SERVPRO Generates Efficient Water Restoration For A Church in Cleburne
A generator and power boxes help produce power for the mitigation equipment at a church in Cleburne.
Water restoration equipment will require a considerable amount of electrical power depending on the extent of the damage. Additional power, such as a generator, is often the most efficient solution. A Cleburne church had an overhead pipe burst and flooded the building. Due to aluminum wiring in the building, a generator and several power distribution boxes were required to support all of the mitigation equipment.
The process of restoring water damage in a commercial business is fairly similar to the process for a residential home. One difference is that a commercial building may require a significantly larger amount of electricity to power the machines necessary for restoration. This will typically be dependent on the magnitude of the water damage. When dealing with water damage situations, regardless of the size or location, there are important factors that need to be considered.
Before any work is done to mitigate the water damage, it is important to gauge just how much equipment is needed. Depending on the extent of the water damage, a substantial amount of equipment may be necessary. Damage in a single bedroom will require different support than water damage throughout a large office building. Earlier this year, we received a call from a church in Cleburne that was experiencing water damage in a large portion of the building. The damage was due to an overhead pipe that busted and was causing the ceiling to cave in. Just by hearing this initial report, it is easy to infer that this was definitely going to be a job that would require a lot of equipment for the mitigation process. Dehumidifiers and air movers are always used for mitigation purposes, but some cases may require specialty equipment such as heaters and air scrubbers.
After inspecting the extent of the damage and determining the amount of equipment needed, the electrical power that is available must be taken into consideration. The more high powered equipment used will require more electrical energy. However, not all buildings are able to provide the needed power for the mitigation process. This was the case when our technicians arrived at the church in Cleburne and found that the wiring throughout the church was aluminum. Aluminum wiring produces a lower amount of electrical power, so plugging up all of our dehumidifiers and air movers would not be feasible.
One solution to this problem would be to simply use less machines and continue at a significantly reduced pace. The building would eventually dry, but the slower pace would increase the chances of secondary damage. It is important to work as quickly as possible to dry any and all wet surfaces. With this not the ideal option, the more efficient option would be to bring in an additional power source. Our technicians had to bring in a generator and several power distribution boxes for additional power since the aluminum wiring was not able to support all of the equipment necessary to efficiently dry the church. The generator allowed the use of all essential tools for mitigation and to complete the job in a timely manner.
Here at SERVPRO of Crowley and Johnson County, we guarantee to generate professional and efficient service. Our technicians will work quickly and thoroughly to restore your water damage in your commercial building “Like it never even happened.”
Ready, Set, Grill!
Two of our SERVPRO employees grilling hamburgers and hotdogs.
Blog Summary: Local SERVPRO fire remediation specialist advises Crowley and Johnson County grill masters to prepare now for a safe, savory outdoor cooking season.
Blog: For many, the Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) warns families that the onset of the summer season also marks a rise in home fires started by outdoor grilling activities. According to the NFPA, on average, 10,600 home fires are started by grills each year. July is the peak month for grill fires, followed by June, May, and August.1
“Sixty-one percent of U.S. households own a gas grill,” says fire remediation specialist Steven VonFeldt of SERVPRO of Crowley and Johnson County. “A total of sixty-four percent own at least one outdoor BBQ, grill, or smoker. The popularity of this outdoor cooking equipment combined with longer, warmer days creates a unique fire hazard that should be taken seriously.”
“The time to take precautions is now,” adds VonFeldt, “before the outdoor cooking season is in full swing.” The NFPA offers these basic tips for fire-safe grilling:
For gas/propane grills:
- Check the gas tank for leaks before using.
- Open the lid on all gas grills before lighting the grill.
For charcoal grills:
- Use only charcoal starter fluid to start the fire but never add it or any flammable liquids to a fire that is burning.
- Cool coals completely before you dispose of them in a metal container.
For all grills:
- Place the grill well away from house and deck railings. Don’t place under eaves or branches.
- Remove grease and fat buildup from grills and trays after each use.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill.
- Never leave the grill unattended when in use.
“Basic precautions set the stage for a safe and enjoyable outdoor cooking season,” says VonFeldt. “Life is unpredictable, but you can take steps to control the risk of house and property fires caused by outdoor cooking. Whether you are strictly a summer grilling warrior or you use your grill year-round, simple, common-sense actions can help ensure that the only smoke you smell this summer is the sweet aroma of steaks and vegetables grilling.”
