Acid and alkalis

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Acid and alkalis
Adjust pH. Acidity is useful in removing mineral buildup; alkalinity helps remove acidic, fatty and oily soils.
Examples: acids: acetic acid, phosphoric acid, citric acid; alkalis: ammonium hydroxide, ethanolamines.
Acute Toxicity
Is categorized under WHMIS as:
       Oral - Very Toxic Below 50 mg/kg; Essentially non-toxic above 500 mg/kg.
       Skin - Very Toxic below 200 mg/kg; Essentially non-toxic above 1000 mg/kg. A LC50 is used to
          describe acute inhalation toxicity. It is also used to measure toxicity of chemicals to fish or other
          aquatic organisms.
Antimicrobial Agents
Can destroy bacteria and viruses by interfering with their metabolism or destroying their cell walls. Different
chemical structures can service this purpose, including alcohol, sodium hypochlorite, iodine, pine oil, phenolic
and quaternary ammonium compounds.
Antiredeposition agents
Prevent soil from resettling during cleaning. Normally, used in laundry detergents. Examples: carboxyl methyl
cellulose, polycarboxylates, polyethylene glycol, sodium silicate.
Any chemical agent that is usually applied to living tissue and which renders micro-organisms harmless either
by killing them or by preventing their growth and reproduction.
Aquatic Toxicity
LC50 expresses the toxicity of chemicals to fish or other aquatic organisms. In these aquatic studies, LC refers
to lethal concentration of a chemical dissolved in water. LC means lethal concentration and its units are
milligrams of a chemical per cubic liter of water. Basically what we are measuring is the impact that chemicals
have on fish and bottom of the food chain species like daphnia and the impact on algae growth.
Asphalt Pavers
Black composite flooring most often found in postal facilities. Usually long and narrow, 12x24 inches. Requires
adequate seal and finish coats to prevent dirt entrapment.
Asphalt Tile
Older composite tile produced from 1920-50. Usually 9x9 inch squares in dark colors. This floor tile is extremely
brittle and should always be sealed to prevent color bleeding with subsequent strip-outs.
A natural process by which organic or carbon-containing material is decomposed by microorganisms. A
biodegradable surfactant is rapidly broken down by naturally occurring bacteria.
Black Mark
A mark or blemish to a finish film associated with softer heals or sneakers. With sneakers, this mark may be
white. These marks usually do not affect the film and can be rubbed off by normal traffic.
Help whiten, brighten and remove stains. Examples: sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach), sodium perborate,
sodium percarbonate (oxygen bleach combined with activating agent).
A finish capable of achieving improvement in gloss or general appearance or both by the mechanical action of
a pad and buffing/burnishing machine.
A substance that stabilizes pH (alkalinity). Examples: Complex phosphate builders, sodium carbonate, sodium
Materials that upgrade or protect the cleaning efficiency of the surfactant. Builders function by inactivating
water hardness, supplying alkalinity to assist cleaning, providing buffering to maintain alkalinity, preventing
removed soil from redepositioning during cleaning, and emulsifying oily and greasy soils. Examples: sodium
tripolyphosphate, sodium citrate, sodium carbonate, zeolites.
Chelating Agents
Used in detergent formulations because they inactivate the hardness minerals calcium and magnesium, and
minimize effects of other dissolved metals such as iron and manganese. Example: ethylene diamine tetraacetic
acid (EDTA), sodium citrate and NTA.
Usually describes a condition where film gloss is diminished as a result of an aggressive pad being under a
slower speed machine. May also indicate a build-up of residual detergent or detergent disinfectant improperly
diluted or applied daily through damp mopping.
Cold Floors
A winter condition that must be monitored during seal/finish application. Floor seal/finish properties may be
affected if applied to cold floor surfaces significantly below 50 degrees F.
Corrosion inhibitors
Protect metal machine parts and equipment.
Detergent Disinfectant Resistant
A floor film’s ability to maintain its integrity, gloss and wear resistance properties through normal repeated
cleanings and or disinfection.
