Cleaning Glossary

The following alphabetical listing covers frequently used terms in the cleaning industry.

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Item Description
Abrasion The wearing away or cleaning of a surface by friction, such as by using scoruing creams or pads. Abrasion can also refer to the wearing away of a floor finish by the use of a rotary floor polisher.
Abrasive A product that works by abrasion. Carborundum, silica and glass powder are all well known abrasives. Products such as cream cleaners, polishes and scouring pads may contain an abrasive.
Abrasive Nylon Mesh Discs These discs are circular and are supplied in a wide range of diameters to fit most makes of floor maintenance machine. They consist of nylon fabric mesh coated with resin-bonded silicon carbide.
Absorbency The ability of one material to take up another.
Accelerator A substance which increases the speed of a chemical reaction. By common use, the name has become associated with two-pot surface coating materials. The accelerator usually occupies the smaller container and must be added to the larger container (the base) before use.
Acetone A volatile flammable dry solvent used primarily to dissolve synthetic resins, such as nail polish, acrylic paint, etc
Acid A compound that ionizes in water to produce hydrogen ions. It readily donates protons to other substances and, when dissolved in water, creates solutions that conduct electricity (as in car batteries), taste sour (lemon juice!) and turns litmus paper red. Inorganic acids (sometimes called mineral acids) include sulphuric, nitric, hydrochloric and phosphoric and these are commonly used in toilet cleaners and descalers. Organic acids include acetic (found in vinegar), oxalic, and citric. Rust removers also contain various proportions of the above acids.
Acrylic Resins Manufactured from acrylic acid. They are transparent, water-white and thermoplastic. An acrylic resin conveys the characteristics of toughness, lightness of colour and excellent water resistance.
Active Ingredients The ingredients in a product that are specifically formulated to achieve the performance objectives of the product concerned.
Adhesion One characteristic of soilage or films which causes them to stick or bond to surfaces making them difficult to remove.
Aerobe A microbe that requires the presence of oxygen for growth.
Aerobic Using oxygen for respiration.
Aliphatic Solvents They are also referred to as 'straight chain' or 'open chain' solvents. Paraffin and white spirits are both examples of aliphatic solvents.
Alkali - Soluble Resin A resin soluble in an alkaline solution. Widely used in water emulsion floor waxes.
Alkaline A material with a pH above neutral (7.0).
Alkyd Varnishes Manufactured from glycerol. They are normally pale in colour and and dry rapidly to a glossy, durable film with excellent adhesion. They are used in many interior, exterior and stoving paints and to a lesser extent in floor seals.
All-resin Emulsion Wax An emulsion wax manufactured entirely from resin constituents. The term applies particularily to those waxes which consist of a synthetic wax, which could be called a resin, an alkali-soluble resin and a polymer, which is also a resin. The term 'all-resin' is intended to distinguish this type of material from an emulsion floor wax containing a natural wax, an alkali-soluble resin and a polymer.
Altro A brand of non-slip safety flooring.
Ammonia An alkaline gas composed of nitrogen and hydrogen. Aqueous solutions of with 5-10% ammonia are sold as household ammonia.
Amphoteric Surfactant A surfactant that, in water solution, may be either anionic, cationic or nonionic depending upon the pH factor of the product.
Anaerobe A microbe that only grows or grows best in the absence of oxygen.
Anaerobic Using no oxygen for respiration.
Anhydrous A product that has had all of the water removed - literally 'without water'.
Anionic Surfactant Negatively charged part of a molecule. Anionic surfactants are widely used in high-foaming detergents such as hand dishwashing liquids.
Anti re-deposition Agent An ingredient used in detergents to help prevent soil from re-depositing on surfaces or fabrics. Sodium carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) is the most widely used.
Antiseptic An agent that destroys bacteria or prevents their growth.
Aseptic Free from bacteria.
