How often do you consider the pH value when choosing your cleaning product for a particular job? Cleaning is an essential part of our daily lives, and we often rely on an array of cleaning products to maintain a healthy and hygienic environment. However, not all cleaning products are created equal, and one critical factor that often goes overlooked is the pH value. Understanding the pH values of your cleaning products is essential for effective cleaning, safety, and protecting various surfaces and materials in your home. In this article, we’ll explore what pH is, why it matters in cleaning, and how to make informed choices when selecting and using cleaning products.
What is pH?
pH, which stands for “potential hydrogen,” is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Values below 7 indicate acidity, with lower numbers indicating stronger acidity, while values above 7 indicate alkalinity, with higher numbers indicating stronger alkalinity.
Understanding pH in Cleaning
1.pH values selection for cleaning Efficacy:
The pH level of a cleaning product plays a crucial role in its cleaning effectiveness. Different stains and surfaces require specific pH levels for optimal cleaning. For example, acidic cleaners (pH below 7) are effective at removing mineral deposits, rust, and soap scum. Alkaline cleaners (pH above 7) work well on grease, oil, and organic stains. Using the wrong pH cleaner can be less effective or even damage the surface you’re cleaning.
2. Surface Compatibility with pH values:
Not all surfaces can withstand extreme pH levels. For instance, strong acids or bases can corrode or etch materials like marble, limestone, and some metals. It’s vital to match the pH of the cleaning product to the surface you’re cleaning to avoid damage. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations or consult experts when in doubt.
3. pH Safety:
Safety is paramount when using cleaning products. Highly acidic or alkaline cleaners can be harmful to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. It’s essential to wear appropriate protective gear like gloves and goggles and ensure good ventilation when using such products. Moreover, keep them out of reach of children and pets.
Common pH Levels in Cleaning Products
> Here’s a general guideline for common pH levels in cleaning products:
> Highly acidic (pH 0-1): Used for removing tough mineral deposits, rust, and limescale. Examples include hydrochloric acid-based toilet bowl cleaners.
> Mildly acidic (pH 2-6): Suitable for descaling and general bathroom cleaning. Vinegar is a common example.
> Neutral (pH 7): Often used for general-purpose cleaning. Water is a neutral substance.
> Mildly alkaline (pH 8-10): Effective on grease and organic stains. Dishwashing detergents typically fall in this range.
> Highly alkaline (pH 11-14): Suitable for heavy-duty cleaning like degreasing ovens and grills. Oven cleaners often have a high pH.
Here’s a look at some common cleaning products and their pH values…
Chlorine Bleach (pH 11-13): One of the top alkaline level products, which means it is highly corrosive, so ensure you test small areas of the surface you want to clean and dilute accordingly. Neat bleach can cause a lot of damage is not used carefully.
Oven Cleaner (pH 11-13): Oven cleaner is the same level as bleach so it will cut through baked on grease and food deposits, but you will need to protect surrounding floors and surfaces during use.
Baking Soda (pH 8-9): Not as corrosive as the first two but baking soda has the benefit of being alkaline enough to tackle grease and dirt around the home while being kinder to surfaces.
Washing up Liquid (pH 7-8): Being relatively neutral, this product is ideal for all your daily cleaning jobs. Most surfaces will not be damaged so it can be used almost anywhere around your home.
Vinegar (pH 3): You would think vinegar would be safe to use anywhere in the home, but it is quite acidic so can cause damage to delicate surfaces like wood and limestone. It is great for removal of lime scale deposits and cleaning your windows to a sparkling, streak-free shine. (Use 1 part water to 1 part white vinegar).
Lemon Juice (pH 3): Like vinegar, lemons are very acidic and will damage delicate surfaces – particularly natural stone. You can use it to scrub drains and if you pop half of one in your microwave for 3 minutes on full power, not only will it smell lovely but cleaning the inside will be easier too.
Toilet bowl cleaner (pH 1-3): This is highly acidic and ideal for removing limescale.
Be sure to read the label carefully and protect your hands with rubber gloves.
Not an immediate solution and it is quite an investment, but take a look into Kangen water systems. This system allows you to choose the pH of your water, depending on whether you are drinking it, using it for beauty purposes, laundry, gardening, or cleaning etc. It’s an excellent non-toxic and safe way to clean your home. Water on the 2.5 setting is a great disinfectant, steriliser, stain remover, and general household cleaner. It’s so safe that Kangen water is used in many Japanese hospitals for cleaning, avoiding all detergents.
Check it out here https://www.kangenaustralia.com.au/en_US/
You can use the Kangen water on its own for cleaning, but you can also mix your own cleaning product using the following ingredients.
• 1/2 tsp washing soda
• 2 tsp borax powder
• 1/2 tsp liquid soap
• 2 cups Strong Kangen Water®
• 10-12 drops of essential oil (optional)
Add all ingredients into a spray bottle, tighten the lid and shake to blend the ingredients.
We hope you find this guide useful and that it helps you avoid any accidental damage by using the wrong product. Knowing your pH values will help you choose smartly. If in doubt, natural products will always be kinder to your home and yourself.