DIN Registration Number
The Drug Identification Number (DIN) found on a Canadian produced disinfectant indicating that the
disinfectant meets the Canadian Department of Health and Welfare criteria for disinfecting the stated
pathogens on the label at the prescribed dilution rate. Valid when used in only health care establishments.
The physical resistance felt though the mop when applying a seal/finish to either a stripped surface or on
subsequent coats. Usually implies the previous coat has not dried adequately.
Dry Buffing
A maintenance procedure using a rotary floor machine. This term describes buffing speeds between 175-300
RPM. A dry procedure with either a white or red pad. Note: Buffing should never be done on uncoated tile.
Dry Stripping
Involves the use of a black floor pad and a trigger-sprayed solution of wax stripper to deep clean and
selectively remove the top layer of floor finish. The surface must be rinsed and recoated immediately
Dry Time
The total time required before application of additional coats or opening a floor to normal traffic. Under normal
conditions this time is one half hour after a finish has dried to the touch.
A fine powder associated with high-speed burnishing. Results from burnishing finishes that are not designed for
high speed burnishing maintenance. Can also result from an aggressive pad used under a slower speed
The dispersion or suspension of the particles of one liquid in another immiscible liquid. The principal agent in
emulsification is a surfactant.
Catalyze destruction of specific types of soils like starches, greases and proteins for removal by detergent.
Examples: amylase, lipase, protease, etc.
EPA Establishment Number
Found on products registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as pesticides. Identifies the
manufacturing location of the EPA registered products.
EPA Registration Number
Found on products registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as pesticides (insecticides,
sanitizers, disinfectants and herbicides). The first group of numbers identifies the primary registrant, the second
group the product number, and the third group the supplemental registrant.
Extenders or fillers
Do not improve detergency of the product. Their purpose is to dilute the concentrated product. Sometimes they
are added to improve the free-flowing characteristics of powder. Examples: water, sodium sulfate, sodium
chloride (table salt).
Fabric softening agents
Soften and control static electricity in fabrics. Example: quaternary ammonium compounds.
Film Thickness
Relates to the number of coats of seal and finish applied to a floor.
Fish Eyes
An inadequate wetting/leveling condition, similar in appearance to roping. Marks are circular in appearance,
normally caused by a foreign substance, usually oil-based.
A reversible process in which a number of emulsion droplets stick together to form a cluster or clumps which
can be broken up by mechanical action restoring the emulsion to its original form.
Fluorescent whitening agents or optical brighteners
Enhance brightness. Examples: stilbene disulfonates, coumarin derivatives.
Mask odors of other ingredients and provide brand identity and fresh scent.
Any chemical that kills stated microorganisms.
GRAM (Negative)
Refers to chemical difference in certain bacteria which shows up by The Gram staining procedure, which uses
crystal violet and iodine. These bacteria stain red. Pseudonomas and salmonella are examples of GRAM
negative bacterial.
GRAM (Positive)
Refers to chemical difference in certain bacteria which shows up by The Gram staining procedure. These
bacteria stain blue. Staph and strep are examples of GRAM positive bacterial.
High-Speed Buffing
Normally a dry, buffing process utilizing a white pad and machine speeds of 1000 RPM. Used in conjunction
with medium hardness films to restore gloss. Spray buffing at this speed is not a recommended unless a
thorough pre-cleaning is done. Note: High-speed buffing should never be done on uncoated tile.
High-Speed Burnishing
A dry process utilizing specialty pads and machine speeds in excess of 1000-1500 RPM to maintain a wet-look
shine. Use on finish films of adequate depth formulated to resist powdering at these super-high speeds.
Contrary to certain claims, this process does not melt or fuse floor finish layers into one thick coat. Note: High-
speed burnishing should never be done on uncoated tile.
Honed Marble
Marble that has been ground with a decreasing size grit to provide a smooth, usually not finished, surface. In
some installations, the final grinding procedure is done after installation of the tile.