SERVPRO specializes in fire and water cleanup and restoration services and repair services, helping to remediate damage for both commercial and residential customers. For more information on SERVPRO of Crowley and Johnson County, please contact Steven VonFeldt at 817-297-8588 or info@SERVPROcrowley.com. For more information on SERVPRO, please visit www.SERVPRO.com.
Water Damage Hazards to Look Out For
This sunken Livingroom was flooded by a busted pipe.
Blog summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and Johnson County warns residents of the main hazards to be aware of when experiencing water damage.
Blog: Attention everyone! The summer season is almost here! Schools are wrapping up their spring semester and stores are putting out their summer clothing lines. Enjoying the refreshing water at the pool or at the beach is likely listed on everyone's summer schedule one way or another. What probably is not on your schedule is enjoying water in the living room of your home. Summer is a time that many people look forward to, but it also brings an increased chance of severe weather and tropical storms which can lead to water damage.
When you’re standing in several inches of water in the living room of your home, the first thought that probably crosses your mind is, “how am I going to get all this water out of my home?” Before you take action, it is important to first identify all potential hazards in order to keep everyone present safe. Here are a few common hazards to keep an eye out for.
Overhead hazards can refer to things like ceiling tiles that are filled with water and may potentially collapse and cause injury. Electrical shock hazards are caused by water coming into contact with electrical systems. Slip, trip, and fall hazards are due to wet surfaces that can sometimes go unnoticed. Water can often become hazardous when contaminated by different chemicals and minerals. And finally, poor lighting can create hazardous conditions by preventing clear vision of the surrounding area.
There may also be hazards that are very easy to miss. So it’s always good to call in the professionals, and who better to call for water damage restoration than SERVPRO! Our experienced production technicians are professionally trained to make sure that your water damage is restored “Like it never even happened.” So when you find yourself standing in several inches of water, remember that SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County is here for you!
Expect The Unexpected During Hurricane Season
A home experiences flooding after a hurricane.
Blog summary: The start of the summer season brings about many unexpected changes in weather. Some of these changes include tropical storms and even hurricanes. It’s best to be prepared for when a hurricane does occur, so it is important to know the differences between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning and the dangers that they present. Flooding is very common during a hurricane, and SERVPRO is ready to assist you with over 2,000 franchises across the country.
Blog: With the Atlantic hurricane season starting on June 1, it is important to make sure that you and your family are prepared. One of the most important ways to do this is to become educated on the differences between a hurricane watch and warning. Even if you are already familiar with how these two categories contrast each other, it is always a good idea to sharpen your knowledge.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a hurricane watch means that hurricane type conditions are possible. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the expected onset of a tropical storm. If and when the tropical storm turns into a hurricane, a hurricane warning will be issued. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are to be expected.
During a hurricane watch, it is advised to take the necessary precautions and to be prepared to take immediate action to protect your family and property. A watch can be quickly turned into a warning, so it is important to stay alert and heed all orders that are given by local authorities. Once a hurricane warning has been issued, you and your family must be ready to evacuate the threatened area if governed to do so. All residents in the area of the warning should complete all storm precautions and follow the orders that are directed by local authorities.
The safety of you and your family is the top priority in the case of a hurricane. Don’t take dangerous risks to save material belongings. If your property does experience storm damage during this hurricane season, it is possible that you will have good, professional service if you go with another company to restore your storm damage. However, if you choose SERVPRO, good and professional storm restoration service is expected! Because we have over 2,000 SERVPRO franchises across the country, we are ready to tackle any size disaster and to restore your property “Like it never even happened.”
SERVPRO chemists aid SERVPRO franchises and customers in battle against COVID 19
SERVPROXIDE product now available to franchises and consumers.
Blog Summary: SERVPRO has a team of chemists who test, evaluate and create our products to make sure SERVPRO franchises are using the best products out there to handle restoration work and now they have made one available to consumers.
Blog: The spread of COVID 19 has disrupted our way of life, our homes and our places of business and brought awareness to the need for a deeper level of clean to help keep our families, our employees and our customers safe from transferable illnesses. SERVPRO easily worked COVID 19 cleanings into our service lines because we already had products in our inventory that were approved to combat this terrible virus.
SERVPRO's dedicated team of chemists screen and evaluate potential products for their efficacy and potential benefit to SERVPRO franchises in their restoration and cleaning efforts. These chemists also create products specifically for the use of SERVPRO franchises. Prior to COVID 19 SERVPRO created SERVPROXIDE, an EPA registered, stabilized chlorine dioxide-based disinfectant and sanitizer. It kills harmful bacteria, viruses and mold on hard surfaces as well as being an effective sanitizer on soft surfaces. SERVPROXIDE carries the EPA's lowest toxicity rating and makes it safe for everyday use.
