetic, they strive to be a one-stop shop for green news, solutions, and product information.

The Better Alternative: Chemical Free Products

By: The Chemical Free Cleaning Network

Scientific technical innovation is moving above and past “green” or “organic” products with progress in technologies that clean without the using of any synthetic chemicals.

Around the earth businesses and individuals are investing in a range of equipment and products that allow non chemical cleaning emerging and inventive methods.

From applying electric current to common water, to using the power of sunshine: new advances in cleaning technologies and strategies are making it simpler to clean chemical free.

A number of the technologies such as Sealed HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners, and hand applicators for liquid ozone and electrolyzed water are cost effective when considering the long term savings on synthetic chemical products.

Adopting a Chemical Free Cleaning plan in your house does not mean the outlay of thousands of dollars in using the latest alternative Chemical Free technologies.

Time-proven cleaning practices have been brought down through the generations could, in many cases, also provide effective cleaning results in the household.

The use of daily attention and natural, organic, chemical free materials located in each household could be mixed, combined, and blended in many ways to accomplish cleaning equivalent to the level of synthetic chemical cleaning liquids. However, keep in mind the even organic, green or natural products are not consistently synthetic chemical free.

There are many ways to help you in your move towards chemical free cleaning in your household.

Begin with reducing the total number of in-house synthetic chemical pollutants, and then check in the back of your kitchen pantry to select which daily products you want to keep for cleaning your home.

Get rid of synthetic chemical cleaners (but make sure that you get rid of them safely and securely).

You could help the environment, save cash and streamline your cleaning chore by changing your current artificial chemical cleaners with a few of the products discussed in this section.

 

The Chemical Free Cleaning Network was established by industry visionary Vince Elliott, B.S., M.H.S., who in his nearly four decades of professional experience in developing innovative cleaning strategies for commercial and industrial applications. He has strived to bring these disparate technologies and strategies under one connected organization to benefit building proprietors, janitorial service managers, homeowners, and our ecosystem as a whole.

The Activeion EXP – How It Works In Our Cleaning Service

Cleaning Small Kitchen Appliances

The ARCSI Tech Corner: Green Cleaners

Q: I hear multiple terms used to describe ‘green’ cleaning agents. So I have to wonder, is organic better than natural? How about sustainable? I’m confused.

A: You have every right to be confused. Marketers use words that sound warm and fuzzy but often have no real meaning. Let’s take a look at just a few of the terms in use.

GREEN: Ideally, ‘green’ means that a product has less negative impact on the environment or on people’s health or hopefully both, than similar, traditional products in the marketplace. Some products are self-certified, i.e. a manufacturer says this product is greener than their regular line. Others are certified by a third party. The three most recognized third party certifiers are Green Seal, EPA’s Design for the Environment (DFE) and Canada’s EcoLogo. Each has slightly different criteria for certification.

NATURAL: This normally means that the chemicals used to make this product exist in nature in the form used. It can also refer to natural substances that are altered through what are considered natural processes. An example would be apple juice fermented into vinegar. It is very important not to confuse natural with safe. Remember that curare is a natural toxin used by certain indigenous peoples to create poison-tip arrows, giving the hunter using that substance a surer kill. Natural can be quite unsafe.

ORGANIC: The term organic has taken on a connotation of ‘healthful’ from the food industry. However, it has a different meaning in chemistry. Organic chemicals are simply chemicals containing carbon. These chemicals often originated in life forms but may have changed significantly since. Thus vinegar is an organic chemical, or more accurately, a combination of organic chemicals, but so is oil, gasoline, etc. To say our cleaning agents use organic ingredients sourced from nature may sound good, but is not particularly meaningful.

SUSTAINABLE: At its most basic, ‘sustainable’ means that the cleaning agents are from renewable sources such as plants that can be grown, harvested and re-grown. The term ‘sustainable’ is evolving in some cases to reflect more extensive environmental and social issues.

So if you’re confused, join the club. It truly can be a jungle out there. It’s up to you to check out the claims, sort through the verbiage and find the best resources for your operation.

Here’s to your success and prosperity!

Bruce Vance is a 20-year veteran of the industry and holds the IICRC Master Textile Cleaner certification. He also holds industry certifications in Stone and Tile care, Hard Floor care, and Applied Microbial Remediation. He is the current chairperson of a national cleaning industry’s Technical Advisory Committee. The opinions expressed above are those of Mr. Vance and not those of ARCSI.

Professional Home Appraisals

Editor’s Note: Appraiser Mike Brunson explains how serving clients best often means giving them what they need, not always what they want.

