When is it appropriate to clean with water only? When do I need chemicals?

Light dust and soils on a hard floor surface can very effectively be removed with water only. Heavier soils, sticky syrupy soils, petroleum based soils, kitchen areas and restrooms typically require more than water and there are specially designed chemicals for these. On board chemical systems allow you to easily switch between a general purpose cleaner and a more intensive degreaser or other chemical simply by changing the jug inside the machine.
- Scott Keller, Education/Commercial Buildings Vertical Market Manager, Nilfisk–Advance, Inc., Plymouth, Minn.

We’ve conducted numerous tests comparing natural tap water, modified tap water and cleaning chemicals. In some instances, all three performed similarly on light inoganic soils. However, the testing showed a significant difference when cleaning organic soils such as fats, oils and greases. A solution with cleaning chemcals significantly out-performed all of the tap water options. Based on these results, we recommend using a type of neutral cleaning chemical.
- Paul Lewandowski, Equipment Product Manager, Betco Chemical Corporation, Toledo, Ohio

I recommend using tap water to clean floors that have only trace amounts of soil on them. If you are dealing with a certain type of soil load or difficult soils (grease, oil, food and ice melt) I recommend using the appropriate chemical to clean the floor according to manufacturer recommendations. On certain soils and floor types you may need surfactants or alkaline-based chemicals, diluted according to chemical instructions, to properly clean the floor.
- Eric Hickman, Product Manager, Powr-Flite, Fort Worth, Texas

It is rarely appropriate to use plain water to clean floors because science has shown that the use of proper diluted chemicals are effective at breaking the sticky bonds that hold oily soils to floors.
- Richard “Bo” Bodo, Director of Business Development, Windsor Industries, Englewood, Colo.


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