Due to the widespread concern of COVID 19, SERVPRO decided to make SERVPROXIDE available to the public and not just to their franchises. SERVPRO partnered with Amazon to get this amazing product in the hands of the regular consumer who wants a SERVPRO level of clean but on their own time schedule and in a pinch when needed.
SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County uses SERVPROXIDE and other SERVPRO chemists tried and tested products when it performs COVID 19 cleanings, biohazard remediation, sewage mitigation and mold cleanings in the Cleburne, Crowley, Joshua, Glen Rose, Granbury, Keene, Cresson and Fort Worth areas.
Make Better First Impressions with Commercial Carpet Cleaning
Carpet cleaning not only makes commercial properties look better but help them smell better as well.
Blog summary: Carpet cleaning helps commercial businesses in Johnson County make better first impressions.
Blog: A Johnson County librarian recently reached out to SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County for assistance with her elementary school library carpets. The culprit was not crayons melted into the carpet or mud from little feet tracked across the flooring but rather an unpleasant odor that detracted from the library's otherwise serene reading environment.
When someone visits your office or place of business what would their first impression be of your company? There are a lot of factors that go into that first impression and a pleasant aroma is high on the list. You could spend money on candles, plug-ins and sprays but while those items may offer a pleasing aroma to you, they only mask what may be the real issue, your carpets.
Cleaning your commercial carpet not only brings a fresh look to your business it also helps to remove the source (or sources) causing the unpleasant odors. SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County has cleaned juice stained carpets in community centers, water stained carpets in churches as well as cleaned up after customers who have become unexpectedly sick while visiting an office. Obviously the carpet cleaning made the carpets look better but ridding the carpet of contaminants also rid those areas of smells that would make most visitors' noses crinkle.
We may not be able to help you with your choice of decor or the organization of your spaces but SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County's cleaning professionals will gladly help improve your visitors' first impressions with carpet cleaning and deodorization.
Lessons the Landlocked can learn from Hurricane Preparation 05/03/2022
Water damaged bedroom carpet in Crowley home
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County understands being land locked does not take away the threat of unexpected water damage. This week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week and while Johnson County may be safe from the threat of hurricanes, there are still steps you can take to prepare if unexpected weather changes affect your home or business. NOAA.GOV recommends you determine your risk, develop an evacuation plan, assemble disaster supplies, get an insurance checkup, strengthen your home, help your neighbor and complete a written plan in preparation for hurricane season. SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County believes these steps are important for your preparation even if you live outside of hurricane prone areas.
Blog: Johnson County may not have hurricanes but we do have tornadoes, flooding, hail and other unfriendly weather events. Is your home or business ready for strong winds, rising water and other damaging weather? Determine your risk by knowing your area. What harsh weather is your area known for? Do you live in a low spot? How is the drainage around your home? Are the trees in your area mature, established and healthy or are they potential threats in a high wind situation? Look at your property and determine what changes you can make to strengthen your home against bad weather. Remove dead limbs from trees. Trim trees back from your home. Secure outdoor items so they do not become projectiles in a tornado or high wind situation. Have a plan for quickly securing windows and make sure your doors latch securely.
Not only do you need to make preparations to your home to guard against severe weather but you also need to plan what you will do before, during and in the aftermath of a weather event. Decide ahead of time where the "safe place" in your home is in case of a tornado. If your home is in a flood area, you need to know what high places you may safely get to in case unexpected rising water affects your property. Keep your important documents in a secure container that you may also easily grab on your way out the door in case you need to leave your home for an unknown period of time. Also be prepared with toiletry items, medicines, change of clothes or two for each member of the family, baby necessities, etc that will help you if you need to be out of your home for several days before you can once again gain access. Having these things together ahead of time will help you have better peace of mind should you need to leave your home to seek higher ground.
NOAA.GOV also recommends you keep food and water on hand, keep your gas tank full, have access to cash and keep a radio/flashlight with extra batteries and ways to charge your phones in case of a hurricane. While Johnson County may not experience flooding to the extent that typically goes with a hurricane, water supplies can be contaminated by rising water causing clean water to be scarce temporarily and extended power outages can cause businesses and banks to be closed until basic utilities can be restored. Having extra supplies on hand will help make the interim disruption less stressful.