Ensure product homogeneity by preventing liquids from separating. Examples: cumene sulfonates, ethanol,
toluene sulfonates, xylene sulfonates.
Leveling or Mop Marks
Wet-floor finish that does not appear to even out after application, and mop marks that remain after drying. This
condition is caused by improper rinsing or the use of a so-called stripper neutralizer. When recoating, this
condition may occur if the existing finish is not cleaned or subsequently rinsed prior to recoat.
A hard seal or finish that can not be maintained by buffing, spray buffing or burnishing. Maintenance of this type
surface is through scrub rinse and recoat.
Oxidizing agents
Materials that liberate oxygen under mild conditions. The term includes such chemicals as peroxides, chlorates,
perchlotes, nitrates and permaganates.
PCP Registration Number
The Pest Control Products Act (PCP) number found on a Canadian produced disinfectant indicating that the
disinfectant meets the Canadian Department of Agriculture’s criteria for disinfecting the stated pathogens on
the label at the prescribed dilution rate. Valid when used in all other areas except health-care establishments.
A chemical symbol expressing the degree of acidity or alkalinity of cleaning solution. The pH scale runs from 0-
14, with 7 indicating neutrality. The numbers increase as alkalinity increases and decrease as acidity rises.
A term used to describe a carbolic acid disinfectant compound. Wide germicidal action on bacterial, viruses,
fungi, mold, mildew, and effective against tuberculosis.
Polished Marble
Initial treatment is similar to honed marble, however the final step in preparing this flooring involves treatment
with acid to seal and glaze the tile providing a super high gloss surface that many finishes will not adhere to.
A physical breakdown of floor finish film caused by various conditions, including:
       Buffing or burnishing a non-buff finish
       Buffing or burnishing a seal
       Poor cleaning procedures leaving excess soil or sand, which abrades the film
       Improper rinsing of a stripped floor
Protect products from oxidation, discoloration and bacterial attack. Examples: butylated hydroxytoluene,
ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), glutaraldehyde.
Commonly called quats. These are often cationic surfactants, many of which have disinfecting, deodorizing and
detergent properties. Derived from the ammonium action.
Reducing agents
(Oxygen bleaches) are chemicals that cause another substance to be reduced and is oxidized itself at the
same time. Examples: Sodium perborate, hydrogen peroxide.
The floor finish property associated with detergent/disinfectant resistance that, while resistant to repeated
cleanings, will come off a floor with specifically formulated strippers. Note: Strippers should never be
substituted for regular cleaning products.
An inadequate leveling problem associated with either poor rinsing of a stripped floor, especially where there is
excessive gaps between tiles that hold stripper residue. This condition appears as though the wet finish is
pulling away from the tile seam.
A term applied to a chemical or formulation that reduces pathogenic organisms to humanly acceptable levels.
Dependent upon the number of microorganisms present, the 0.001% survivors may be enough to cause cross
contamination or nosocomial infections in susceptible hosts. Generally used on food contact surfaces and
specified by USDA or local Health Departments.
The process of converting fat into soap by treating it with alkali.
Similar to scuffs, however, scratches are usually deeper and occur on harder films. Severe scratches require
thorough scrub and recoat to restore the finish integrity.
A mark to a softer finish film caused by heels, furniture moving, or excessive soil trackage. Can usually be
removed by spray buffing or burnishing if an adequate finish base exists.
Slip Resistance
A measurement of floor films’ coefficient of friction acceptable in providing a safe walking surface. Evaluation of
slip resistance is done according to ASTM Method D-2047. According to this industry standard, a coefficient of
friction reading of 0.5 is acceptable as indication of a safe floor film.
The wear and gloss producing portion of a finish or seal that remains on the floor after all water and film
forming plasticizers have evaporated.
Prevent separation or deterioration in liquids and dissolve organic soils. Examples: ethanol, isoprophyl alcohol,
propylene glycol.
