pH, or the measure of acidity or alkalinity in the ions of a solution, is an important measurement in cleaning chemicals. Water is pH-neutral, and it lies in the middle of the pH scale, which runs from 0 to 14. Most soils are acidic, and therefore many cleaning chemicals are alkaline in order to neutralize ionic impact, which is the objective of cleaning. Of course, not all chemicals have the same pH, because not all chemicals have the same jobs.

Cleaning chemicals run the gamut, with bleach representing a highly alkaline solution, at 13, and others — particularly those that are certified green — closer to neutral. Chemicals from floor cleaners to degreasers are available in neutral formulations. These green cleaners are safer for janitors to handle, for building occupants to be exposed to, and for the environment as well.