While protecting your home during a severe weather event is critical, the most important step is to protect your family and also your neighbors. Check on your neighbors, especially the elderly, and make sure they also have a safe room where they can stay during a tornado or that they can get out safely in case of flooding. Should you be the victim of a severe weather event, remember SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County is here for you to help make your disaster "Like it never even happened."
SERVPRO system tackles large losses as a team 5/3/22
SERVPRO of Crowley drying parking Garage at the bottom of a multi-story loss in Fort Worth
Blog summary: SERVPRO claims to be larger and faster to any size disaster because of our network of franchises across the United States who share their expertise and resources to tackle any size loss.
Blog: Technology and years of practice and research have allowed engineers to build some incredibly big and complex buildings across the world. While Cleburne, Crowley, Joshua, Keene, Glen Rose and Granbury are not exactly known for tall, soaring buildings, they are no stranger to manufacturing plants, hotels, expansive school campuses, hospitals, churches and their fair share of office spaces. Whether you have a one room office in a strip mall or you are the Shanghai Tower in Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai that rises 128 stories into the air you are both susceptible to experiencing fire or water damage.
If you have heard the question, "How do you eat an elephant?" and its subsequent answer, "One bite at a time," you know the solution to addressing commercial large losses. Commercial large losses can be addressed by viewing the 128 story building as 128 smaller fire or water damages and so tackling the loss "one bite at a time."
SERVPRO has over 53 years of experience handling losses small and large. We have just celebrated the addition of our 2000th franchise. What that means for our commercial clients is that our network of expertise, equipment and people who can aid in any size disaster has multiplied yet again. While one franchise may not be able to handle your commercial large loss by themselves, they are not alone. We have Disaster Recovery Teams staged throughout the United States and Canada, a support team at corporate dedicated to assisting the local franchises in large loss mitigation as well as a family of franchise owners in our area who rush to the aid of any franchise who is assigned the "elephant" size loss.
While we do not wish a fire or water loss on anyone, know that whatever size disaster you may experience at your place of business or at your home, SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County can bring the resources needed to make your loss "Like it never even happened."
What types of cleaning products does SERVPRO use? 4/18/2022
Cleaning products fall into two major categories; solvents and enzymes.
A solvent is any substance that is capable of dissolving another substance. Solvents can be water-soluble (wet) or oil-soluble (dry).
Water-Based Cleaning Products (Wet Solvents)
As discussed in the section on pH, water-based cleaning products fall into three sub-categories, acidic, neutral, and alkaline.
Water-soluble solvents can be mixed with water and can be extracted with water. Many traffic lane cleaning products are composed of glycol ether EB, which is basically the same as the antifreeze you use in your car. Citrus solvents are another water-soluble solvent from citric oil and are effective grease cutters. Alcohol-based solvents are water-soluble. Methyl, ethyl, and isopropyl are examples of alcohol found in cleaning formulations.
Oil-Based Cleaning Products (Dry Solvents)
Oil-based cleaning products fall into two sub-categories, volatile dry solvents (VDS) and non-volatile dry solvents (NVDS). The volatility of a product is based on how fast the product evaporates. Volatile dry solvents evaporate much faster than non-volatile dry solvents. The SERVPRO® Professional Cleaning Product line carries both volatile and non-volatile dry solvents. An oil-based cleaning product is used in situations where water could damage textiles or in removing soils that are oil-soluble.
In the past, some oil-based cleaning products used in the cleaning industry were too flammable or toxic by today’s standards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have set standards for toxicity and flammability. Toxicity and flammability are identified for each SERVPRO® Professional Cleaning Product on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS). The SDS identifies products that have a flash point. Flash point is the temperature at which a liquid will give off vapors in a concentration sufficient to ignite if a source of ignition is present.
Dry solvents use products such as odorless mineral spirits, propyl bromides, and oil-based solvents. These products are used in dry cleaning methods and as spot removers for textiles. Oil-based cleaning products require special precautions for use because of flammability or toxicity. When using oil-based cleaning products, increase ventilation, use chemical-resistant gloves, wear respirators with organic vapor cartridges, wear splash goggles, and use minimal applications to prevent damage to fabrics, backings, and adhesives. Dry cleaning products should be stored in properly labeled and manufacturer-approved containers.
Simply stated, enzymes are the digestive juices of bacteria. In the cleaning industry, enzymes are sometimes called digestive cleaners, since they use digestion as the process of breaking down insoluble protein soils to a soluble state. They are effective on proteins such as starch, blood, perspiration, nicotine, body discharges, dairy products, eggs, and fish slime.