ATP Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is present in all organic material, and is the universal unit of energy used in all living cells. ATP is produced and/or broken down in metabolic processes in all living systems. Processes such as photosynthesis in plants, muscle contraction in humans, respiration in fungi and fermentation in yeast are all driven by ATP. Therefore, most foods and microbial cells will contain some level of naturally occurring ATP. ATP testing systems use this bioluminescence to detect residual ATP as an indicator of surface cleanliness. The presence of ATP on a surface indicates improper cleaning and the presence of contamination, including food residue, allergens and/or bacteria. This implies a potential for the surface to harbor and support bacterial growth.
AUDE The Association of University Directors of Estates
Autoclave An apparatus for sterilisation by steam at high pressure.
Bacteria One-celled microscopic orgamisms, multiplying rapidly by splitting in two.
Bactericide A substance capable of destroying bacteria.
Bacteriostat A substance which has the power of preventing bacteria from multiplying.
Base One component of a two-pot surface coating material. It ususally occupies the larger container of the two pots. It will not, by itself, form a film and requires the addition of an accelerator before use.
Benchmarking The activity of comparing a particular process or result in one organisation with the equivalent in others. The monitoring of activities and information to identify best practice.
Best Value The concept introduced by the Government to replace competitive cumpulsory tendering (CCT). It challenges public sector organisations to demonstrate they are providing, or procuring, a value for money service rather than that of least cost. Best value applies the following four criteria to the review process: challenge, compare, compete and consult.
BICSc The British Institute of Cleaning Science. A UK organisation that works to improves standards of cleaning through education.
BIFM The British Institute of Facilities Management.
Biodegradable The ability of a substance to be broken down into simpler, smaller parts by a biological process. Many plastics are not readily biodegradeable. It is a property of a 'highly-biodegadeable' substance that they take greater quantities of oxygen to enable them to break down.
Bleach A product that cleans, whitens, removes stains and brightens fabrics.
Boiling Point The temperature at which a liquid chages to a gaseous state at a given pressure. Liquids under pressure have higher boiling points than similar liquids boiled openly. Have temperature steam cleaners have pressurised boilers in order that the water contained in them boils at a much higher temperature, typically 140 - 160 degrees C - much as in a car radiator.
Botulism Poisoning due to ingesting flesh or dying vegetation which has been infected with Bacillus botulinus (Clostridium botulinum).
BS13549 The British Standard for quality measuring systems used in the cleaning industry.
Bucket A tool used to carry water or cleaning solution by window cleaners or general cleaners.
Bucket on a Belt A bucket on a belt is used to carry applicators and squeegees in a holster on a belt thus providing a hands - free facility to work easier and quicker esspecially working from a ladder.
Buffable Floor Wax A floor wax, which, when buffed will give a greater gloss than when not. The wax can be rebuffed from time to time, as required.
Build up A heavy deposit of floor polish, wax, dirt and grime. It is caused by adding layer after layer of floor polish over dirt without removing the old layers first. It can also be caused simply by using far to much polish or dressing. These build-ups are commonly found along skirting boards and in room corners.
Builder A material that upgrades or protects the cleaning efficiency of a surfactant. Commonly found in laundry powders, builders inactivate water hardness, supply alkalinity to assist cleaning, provide buffering to maintain alkalinity, prevents re-deposition of soil and emulsification of oily and greasy soils.
Button Polish A solution of button lac in an alcohol solvent, usually of the methylated spirit type. Button lac is produced from shellac, the excretion of an insect and is so called because, when the raw shellac is refined, the end product has the appearance of buttons.
Calcium Carbonate An inorganic compound that occurs naturally as chalk and limestone. Its very slight solubility in water is a chief cause of "hardness" in water and can in extreme cases make water milky and give it an unpleasantly astringent taste.
Catalyst An element or compound that accelerates the rate of a chemical reaction but is neither changed nor consumed by it.
Cationic Surfactant A surfactant with a positively charged ionic group. The most common cationic surfactants are known as quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC's) such as alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride and are widely used as disinfectants.
Caustic Strong alkaline substance which irritates the skin and can cause severe burns.
