Household cleaners primarily combat greasy dirt. Contrary to laundry- and dishwashing detergents, which have to dissolve different kinds of stains (grease, protein, blod, ink, etc) and guarantee colorfastness respectively shine. Household cleaners are mainly grease dissolvers.
The question suggests itself: can only marketing units be proud of such products?
Soft Soap is the oldest household cleaner. Also this product is still sold by its external appearances. Originally made out of green hempoil, it is presently manufactured from, for example, soy oil or palm oil, just like soap bars. The difference is that oil for soap bars is saponified with NaOH (hard), and for Soft Soap with KOH (soft). It is coloured green on purpose. The green colour and characteristic smell are associated with tradional cleaning power by consumers.
Soft Soap does not work well in hard water because it can not neutralise lime. In hard water, a more acidic all-purpose cleaner is needed.
The oldest liquid all-purpose cleaner is a mixture of lemon juice or acetic acid and water. Acidic environment dissolves chalk and lime scaling. Lime is alkaline; acid and lime neutralize each other to form soluble salts and water.
The cleaners for most of the living- and kitchen surfaces are acidic. A handful of citric acid is already enough to get rid of scaling and corrosive stains on the inside metal of a dish washer.
More sensitive surfaces, such as bath tubs and tiles are damaged by acidic liquids. So in the bath room we find the alkaline versions of the all-purpose cleaner.
For antique furniture, computer displays and other very sensitive surfaces, a moist cloth is still the best cleaner. Perhaps supported by a spray with glass cleaner. Hardly any surfactants are present in glass cleaners, but alcohol (butoxy ethanol) and glycol ether.
The Sirius Effect
One could therefore conclude that household cleaners are nicely packed and promoted versions of the ammonia, alcohol, soap and lemon juice our grand parents were using. But the technological challenge is exactly in that presentation.
Manufacturing clear liquids means that raw materials for household cleaners need to:
• be well soluble
• form no precipitate with other ingredients
• leave behind no stripes after rinsing with water
Sirius understands. That does not mean we are not placed for surprises when customers use raw materials which react with ours, discolouring the household cleaners. But we test and try until your product fulfils the requirements and your desired image, so that we can all be proud of the end result.
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