How do they work?

Discussion in 'Upholstery & Carpet Cleaning' started by trevor toms, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. trevor toms

    trevor toms Member

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    So how do cleaning agents work? There's a good newbie question for you all!!
    Obviously different manufacturers put in their own proprietary additives but the core chemicals must be pretty much the same. I might be talking out of my bottom here but I assume that soap and detergents emulsify the oils and reduce the surface tension between fibre and soil. But what about Microsplitters, enzymes, solvents(probably obvious) and polymer encapsulants (also probably obvious until I think a little deeper)
    This should really be part of basic training, but wasn't.

    We could probably leave that 'colloidal magic' out of the list for the time being!!

    I only ask since I've been using some of these products for the past year and although they work, (some better than others) I don't know why.

    regards,
    trev
     
  2. Ken Wainwright

    Ken Wainwright Member

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    Yes Trev, you are:na:

    It's too early in the morning for Jim to write yet another thesis, so we'll have to wait until later in the day.

    I'm off to work.

    Safe and happy cleaning :smile:
    The Ken
     
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  3. trevor toms

    trevor toms Member

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    :lol:
     
  4. Colin Day

    Colin Day Member

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    Trevor, when I was on my aircraft mechanics course one of the questions was "How does a helicopter fly?"

    One of my mates was told off for putting the answer down as "By shear God's will!"

    I think that may be the answer to your question too....:lol:
     
  5. trevor toms

    trevor toms Member

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    Many years ago, in a former life, an old instructor of mine wrote a report that said "........Toms has an enquiring mind......" . This was, of course, a euphemism for "For %&$£'s sake, stop asking questions will you?"

    :rofl:
     
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  6. John Bolton

    John Bolton Admin

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    Trevor,

    All of the cleaning agents we use are to varying degrees dependant on one or more solvents but the range of additives and their functions are too varied to be dealt with in a simple answer.
     
  7. trevor toms

    trevor toms Member

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    I thought that might be the case, John, but thanks anyway.
     
  8. Trevor Ives

    Trevor Ives Bathams Moderator Moderator

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    In other words if they told you they would have to shoot you.:lol:
     
  9. trevor toms

    trevor toms Member

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    :lol:... Ah well, back to Wiki...........!
     
  10. Chris Hawkes

    Chris Hawkes Member

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    John

    I was on tenterhooks for you answer but am a bit deflated by your answer.

    How about a mini precee on the difference between colloidals, Microsplitters and detergents?

    Come on, its Christmas!!

    Chris
     
  11. Steve Porter

    Steve Porter Moderator

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    How detergents work: Detergents and soaps are used for cleaning because pure water can't remove oily, organic soiling. Soap cleans by acting as an emulsifier. Basically, soap allows oil and water to mix so that oily grime can be removed during rinsing. Detergents were developed in response to the shortage of the animal and vegetable fats used to make soap during World War I and World War II. Detergents are primarily surfactants, which could be produced easily from petrochemicals. Surfactants lower the surface tension of water, essentially making it 'wetter' so that it is less likely to stick to itself and more likely to interact with oil and grease.
    Modern detergents contain more than surfactants. Cleaning products may also contain enzymes to degrade protein-based stains, bleaches to de-color stains and add power to cleaning agents, and blue dyes to counter yellowing. Like soaps, detergents have hydrophobic or water-hating molecular chains and hydrophilic or water-loving components. The hydrophobic hydrocarbons are repelled by water, but are attracted to oil and grease. The hydrophilic end of the same molecule means that one end of the molecule will be attracted to water, while the other side is binding to oil. Neither detergents nor soap accomplish anything except binding to the soil until some mechanical energy or agitation is added into the equation. Swishing the soapy water around allows the soap or detergent to pull the grime away from clothes or dishes and into the larger pool of rinse water. Rinsing washes the detergent and soil away. Warm or hot water melts fats and oils so that it is easier for the soap or detergent to dissolve the soil and pull it away into the rinse water. Detergents are similar to soap, but they are less likely to form films (soap scum) and are not as affected by the presence of minerals in water (hard water).
    Modern detergents may be made from petrochemicals or from oleochemicals derived from plants and animals. Alkalis and oxidizing agents are also chemicals found in detergents. Here's a look at the functions these molecules serve:
    • Petrochemicals/Oleochemicals
      These fats and oils are hydrocarbon chains which are attracted to the oily and greasy grime.
    • Oxidizers
      Sulfur trioxide, ethylene oxide, and sulfuric acid are among the molecules used to produce the hydrophilic component of surfactants. Oxidizers provide an energy source for chemical reactions. These highly reactive compounds also act as bleaches.
    • Alkalis
      Sodium and potassium hydroxide are used in detergents even as they are used in soapmaking. They provide positively charged ions to promote chemical reactions.