Some products not only have enzymes but have actual living bacteria cultures, such as SERVPRO’s #114 Urine Odor and Stain Remover. Since living organisms are present when using enzymes, pH, temperature control, and moisture are important. Enzymes work best in a neutral solution; the temperature should be kept between 100 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and the soiled area must be kept damp. Allow 15 minutes to one hour for effective digestion. After digestion is complete, the proteins have been broken down and may be removed with water, detergents, or ammonia solutions. In heavily soiled situations, multiple applications of the enzymes may be needed.
Many of the soils we remove from textiles will leave a stain. A stain occurs when color (dye molecules) has been added to the fibers or fabric. When removing soils (unwanted foreign matter) from textiles, we use a detergent (water-based or oil-based) or an enzyme, but when we are trying to remove a stain from textiles, we should use a bleach. Bleaches chemically alter the dye molecules to reverse the coloration of a stain.
There are two categories of bleaches, oxidizing bleaches and reducing bleaches. SERVPRO® carries both in its Professional Cleaning Product line.
Oxidizing bleaches alter the dye molecule by adding oxygen, which changes their chemical structure and breaks them down. Chlorine bleach, sodium hypochlorite, is a very strong oxidizing bleach. Chlorine bleach can damage protein fibers, can corrode metal, and if mixed with a strong alkaline product like ammonia, can create toxic chlorine gas. SERVPRO® has removed sodium hypochlorite from all of its Professional Cleaning Products and does not recommend its use. Hydrogen peroxide is another common oxidizing bleach. Most hydrogen-peroxide-based products are neutralized by sunlight and must be stored in a dark bottle and in a dark place. SERVPRO’s Oxi-Zap (#278) is a stabilized hydrogen peroxide.
Reducing bleaches alter the dye molecule by removing oxygen, which changes their chemical structure and breaks them down. A reducing bleach is the opposite of an oxidizing bleach; a reducing bleach will neutralize the bleaching action of the oxidizer and vice versa.
Stain Resistance and Soil Release Treatments
The four general types of fabric treatments that assist in the release of soils and/or resist staining are soil repellents, soil release agents, soil repellent and soil release combination agents, and stain-resistant agents.
Soil repellents coat fibers and slow down the absorption of soils. There are two types of agents used as soil repellents, fluorochemicals and silicones. Fluorochemicals cause both water-based and oil-based soils to bead up on the surface so they can be wiped away and removed. Silicones are resistant to water-based soils but provide little resistance to oil-based soils. Silicones attract and bond with some oily soils and make it very difficult to remove the soil. Silicones should not be used as a protectant on carpets.
The primary purpose of soil repellents is to delay the absorption of soils into the fibers. Delaying soil absorption allows more time to remove soils before they become a permanent stain. However, if soils are left on fabrics treated with soil repellents for a long time, the soils may bond with the soil repellent and make soil removal very difficult.
Soil repellents work well on nylon, polyester, wool, acrylics, and cottons and cotton blends. DuPont and 3M Scotchgard are the biggest producers of soil repellents. If a silicone soil repellent is applied to a fabric that has been treated with a fluorochemical treatment, soil resistance is compromised. Before applying a soil repellent treatment, determine if the fabric has been treated and what type of product was used. Silicone treatments reduce the flame retardancy of fabrics.
Soil Release Agents
Soil release agents work opposite to soil repellents. Soil repellents make fabrics very hydrophobic—they resist water penetration. Soil release agents make fabrics hydrophilic—they more readily absorb water. By making a fabric more absorptive, detergents can easily penetrate the fabric and release the soils. Scotchgard™ Stain Release is a popular soil release product.
Soil Repellent and Soil Release Combination Agents
Since soil repellents and soil release agents work opposite to each other—one makes fibers hydrophobic and the other makes fibers hydrophilic—it was difficult to produce a product that could do both. Dual-Action Scotchgard™ by the 3M Company contains fluorochemicals and a polymer, which reverse their orientation to the fabric depending whether the fabric is wet or dry. When the fabric is dry, the fluorochemical is oriented towards the surface of the fiber to provide soil repellent properties. When the fabric is wet, the polymer, which is hydrophilic, is oriented towards the surface of fibers to make them more absorptive to cleaning products. Soil repellent/soil release agents may be applied to cotton blend and synthetic fabrics.
Stain-resistant treatments are designed to prevent or reduce staining from dyes commonly found in foods. Kool Aid®, soft drinks, and many foods have anionic dyes that are similar to dyes used to dye fabrics. Anionic food dyes have a negative charge that bonds to fiber dye sites and can cause a permanent stain.