Growing Business: Giving Clients What They Need
By Mike Brunson

In this period of economic and social change, clients are looking for professional appraisers to answer questions that until now have not been asked. Price and timing are the hot-button issues. While many appraisers are raging against the downward pressure on fees and the increased pressure for faster turn times, I have instead begun to offer my clients an alternative service. Here’s how.

I have several clients who order valuations for internal asset management. The client typically holds paper on a non-performing loan and needs to determine the best course of action. While bidding a recent land assignment, the client noted that my bids were coming back much higher than they expected. The client wanted to know why this assignment warranted a fee that was so much higher than what they desired/expected to pay.

As we discussed the complexity of the assignment and some potential reductions in scope of work, they said, “We don’t really care how much this thing is worth specifically, we just need to know if it is worth more than $x.” It turned out that the client was in second position behind a sizeable first. They suspected that there was little or no equity in the asset but needed an appraisal in the file. The client was requesting bids for a “full appraisal” because that is what they were accustomed to ordering. However, they had no need for the detailed analysis of a traditional “complete” appraisal that provides a specific value reported in summary format.

Here was an opportunity to serve a good client by giving them what they need instead of what they asked for. At the same time, it provided an opportunity to expand my options with this client regarding the services that I can provide as a professional appraiser. I explained that by definition, an appraisal can be expressed as a “specific amount, as a range of numbers, or as a relationship (e.g., not more than, not less than) to a previous value opinion or numerical benchmark (e.g., assessed value, collateral value).” In this case, the amount of the first trust deed would serve as the benchmark. We also discussed the question they were asking: “Is the property worth more or less than $x?” The client agreed that the majority of a traditional appraisal was extraneous to the question. I also explained that despite the negative connotation of the term “restricted,” in this case, a restricted-use appraisal report is acceptable for the intended use and intended user of this assignment. Honestly, my client was hesitant because, like most clients and many appraisers, they are not familiar with the concept of a limited scope, restricted-use assignment.

I spent some additional time and eventually went in to their office to discuss this and future assignments with a similar intended use. Ultimately the client agreed that a restricted-use appraisal report with a limited scope of work is appropriate for their needs. The next day, I delivered a two-page narrative appraisal (plus a certification page and a few client specific documents) using the amount of the first trust deed as a benchmark for the valuation. After completing my research and analysis, I concluded that the subject market value was less than the defined benchmark. I wrote the narrative report from scratch in less than 30 minutes. Not including the time I spent visiting the client (which I consider marketing) I completed the assignment in about 2.5 hours. The $250 fee for this appraisal is well within the client’s expected range.

Re-printed from www.workingre.com online – serving real estate professionals for over 10 years.

Quick and Easy Decorating Ideas for Home Staging

We all wish we could give our homes an overhaul and completely stage our homes when selling, but most of us either can’t afford it or don’t want to deal with the hassles. Fortunately, there are small changes we can all do that make a big difference. Best of all, these decorating ideas for home staging can be done for very little money.

Hardware

Hardware is like jewelry. Whether it’s on cabinets, furniture or large doors, hardware can have a big impact. Changing an outdated knob to something more decorative can instantly change the look of the room. While you’re at it, install new light switch plates for a similar effect.

Lampshades

People tend to give a lot of thought to the lamps they put in their rooms, but not to the shades. Just because a particular shades comes with a lamp it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the best one. To give your room a quick update, change the shape or color of your lampshades.

Paint

Nothing says “easy update” like paint. Paint an entire room, an accent wall, kitchen and bathroom cabinets or a piece of furniture. Paint has the power to instantly transform items. Best of all, it’s inexpensive and easy to do. Using white-painted furniture is a tried and true tactic for freshening a room, but don’t forget its opposite. A coat of satiny black paint can revive tired furnishings and lend a chic, dramatic flair to just about any space. Painting an old piece black immediately updates it.

Reupholster

Reupholstering a sofa or large chair can be costly, but recovering chair seats can be done on a budget. Try recovering your dining room chair seats. A bold pattern or color can make a great focal point. You can also purchase affordable slipcovers for the sofa and loveseat at surefit.com.

New Bedding in the Master Bedroom

If you feel like you’re not a designer and you’re not good at pulling together a room, just go to a great bedding store, buy bedding and from the bedding, pull out a paint color and get matching window treatments. It will instantly look like a high-end hotel suite, and it’s a no brainer.