    & that's the short version for just ONE type of cleaning agent Chris! Are you not supprised that John didn't fancy writing all that?! As it's near Christmas would you like me to do the same for micrsplitters, colloids, encap products?
     
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  12. Steve Porter

    Steve Porter Moderator

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    Microsplitters
    Micro-splitters work on contact at a micro molecular level and quite literally shatter the bond that holds soil to fibres. The soil particles are released and can be removed with sponges. In fact, micro-splitters can be safely used on all fabrics and do not contain residues that can become sticky or promote rapid re-soiling.
    The unique cleaning process is achieved by ‘MICROSPLITTING' the soil particles. Micro-splitters are a recent development to the carpet cleaning industry. The term micro-splitting is used to describe the way these solutions work. When applied to carpets and upholstery the solutions break the bond between the dirt and fibres, this is achieved by micro-splitting the soil particles without the use of enzymes, detergents or soaps.
    Microsplitters contain no bleaching or optical brighteners but more importantly they are non re-soiling therefore they will not leave any sticky shampoo or detergent residues in your carpet. They will also not adversely affect any factory protected (Scotchgard, Teflon,etc.) or anti static treated carpets.
     
  13. adrian marsh

    adrian marsh Member

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    You show off Mr P:clap:
     
  14. trevor toms

    trevor toms Member

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    Thanks Steve, after Christmas will be just fine!!.....:lol:
    (ps - that is exactly what I was after, ta)
     
  15. Steve Porter

    Steve Porter Moderator

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    Why you cheeky :censored: Trev!
    As you & Colin are both in Britains butt I may kill 2 birds with one stone & bop you both on the nose willst I'm down there:yaa: lol (still one Colin one for some reason, but I can't remember what for...hey ho)
     
  16. John Bolton

    John Bolton Admin

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    Chris & Trevor,

    The Wiki answer above has described soap and detergent action.

    Microsplitters differ in that they shear soil particles from the surface then chemically split the particles into progressively smaller pieces enabling them to be more effectively removed with the water, which is the transport vector.

    Active colloids are nanoparticles that are in a constant ('Brownian') motion. these particles are mutually repulsive so form a three-dimensional matrix, known as a microcelular matrix (micel for short). Bodies such as soil particles, bacteria, viruses ect. that are within this matrix are bombarded by the nanoparticles, invading and breaking them down.

    When there is insufficient water to support this matrix, because each particle carries both a positive and a negative charge they surround the broken-down components of the 'soils' in a similar manner to the way that soaps and detergents would, but the mechanism of attraction is not hydrophilic/hydrophobic but electrical. This micro-encapsulation prevents re-binding to the cleaned surface.

    In all three groups, the solvent involved (water) also contributes to the overall cleaning by dissolving the water-soluble elements of the soils.

    Just a short, incomplete description but hopefully sufficient unto the purpose. (and 20 minutes typing is quite enough)
     
  17. John Bolton

    John Bolton Admin

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    PS.

    If you want more on surfactants, see: http://www.scienceinthebox.com/en_UK/glossary/surfactants_en.html
     
  18. Steve Porter

    Steve Porter Moderator

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    I am offended John
    To think you think I pilfed that from Wiki:pop:

    I'll have you know that it came from a propa science website :yaa: as I couldn't face a Jim Neal type writing session!! (no offence Jim)
     
  19. Ken Wainwright

    Ken Wainwright Member

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    It's turned 9.00pm.

    Jim got home at 4.32pm

    He started typing his answer at 4.47pm.

    It must be one hell of a long post he's writing.

    I'll put down 50p and say that he'll hit the delete button in error, throw the dog out the room, his computer out the window and have a really miserable Christmas.

    Safe and happy typing Jim:coolwink:
    And a very happy Christmas:woohoo:
    Ken
     
  20. John Bolton

    John Bolton Admin

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    Careful Steve!

    I might just miss your chimney tomorrow night :tounge: santa_cheesy.gif
     
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