We all have some kind of dirty surface in our homes from time to time which need to be cleaned up. When you get to the store you are confronted with hundreds of different items in the aisle holding the cleaning products. Which one do you choose??? You would like to pick one that is a good value but works really well, but sometimes it can be overwhelming. Well producers of these products must run testing in the lab to make sure the product they are putting on the shelf is a good one. Testing can come in many forms but the best way to test a product is to replicate the actual use of the product as close as possible.
A good example of testing a cleaning product includes choosing the right surface to clean (the substrate) which can be from the kitchen, garage or bathroom. Once the substrate or surface is selected some type of soil must be applied to mimic a dirty surface in the home or workshop. This soil may consist of grease, oil, common dirt or even lab made soap scum like the stuff you see in your bathtub. Once the soil is applied product testing can begin.
For hard surface cleaners, the soiled surface is secured in an apparatus (in line scrub tester) that uses a sponge secured in a metal holder that has a weight attached. This is to try and duplicate a person holding a sponge and applying pressure to clean a surface. Soiled surfaces are subjected to the cleaning solution and the sponge may either have the cleaning solution on it or just plain water depending on the test. The apparatus will then move the sponges across the soiled surface a chosen number of times before removing the cleaned surface to rinse. Surfaces can be examined by a test panel or by a lab instrument to determine how much soil was removed. Lab instruments shine a light on the cleaned surface and depending on how much light is reflected back a determination is made on % soil removed. These results can be used to compare to other products or to achieve the desired effect after cleaning.
This is only one example of how cleaning products are tested as you could imagine by seeing all the products on the store shelves. Each product will have its own specific test which will determine if it is a premium performer or a value brand cleaning product. We will tell you more on how other products are tested in the future. Stay Clean.