Celsius A synonym for Centigrade. OC is the freezing and 100C is the boiling temperature of water. The scale between is divided into 100 equal parts, each called a degree.
Centigrade See Celsius
Ceramic Tile Clay tile with an impervious, usually glossy, layer on the surface. Very tough and hard-wearing.
Chemical Reaction Any change which alters the chemical properties of a substance or which forms a new substance. During a chemical reaction, products are formed from reactants.
Chemical Symbol A shorthand way of representing an element in formula and equations. Hydrogen is 'H' and Oxygen 'O', for example.
Chemistry The study of substances, what they are made of and how they work chemically. It is divided into three main branches - physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry.
Chlorine Bleach A group of strong oxidizing agents commonly sold in an approximately 5% solution of sodium hypochlorite, although strong thickened bleaches can go as high as 11% solution. Should only be used with COLD water - hot water simply evaporates the active ingredient! Care should be taken to never mix bleach with any acid product or indeed any other chemical as this can liberate toxic chlorine gas.
CHSA The Cleaning and Hygiene Suppiers Association Code of Practice.
CINTO Cleaning Industry National Training Organisation
Cleaning is defined as 'locating, identifying, containing, removing and disposing of unwanted substances from the environment.' It is our most effective means of managing our immediate surroundings and protecting our health.
Cloud Point The temperature at which a surfactant becomes insoluble in water. This becomes important when designing detergents for use in hot water.
Coagulation An irreversible process in which a number of emulsion droplets coalesce, leading to complete separation of the emulsion. Often caused by excessive cooling or storage in cold places.
Colloid A type of solution in which the particles are not dissolved but are dispersed throughout the solvent or medium and held in suspension.
Compatibility The ability of two or more substances to mix without objectionable changes in their physical or chemical properties.
Compound A combination of two or more elements, having different physical and chemical properties from the elements it is made of. Compounds are often difficult to split into their elements and can only be separated by chemical reactions.
Concept 2o A leading brand of pure water window cleaning equipment.
Concrete A mixture of sand, gravel, Portland cement and water that forms a very hard surface when dry. It is one of the most common floor types found in buildings. It has been in use for at least two thousand years!
COPC The Cleaning Operators Proficiency Certificate produced by BICSc.
Copolymer A very large complex molecule formed by the reaction together of a great number of the small molecules of different types. An example is vinyl acetate-acrylate copolymer, a material used in adhesives.
Corrosion The slow wearing away of a solid mass (especially metals), by chemical attack.
Corrosion Inhibitor A material that protects against the wearing away of surfaces. Sodium silicate is a corrosion inhibitor commonly used in detergents.
COSHH Stands for the Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health the legislation that covers the safe use of potentially hazardous substances such as cleaning chemicals.
CSSA The Cleaning and Support Services Association is the UK trade association serving the cleaning industry.
CUBO Conference of University Business Officers.
Culture Growing microbes on a nutrient plate.
Cure Frequently used in the same sense as the word 'harden'. The word is usually used in connection with materials hardened by artificial means, such as a chemical reaction or stoving at high temperature. It is not used in connection with air-drying materials.
Defoamers Substance used to reduce or eliminate foam, commonly found in carpet shampoos that are formulated for use in soil extraction machines.
Delamination The separation of layers in a laminate through the failure of the adhesion between them.
Deodourant A chemical capable of eliminating or minimising unwanted odours.
Detergent A washing and cleaning agent with a composition other than soap. Detergents unlike soaps are less sensitive to minerals in water.
Diffusion The spontaneous and even mixing of gases or liquids.
Dilute To reduce in strength by addition of water or other appropriate solvent. Many concentrated cleaning chemicals need to be diluted before use.
Dilution The ratio that a chemical cleaning product is mixed with water.
Disinfectant Any compound which will destroy micro-organisms although carbolic acid (phenol) is one of the best known. Developments in this field have produced a large number of more effective and safer to handle alternatives.
Dispersing Agent A material that reduces the cohesive attraction between like particles, sometimes used to ensure even and thorough coating of a surface.