Window Treatments

Lighten up heavy, dated curtains with simple curtain panels that reach the floor and new, sleek curtain rods. Choose curtain rods no bigger than one inch in diameter. The goal is to showcase the curtains, not the rod. The Allen + Roth Sienna rod ($45 at Lowe’s) has the right dimensions, an antiqued finish and cute brackets. If windows are narrow, extend curtain rods a foot or so on each side to suggest width. If your ceilings are low, hang rods at the ceiling line and consider window treatments with vertical stripes to create the illusion of height. Add texture to the space by adding woven wood blinds. Target carries faux wood blinds for under $30 and you can install them yourself (yes you can!). Big bang for your buck. What do you do when the windows look bare but you can’t stand blocking out that gorgeous light? Beautiful sheers do the trick every time. Sheer genius.

Rearrange Furniture

The easiest and cheapest way to update a room — any room — is to rearrange the furniture. Sometimes it’s all you need to give your space a completely updated look that buyers will love. When it comes to easy decorating ideas for home staging it can’t be beat. It’s easy, fun and completely free.

DIY home staging can be fun and rewarding, especially when you get your house sold faster than your competition, but be sure to consult with a professional home stager if you are not absolutely sure that your home looks ready to sell.

Feng Shui Staging Tips
Make Your Front Door Welcoming

Energy enters your home at the front door, so invite it in! Make your door stand out by painting it a color that contrasts with your home, adding a new welcome mat and flanking the door with yellow flowers. Choose plants with rounded leaves as sharp leaves can appear aggressive to buyers.

Create a “Room of First Impression”

Buyers generally decide whether they will buy a home in the first 15 seconds they spend there, so you want them to see the best room first. Create a clear path to this room with a runner rug or with eye-catching art and accessories.

Don’t Let Energy Go Down the Drain

If the first thing buyers see when they enter your home is a bathroom, keep the bathroom door closed. Toilets and drains take energy from a room, so keep the toilet lid down and cover drains while not in use.

Rearrange Furniture to Improve Chi

A furniture arrangement can make or break the flow of energy in the room. If the back of a sofa faces the room’s entrance, energy bounces right out. Facing a comfortable sofa toward the entrance of the room will improve energy flow and make buyers feel welcome.

Provide Support

Large furniture such as beds and sofas need a solid wall of support behind them, so don’t place these pieces in front of a window.

Invigorate the Senses

Stimulate your home’s energy with sound be adding wind chimes to the front right corner of your house. This is the buyer’s area of the home, so this accessory might call in your home’s future owner.

Ann Alderson is a Professional Home Stager and Home Selling Strategist in the Tampa Bay area. Join her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/stagingsouthtampa and follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/annalderson

Back-to-School Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Prevent waste and save money this school shopping season.

August 6, 2011

As some households gear up for back-to-school, they might be thinking of the three Rs as reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. For this August, I ask that we re-frame the back-to-school mindset with the three Rs of reduce, reuse and recycle.

For families with children going to school, or adults taking classes, getting prepared and buying supplies (sometimes WAY too many supplies) is part of the routine in August. Please take a moment to examine the following tips for a more earth-friendly approach.

Step 1: Take inventory of what you actually possess. Often, the supplies we have can be used again. Is there still life in that backpack, pencil case, or lunch bag? Did you only use 1/3 of that notebook last year? Do you have enough pens/pencils/crayons/glue or do you really need to buy more? If you do need more, is it necessary to get the package of 50 disposable pens or can you switch to three pens with re-fillable ink?

Step 2: Make a list of those items that you really need to get, i.e., the things you can’t start class without. You can always supplement later as you identify needs.

Step 3: Buy only what you need and be mindful about what you are putting in your cart. When possible, purchase items made from recycled materials—preferably post-consumer recycled. By buying recycled products, you are sending a message that you care about what the products are made of. The more people that buy recycled-product items, the greater the demand is and the more items companies will make from recycled materials! Even big-box stores sell paper, pencils, notebooks, binders and more made from recycled content if you look. Of course, remember to bring your re-usable shopping bag into the store!

The summer is a great time to get supplies for bringing your own lunch, whether to school or work. Don’t “brown bag” it! If you’re bringing your lunch, invest in a high-quality insulated lunch bag that you will want to bring with you. Insulated lunch bags come in many fun and interesting styles and designs these days.

If you’re using disposable plastic bags, now is the time to get reusable containers (metal, glass, or BPA-free plastic) or reusable bags. My family uses reusable sandwich and snack bags by brands such as Reuseit, LunchSkins, SnackTAXI, and Waste Not Saks. They are easy to wash and have proven to be incredibly durable after years of use.

Finally, if you do have any supplies that can’t be re-used, do your best to recycle them! By being mindful about your back-to-school shopping, you can do your little part to help the environment.

Submitted by Nadine Kadell Sapirman