Stain-resistant treatments are made from sulfonated aromatic aldehyde condensation products (SAC), which produce a negatively charged surface on fibers. This negative charge repels negatively charged dye molecules. Because SAC is yellow, over-application or uneven application may cause yellowing in fabrics.
DuPont® and Monsanto® manufacture stain-resistant treatments that are commonly applied to nylon fibers. Invecta® produces a stain-resistant product for wool fabrics called Wool Shield™. Soil retardants, soil release agents, and stain-resistant treatments are applied by textile mills, retailers, consumers, and by professional cleaners. In many cases, the fabric manufacturer’s warranty is voided if the retailer or customer applies a treatment to a fabric treated by the manufacturer.
Treatments applied by textile mills are typically more effective, but all treatments will wear off from use and abrasion, and cleaning the fabric removes some of the treatment. Most treatments must be periodically reapplied by a professional to maintain their effectiveness. SERVPRO® has soil repellents and stain-resistant agents in the product line made by 3M Scotchgard™, such as Scotchgard™ Carpet & Upholstery Protector Concentrate and Upholstery & Carpet Guard Plus (#187 and #160). EZ Production Guideline Applying Topical Treatments and the SERVPRO® Professional Cleaning Products Reference Manual (#35026) have application instructions.
Fire Retardant Treatments
In some cases, fabrics must be treated with a fire retardant. Most states and municipalities require any textiles used in upholstery, draperies, or room divider partitions or textiles used for any purpose in schools, public facilities, and commercial establishments to be inherently fire-retardant or be treated to make them fire-retardant. Some fibers, such as modacrylic, are inherently fire-resistant, and textile mills treat some fabrics with fire retardants during manufacturing. However, in many cases, fire retardant treatments must be applied by the retailer, customer, or a professional company such as a SERVPRO® Franchise.
Even though a fabric has been treated with fire retardants, cleaning removes most of the treatment. After cleaning fabrics where fire retardancy is required, retreatment is normally necessary. Flame Stop (#181), is a water-based fire retardant. EZ Production Guideline Applying Fire Retardant provides step-by-step procedures for applying Flame Stop (#181).
In dry climates or during periods of low humidity, textiles can build up high levels of static electricity. There are several products specifically designed to reduce static electricity buildup in carpets and fabrics. These treatments act as insulators on fibers to prevent static buildup. Anti-static treatments typically last about one year. Cleaning removes the treatment, so it must be reapplied after cleaning.
SERVPRO: Science of Cleaning Part 2 of 2 4/11/2022
This is part 2 of 2 in a series.
One of the most important concepts to understand in cleaning is pH. pH (potential of hydrogen) is a numeric scale used to specify the acidity, neutrality, or alkalinity of a water-based cleaning product. Technically speaking, pH is approximately the negative of the base 10 logarithm of the molar concentration, measured in units of moles per liter, of hydrogen ions. More simply stated, pH is the number of positive or negative hydrogen ions in a water-based product. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Pure water is neutral. However, because most water has impurities, such as dissolved minerals, it will vary somewhat from a pH of 7.
Generally speaking, acids neutralize alkalis and alkalis neutralize acids. Most soils are acidic in nature, so you will find that most cleaning products are alkaline.
Acids are substances with a pH less than 7. Another word for acid is “sour.” Carbonated beverages contain carbolic acid and normally have a pH of about 4, making them mildly acidic. Vinegar contains acetic acid and normally has a pH of about 3. Mild acids will not burn the skin or cause much damage to textiles. Stronger acids such as those used in swimming pools, muriatic acid, sulfuric (battery) acid, or nitric acid will do considerable damage to skin, carpets, and fabrics. They are very dangerous if taken internally.
An alkali is any substance with a pH higher than 7. Soap has a pH of about 9, making it a mild alkali. Mild alkalis will not damage skin or fabrics. A solution of baking soda, which is sometimes used for upset stomachs, has a pH of about 10. Lye and caustic soda have a pH of about 14. These strong alkalis will burn your skin and damage textiles. Other terms for alkaline substances are “base” and “hot.”
The pH scale is logarithmic, using a base of 10. That is, a pH of 8 is ten times stronger than a pH of 7, a pH of 9 is one hundred times stronger than a pH of 7, a pH of 10 is one thousand times stronger than a pH of 7, and so on. This holds true on the acidic side of the scale. The concentration and pH of the cleaning product determines its strength.