Distilled Water Water which has had salts removed by distillation. It is very pure, but does contain some dissolved gases.
Driers Used to accelerate the drying or hardening process in carpet cleaning or floor maintenance procedures.
Dry-bright Normally refers to water-based floor wax, which, on application will dry with a glossy appearance. Also known as self-gloss emulsion waxes.
Drying The process of hardening. Two stages are normally apparent in the drying process: Touch dry - the stage at which the film will not mark when pressed lightly with a finger. It has hardened sufficently, that it will not retain dust or dirt. Hard dry - the stage at which the seal or polish is sufficently hard to withstand traffic.
Dusting This term is normally applied to concrete floors, and refers to the disintergration of the surface layer into fine particles of dust.
Efflorescent Describes a crystal which loses part of its water of crystallization to the air. A powdery coating is left on its surface. The forming of a white powdery substance on the surface of concrete or brick is an example.
EFQM Eurpoean Foundation for Quality Management is a membership based, not for profit organisation, created in 1998 by four leading European businesses.
Eggshell finish Subdued gloss of a surface coating material.
Electrolytes Substances capable of conducting an electric current, either in their pure liquid state or when in solution. Acids, bases and salts are all electrolytes.
Electrostatic Attraction Attractive force between two oppositely charged ions.
Electrostatic Duster A synthetic fibre duster, which, because it generates static electricity when moved, retains dust particles.
Elements A pure substance that cannot be broken down into smaller substances. Elements are considered the building blocks of all matter. There are just over 100 known elements classified in the periodic table, with several of the more exotic elements being only created for milliseconds in laboratories.
Elements, Compounds and Mixtures These are the three main types of chemical substances. All substances are made of elements, and most are a combination of two or more elements.
EMS Estates Management Statistics. The data provided by Directors of Estates or Finance including that of cleaning services.
Emulsification The action of breaking up fats, oils and other soils into small particles which are then suspended in a solution.
Emulsifying agent A chemical which stops the separation of components in an emulsion.
Emulsion The suspension of one liquid within another which will usually not blend together. They emulsify with the use of an emulsifying agent.
Emulsion Waxes (a) Two component systems. A blend of water/wax emulsion and an alkali-soluable resin or shellac. they may or may not dry with a glossy appearance. An increased gloss can be obtained by buffing. (b) Three component systems. A blend of a water/wax emulsion and an alkali-soluable resin or shellac and a synthetic polymer resin emulsion. Examples of polymer resins commonly used in the polish industry are polystyrene and acrylates. The water/wax emulsion, alkali- soluable resin and synthetic polymer resin emulsion can be blended in almost any proportions to give emulsion waxes with a variety of properties
Enzyme Protein molecules produced within an organism that are used as catalysts for biochemical reactions. Often present in laundry powders and increasingly so in specialised cleaning compounds.
Epoxy resin A synthetic resin made essentially from petrolium derivatives. It is usually supplied in a two pot form when used in a floor seal. The base componenent consists of the epoxy resin while the accelerator may be one of a variety of chemicals. In a solvent-free form it is used for floor laying purposes.
Etch A chemically caused change on the outside of a smooth floor surface which causes the floor to be pitted or rough. Etching is often used to pre-treat floors prior to sealing and polishing.
Ettore A manufacturer of window cleaning equipment.
Eutrophication An overgrowth of aquatic plants caused by an excess of nitrates, nitrites and phosphates. It results in a shortage of oxygen in the water, causing the death of aquatic life.
Evaporation A change of state from liquid to gaseous (vapor), due to the escape of molecules from the surface. A liquid which evaporates readily is described as volatile.
EWG Expert Working Group. A team of practitioners within a specific sector who are tasked to produce a report.
Exothermic Reaction A reaction in which heat is given off to the surroundings as the products of the reaction are formed. The addition of high concentrations of sodium hydroxide to water produces an exothermic reaction.
Farenheit Temperature scale on which water freezes at 32F and boils at 212F.
Film A very thin layer of a substance which, in the case of a floor seal, is usually between 5/1000in and 10/1000in thick.
