Misuse and abuse of chemicals in custodial operations can not only be expensive as far as wasting product but also can result in serious accidents and injuries if allowed to go too far. If your workers do not have a clear understanding of pH and possible chemical reactions they can not only damage surfaces but also create gases and solutions that can be fatal in some cases. As we have discussed in other articles, pH is the 0-14 range of water soluble chemicals. Oil based products do not have a pH since they are not water soluble. Following are some tips to consider in following manufacturer’s directions:

1. Read the label and after reading the label, read it again to make sure you understand the properties as well as possible dangers of this product.

2. Read the SDS so that you have a better understanding of the risks involved in using this product.

3. Invest in a measuring cup since the “chug a lug” method not only can waste product but also damage surfaces if mixed too strong or failure to clean correctly if mixed too weak.

4. Remember that only water can be used safely in most cases with a “water soluble” product. Don’t randomly mix various chemicals unless you know what you are doing.

5. Learn whether to pour the water into the solution or the solution into water. Be especially careful of splashing other surfaces and always wear appropriate PPE’s (personal protective equipment) when working with chemicals.

6. Stay within your safety zone with pH. This means that the further you get away from 7 (distilled water) in either direction acidic (less than 7) or alkaline (greater than 7) the more caustic/corrosive it can be.

7. Remember that you can use a neutralizer (mild acid) mixed with rinse water to get the alkalinity (10-11) back to neutral for better finish application.

8. Remember that you should never use an extreme acid (1.5) to “neutralize an extreme alkaline (13.5) since it can result in a thermobolic reaction.

Following chemical manufacturer directions is very important for many reasons. Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net