Because of the nature of the scale, the further away from neutral a product is, the stronger it becomes in relation to the pH next to it. For example, a product with a pH of 14 is 9,000,000 units stronger than a product with a pH of 13, but the difference between a product of pH 8 and a product with a pH of 9 is only 90 units.
This concept becomes very important when we are trying to neutralize a very strong acid or alkali. For example, to neutralize an acidic condition with a pH of 2, you should use an alkali with a pH of about 12. It would take large volumes of a weak alkali with a pH of 8 or 9 to neutralize the pH of 2.
We test for pH using hydrion paper. To test a spot for pH, moisten the spot with water known to be neutral and blot the test paper in the moisture. Unexposed hydrion paper is a light tan color. When exposed to mild acids, the color changes to a darker tan or light orange. Strong acids change the paper to a dark red. Mild alkalis change the paper to light green or light blue. Strong alkalis change the paper to dark blue.
Oil-based cleaning products (dry solvents) do not have a pH. A substance must be water-based to have a pH, so pH test paper will not react to oil or grease, other than being stained by the oil or grease.
You can use a scale on the test paper container to compare against the color and shade of the exposed paper to determine the specific pH. Test all spots and areas that have been cleaned with a strong acid or alkaline cleaning product to ensure it is returned to neutral after cleaning. Leaving textiles in a strong acidic or alkaline state can damage the materials.
NOTE: Immediately rinse the area you tested and blot with a clean towel because dyes in the hydrion test paper can discolor fabrics.
Most soils are on the acidic side of the scale. Detergents are usually alkaline. The chemical action of the detergent must be balanced against the soil. Alkaline cleaning products neutralize acidic soils enabling more efficient cleaning. For example, most traffic lane pre-sprays are alkaline because most normal soils are acidic. The pH of cleaning products is manipulated to let the products do the work. Of course, if the soil is alkaline, an acidic cleaning product should be used. Below is a list of common soils and their pH.
Approximate pH Values of Soils
Biological Materials, pH
Blood, plasma, human 7.3 - 7.5
Spinal Fluid, human 7.3 - 7.5
Blood, whole, dog 6.9 - 7.2
Saliva, human 6.5 - 7.5
Gastric contents, human 1.0 - 3.0
Duodenal contents, human 4.8 - 8.2
Feces, human 4.6 - 8.4
Urine, human 4.8 - 8.4
Milk, human 6.6 - 7.6
Bile, human 6.8 - 7.0
Apples 2.9 - 3.3
Apricots 3.6 - 4.0
Asparagus 5.4 - 5.8
Bananas 4.5 - 4.7
Beer 4.0 - 5.0
Beans 5.0 - 6.0
Beets 4.9 - 5.5
Blackberries 3.2 - 3.6
Bread, white 5.0 - 6.0
Butter 6.1 - 6.4
Cabbage 5.2 - 5.4
Carrots 4.9 - 5.3
Cider 2.9 - 3.3
Corn 6.0 - 6.5
Crackers 6.5 - 8.5
Dates 6.2 - 6.4
Egg whites 7.6 - 8.0
Flour, wheat 5.5 - 6.5
Gooseberries 2.8 - 3.0
Grapefruit 3.0 - 3.3
Grapes 3.5 - 4.5
Hominy (rye) 6.8 - 8.0
Jams, fruit 3.5 - 4.0
Jellies, fruit 2.8 - 3.4
Lemons 2.2 - 2.4
Limes 1.8 - 2.0
Maple syrup 6.5 - 7.0
Milk, cows 6.3 - 6.6
Olives 3.6 - 3.8
Oranges 3.0 - 4.0
Oysters 6.1 - 6.6
Peaches 3.4 - 3.6
Pears 3.6 - 4.0
Peas 5.8 - 6.4
Pickle, dill 3.2 - 3.6
Pickle, sour 3.0 - 3.4
Pimento 4.6 - 5.2
Plums 2.8 - 3.0
Potatoes 5.6 - 6.0
Pumpkin 4.8 - 5.2
When tests show a soil to be strongly acidic (1–4) or strongly alkaline (10–14), you will probably need a cleaning product with a strong pH value to neutralize the spot. To be on the safe side, however, start with mild cleaning product and work up to the stronger ones until the pH of the spot is neutralized. Always pretest; pH alone is not an indication of compatibility with the textiles being cleaned.
Stain-resistant carpets and fabrics treated with soil protectants require a detergent with a pH of 10 or less to protect the topical treatment. The SERVPRO® Franchise System uses a neutral synthetic detergent to remove the normal household soils on these textiles.