Finishing Coat This term is normally applied to a surface coating material used as the top coat of a painting or sealing system ususally over a priming coat or undercoat.
Flammable The risk of explosion from a product with a low flash point.
Flashing A phenomenon associated with matt paints and seals. It describes the alternate matt and gloss striation effects sometimes left by brushmarks, instead of the uniform matt finish which should be obtained.
Flashpoint The minimum temperature at which a liquid gives off a vapour in sufficient concentration to ignite when tested.
Flocculation A reversible process in which a number of emulsion droplets stick together to form a cluster which can be broken up by mechanical action restoring the emulsion to its original form.
Freeze-Thaw Stability This property is normally associated with water emulsion floor waxes and water paints and is the resistance of the material to repeated freezing and thawing.
FTE Full-time equivalent.
Gas Form of Matter A gas has no shape, diffuses readily, and assumes the full-volume shape of any closed container. Gas molecules are widely distributed and can move in any direction. Gas is the third state of matter, the other two being solid and liquid.
GIA Gross Internal Area. The total internal area of a room, department or building measured to the internal face of the perimeter walls. Often used as a basis for cost per square metre analysis.
Hard Water Water which contains calcium and magnesium salts that have dissolved from the rocks over which the water has flowed. Water that does not contain these salts is called soft water. There are two types of hardness -temporary hardness, which can be removed relatively easy and permanent hardness, which is more difficult to remove.
Homogeneous Describes a substance which is the same throughout in its properties and composition.
Humidity A measure of moisture in the atmosphere. It depends on the temperature and is higher in warm air than cold air. Can affect the drying of paints and cause 'bloom' on paint surfaces..
Hydramaster A leading brand of carpet cleaning machines and chemicals.
Hygroscopic Describes a substance which can absorb up to 70% of its own mass of water vapour. Such a substance becomes damp, but does not dissolve. Alcohol is one such substance.
In-vitro Test conditions which artificially simulate actual in-use conditions.
Incubation period The time between exposure to a pathogenic organism and the onset of disease.
Insolubility The inability of one substance to dissolve in another.
Ions An electrically charged particle, formed when an atom loses or gains one or more electrons to form a stable outer shell. All ions are either cations or anions.
ISSA The International Sanitary Supply Association. An organisation based in the US which has published, amongst other things, typical productivity rates for 447 individual cleaning tasks.
Karcher A brand of commercial cleaning equipment including pressure washers and floorcare.
KPI Key Performance Indicators. Qualitative and quantitive measures which can be used to measure performance over time and against other organisations.
Ledger Extra long handled squeegee , with a bend to reach all the way to the bottom of the glass when doing pole work
Liquid Form of Matter - A liquid assumes the shape of its container. The molecules of a liquid are in constant motion and do not have the fixed arrangement found in solids.
Matter Any substance that has mass (weight) and occupies space. It exists in any of three forms including a solid, liquid or gas.
Microbore Small bore hose favoured by a lot of WFP users.
Milking Oxidised paintwork on window frames comes off during window cleaning leaving milky stain on glass
Miscibility A term often used interchangeably with solubility. It is the ability of a liquid or gas to dissolve uniformly in another liquid or gas. For example ink is highly miscible in water.
Mixture A blend of two or more elements and/or compounds which are not chemically combine. A mixture can usually be separated into its elements or compounds fairly easily by physical means.
Molecules The smallest particle of an element or compound that normally exists on its own and still retains its properties. Molecules normally consist of two or more atoms bonded together. Some molecules have thousands of atoms. Ionic compounds consist of ions and do not have molecules.
MRSA Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus is found on many individuals skin and usually causes no major problems. However if it gets inside the body, for instance under the skin or into the lungs, it can cause important infections such as boils or pneumonia. Individuals who carry this organism are usually totally healthy, have no problems whatever and are considered simply to be carriers of the organism. The term MRSA is used to describe those examples of this organism that are resistant to commonly used antibiotics. Methicillin was an antibiotic used many years ago to treat patients with Staphylococcus aureus infections. It is now no longer used except as a means of identifying this particular type of antibiotic resistance.