Spray Buffing
Same speeds and pads as buffing, but incorporates the use of a liquid cleaner/polish to provide light duty
cleaning and gloss restoration. Blue pads are occasionally used for deeper cleaning. This procedure should not
be used as a maintenance system substitution for proper cleaning. Spray buffing with machines running over
300 RPM significantly reduces cleaning ability.
The process employed to destroy every form of germ life, including that of bacterial spores. Few chemical, if
any - as used in practical disinfection, are actually sterilizing agents. Sterilization is effective usually by means
of superheated steam (in autoclave) although it can be achieved also by a combination of heat and chemical
A condition describing seal or finish application usually associated with inadequate rinsing of stripper residue or
use of a dirty mop. These residues prevent the finish leveling agents from evening the wet finish prior to
initiation of the film formation/drying process. Streaking also can result from the use of fans to dry finish with
excessive airflow directed toward the wet finish.
Suds control agents
Stabilize or suppress sudsing. Examples of stabilizers: alkanolamides, alkylamine oxides, suppressors: alkyl
phosphates, silicones, soap.
Surface tension
A measure of the molecular forces existing at the surface (air-liquid interface) of a liquid. It is measured in
dynes/cm and reduced by surface-active agents.
Alter tension at the interface between water and the surface to be cleaned. Examples of anionic: linear
alkylbenzene sulfonates; nonionic: alcohol ethoxylates; cationic: quaternary ammonium compounds;
ampohoteric imidazolines, betaines.
A surfactant can help accomplish six basic functions: it can help to decrease surface tension, facilitate soil
removal, suspend materials (solubilize and emulsify), stabilize foam, absorb on surfaces to alter properties of
the surface (e.g. fabric softening), and act as a biocide.
Swirl Marks
Usually caused by the use of an aggressive pad combined with a slower machine speed. Noticed on softer
finish. Often used to describe uneven gloss restoration with high-speed buffing or burnishing.
A fad term often used to identify a floor film capable of being used as part of a high-speed burnishing program.
The actual definition is a material that will flow, deform or become plastic” when heated without changing its
chemical properties. This property is inherent to a floor film throughout its life, regardless of age.
Ultra High-Speed Burnishing
Same basic process as high-speed burnishing with machine speeds in excess of 2000 RPM.
Vinyl Asbestos Tile
A 12x12 inch composition tile produced from the mid 1950s through the 1980s. It incorporates asbestos fiber
as both a filler and binding agent. Extremely durable. Note: Based on EPA guideline, the flooring should never
be dry buffed or burnished if uncoated.
Vinyl Composition Tile
Similar to vinyl asbestos tile in size and appearance. Produced from the late 1960s to the present. Asbestos
fillers replaced by alternate materials. Due to lack of customer knowledge regarding tile specifics, many
assume vinyl composition to be vinyl asbestos.
Traditionally, a misused term to describe an alleged performance problem. Unless a severe powdering or
adhesion problem exists, finished floors do not walk-off.” Typically, this term is used to describe gloss loss due
to either non-response to buffing/burnishing or lack of adequate floor finish coats due to traffic wear.
Water hardness
A measure of the soluble salts, principally those of calcium and magnesium and sometimes iron and
manganese-that when present in water in sufficient amounts create cleaning problems. Hardness is usually
expressed in parts per million of calcium carbonate and generally reduces the ability of surfactants to perform
their cleaning function. Based on the American Iron and Steel Institute data, up to 120 ppm of calcium
carbonate is considered soft water, 121-180 is hard water and above 180 ppm is considered very hard water.
Wet-look Shine
A level of gloss produced with high-speed or ultra high-speed burnishing programs. An important requirement
of maintaining this gloss level is regular cleaning and recoating to assure proper film thickness.
Wetting agent
A substance, which when added to a liquid, increases its spreading and penetrating power by lowering the
surface tension. Its effectiveness is measured by the increase in spread of a liquid over a surface area. Wetting
agents are all surfactants