Neutral A chemical state that is neither acid nor alkali. A pH of 7 is considered neutral, with 0 and 14 being the extremes.
Neutral Cleaner A floor cleaner that has a pH that is compatible with the finish to be cleaned. Generally this means a pH of between 7-9. Higher pH floor cleaners can attack the floor finish and dull it, which is why cleaning chemicals used for floor cleaning should be diluted correctly!
Non-ionic Surfactant A surface active agent that contains neither positively or negatively charged functional groups. These surfactants have been found to be especially effective in removing oily soil.
NP's Nonyl phenyl ethoxylates are surfactants that become more toxic as they biodegrade and have a severe effect on the environment, even in small quantities. Nonyl phenol is listed on the EU website as being one of the 32 most dangerous marine pollutants but they are still in use by some chemical manufacturers.
NVQ National Vocational Qualifications.
Output specification. A document setting out the required standard in terms of how the results of cleaning should look. eg Free of dirt, dust and debris.
Oxidation To combine with oxygen. Slow oxidation is typified by the rusting of iron or steel, verdigris on copper or white deposit on aluminium.
pH A measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. It is expressed in a number from 0-14. Zero being a powerful acid and 14 being a powerful alkali. Distilled water is a 7.
Phosphates A substance that is added to a detergent to increase its water softening ability.
Physical Properties Qualitative and Quantitative properties that describe a substance. They include smell, taste, colour, melting point, density, hardness etc.
Pile distortion The process that can cause dark marks or patches on carpets due to the twisted pile reflecting light in a different direction to other areas of the carpet. Can usually be corrected by an adequately trained carpet cleaning technician.
Pine Oil An oil process from gum of pine trees often used in combined floor cleaning/burnishing products.
pointer a short v shaped ladder used by window cleaners
Porous A surface that was many tiny openings. A porous surface will require more finish or sealer to fill and smooth out these openings. Concrete is an example of a porous surface, as is terrazzo.
Pouch This is usually used by Window Cleaner's to carry wet/dry scrims/cloths. It saves carrying them in your hand thus providing a hands free method whilst working and especially climbing ladders.
Poultice stain removal A process used for stain removal generally from stone floors particularly granite and marble. From a chemical standpoint, a porous stone becomes stained when a solution containing a solute penetrates its surface and then evaporates leaving the solid solute behind within the stone. Alternatively, grease may penetrate the porous surface and remain within the stone without evaporating. In either case, the stone will become visibly 'stained.' A poultice is a malleable mass of a porous material (paper, whiting, diatomaceous earth) filled with a solvent which can be applied to the surface of the stone. The choice of solvent (ammonia, acetone, alcohol, etc.) should be something likely to dissolve the solute or grease causing the stain. As the solvent penetrates the surface of the porous stone containing the stain, it forms a single continuous solution between the stone and the poultice on the surface. The poultice needs to be kept moist and is usually covered to allow time for the solvent to sufficiently penetrate the stone and dissolve the staining material, be it grease or solute. The solute will then equilibrate by passive diffusion between the stone and the poultice. After an adequate time for this process to occur, the poultice is removed and with it the solution containing a portion of the dissolved solute or 'stain' Multiple repetitions of the process will eventually decrease the concentration of the solute or 'stain' within the stone until it is invisible or minimally visible. Reproduced from:
Precipitate Material settled out of solution.
Prochem A leading brand of carpet cleaning equipment.
Pulex A manufacterer of Window Cleaning Equipment.
Reagent A substance used to start a chemical reaction. In the laboratory, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide are reagents.
Salt An ionic compound formed by the reaction between an acid and a base.
Saponification The process of converting a fat into soap by treating it with an alkali. Also the process used by some to remove grease and oil.
Saturated Describes a solution that will not dissolve any more solute at a given temperature. Any more solute will remain as crystals.
Scientific Method A standardized way that scientists research and find answers to questions and problems.
Scrim Lint free cloth used for drying or polishing glass. Originally a Naval term for calico, many window cleaners now favour microcloth.
Sequestering Agents Chemicals that tie up water hardness and prevent the precipitation of hard water salts. This action causes clarity in liquid soap.
SLAs Service Level Agreements. Are compiled after agreement has been reached following consultation between service provider and client. They set out the agreed level of service the customer can expect within the limits of the resources.
SLS Service Level Statements. Statements of intent, normally complied by the service provider to inform the client of the level of service they can expect.
Soil extraction The general term used for wet cartept cleaning systems that spray cleaning solution onto carpets and then simultaneously vacuums it back out.
Solid Form of Matter A solid holds its shape and volume even when not in a container. The molecules of a solid are tightly compacted and move only slightly.
Solvents A liquid which dissolves another substance. Water is the most common solvent, whose 'wetting power' is greatly enhanced by the use of detergents.
Squeegee A tool used for cleaning windows and floors. A squeegee consists of a frame with a rubber insert that is used to literally scrape water and / or detergent from a surface. Floor squeegess are usually sold in two sections and comprise of a frame with built in rubber(typically 18, 22 or 30 inches wide) and a universal handle. Window cleaning squeegees are sold as handles, squeegee blades (most commonly in 12, 14, 18 and 22 inch wide) and replacement rubbers which are sold in 36 inch lengths and are then cut to size.
States of Matter A substance can be solid, liquid or gaseous. Substances can change between states, normally when heated or cooled to increase or decrease the energy of the particles.
Strip-washer a T-bar with a lambs wool cover used to soap up windows also called an applicator
Surface Tension The attractive forces which liquid molecules have for each other. Most obviously seen on the 'skin' of water.
Surfactant Substances which lower the surface tension of water. These surface-active agents modify the emulsifying, foaming, dispersing, spreading and wetting properties of a product.
Suspension The process of a cleaning agent holding insoluble dirt particles in the cleaning solution and keeping them from redepositing. Used extensively in laundry powders.
TDS meter TDS meters measure the purity, or total dissolved solids, of water. TDS is measured in parts per million with 0 TDS being used for window cleaning. Most TDS meters give three digit measurements from 000 to 999 TDS. However, some TDS meters only give two digit readings meaning that a reading of 01 actually represents a reading of 010, or 10 parts per million.
TFR Traffic film remover. Used in the car trade it also can be used as a general purpose cleaner for paintwork, conservatory roofs etc. Usually sprayed, read H&S guidelines before use.
Thinner A liquid used to reduce the viscosity of a coating and that will evaporate before or during the cure of a film. Commonly used in paints and lacquers.
Unger A manufacturer of window cleaning equipment.
Valet Term used in motor trade to mean an extensive clean to restore a vehicle to showroom condition.
Viscosity The thickness of a liquid which determines pourability. Water has a viscosity of 1 centipoise. The resistance to flow is measured in relationship to water in centipoise. Vehicle finishes are often mixed to a specific viscosity to ensure even coating.
Volatile The part of a product that evaporates during drying. Petrol is highly volatile, releasing masses of vapour when barely warm!
Water Hardness A measure of the amount of metallic salts found in water. Hard water can inhibit the action of some surfactants and reduce the effectiveness of the cleaning process.
Wetting Agent A chemical which reduces surface tension of water, allowing it to spread more freely.
WFP Waterfed pole window cleaning is the term used for cleaning windows and facias using pure water which is pumped up a lighweight pole, brushed onto the suface and allowed to dry naturally. Because pure water contains no contaminants it dries spotless. Windows can be cleaned faster, better and safer than using the traditional method of squeegees and ladders.
Window Scraper This is used to remove paint e.t.c form windows, by using a flat sharp blade.
Zero Based Budgeting Involves establishing the resources required by defining the staff, equipment and materials needed to achieve the outcomes agreed / imposed by the client and / or the customer. Alternatively, it refers to the building up of cost data on providing a service or undertaking a task which is not based on historical information but on needs.
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