Cleaning products used for normal maintenance-type cleaning are generally between a pH of 6 and 10. The stronger cleaning products are normally used for spot removal and restorative cleaning situations, such as water, fire, or mold losses. Below is a list of some SERVPRO® cleaning products by pH.
Some SERVPRO® Cleaning Products by pH
Acids: (below pH 7)
Product Number Product Name pH
361 Thickened Bowl Cleaner 0.5-1.5
116 & 444 Rusticide 0.5-2.0
355 Stone and Porcelain Cleaner 0.5-2.0
256S Citric Acid 1.0-2.0
9951 Formic Acid 1.0-2.0
278 Oxi-Zap 1.0-2.0
470 Colorfast Jet Extraction Upholstery Cleaner 2.0-3.0
259S Brown Out Booster 4.0-5.5
181 Flame Stop 4.0-6.0
205 & 446 Fabric Rinse and Color Set 4.5-6.5
Neutral: (pH = 7)
Product Number Product Name pH
261 Liquid Emulsifier 6.0-8.0
245 & 246 SpotER 6.0-7.0
175 Vanquish 12.4
252 Shampoo Super Concentrate 6.5-7.5
114 Urine Odor and Stain Remover 6.5-8.0
408 Bright-N-Neutral Cleaner 6.0-8.0
272 Pre-Spray & Traffic Lane Cleaner 6.5-8.5
Alkaline: (Above pH 7)
Product Number Product Name pH
460 Bonnet Brite 7.0-7.8
110 Stain Scrub 7.0-8.0
154F Sporicidin® 7.0-8.0
472S Haitian Cotton Upholstery Shampoo 7.5-8.5
162 Armor Guard 7.5-9.0
187 Scotchgard® Carpet and Upholstery Protector 8.0-9.0
255 Showcase Cleaner and Rinse 9.0-10.0
269 Powdered Emulsifier 9.4-9.8
140 SERVPRO® Orange 9.5-11.0
257S Brown Out 10.0-11.0
111 Blood and Stain Remover 10.0-11.5
204 Glass Cleaner, Super Concentrate 10.5-11.5
268 StainZap 10.5-12.0
351 Wall and All Surface Cleaner 10.5-12.5
106 Graffiti Remover 11.0-12.0
138 SERVPRO® Green 11.0-12.5
202 Multi-Purpose Glass Cleaner 11.5-12.5
357 Industrial Cleaner 12.5-13.5
449 Ammonia Spotter 12.5-13.5
356 Fire Star 12.5-14.0
As you can see, most SERVPRO® Professional Cleaning Products are on the alkaline side, and most soils are on the acidic side.
Polarity is another important concept in the chemistry of cleaning. Polarity refers to the electrical orientation of ions. Ions are electrically charged particles or molecules. Polarity of ionic substances can be negative, positive, none, or have both electrical charges.
Anionic (-) is a negatively charged molecule.
Anionic molecules are effective in emulsion of oils and have a tendency to foam. They are the most compatible with stain resisters on fabrics.
Cationic (+) is a positively charged molecule.
Cationics are most often found in deodorants, fabric softeners, anti-static formulations, biocides and bacteriostats. They are not compatible with fabric stain resisters and make a jelly-like substance when mixed with an anionic detergent.
Nonionic (o) has no electrical charge.
Nonionics are usually compatible with anionic and cationic detergents. They are good wetting agents.
Amphoteric (+ or -) molecules have both charges.
Amphoteric molecules can carry either charge, based upon the pH of the solution they are in. Amphoterics are primarily used in the textile dye process.
Just as in a magnet, like electrical charges repel and unlike charges are attracted to each other. A negatively charged ion is attracted to a positively charged ion. This concept is used to increase the power of cleaning products.
The reason polarity is so important in cleaning is because it explains solubility. Most cleaning involves the dissolving of soils into a cleaning product. Polarity and ionization are the chemical properties that make it possible for one substance to dissolve or be suspended in the other.
When soils are dissolved in a cleaning product, the electrical forces of the two (soil and cleaning product) are attracted to each other. The stronger the attraction between soil and cleaning product, the more easily and quickly the dissolving action takes place.
Consider what happens when a solid is dissolved in a liquid. In a solid, molecules are arranged in a very regular pattern. This means the attractive forces of the molecules are very strong. For solids to dissolve, the molecular forces of the dissolving solution must be strong enough to break the bond of the molecular forces holding the solid together.
Water, often called the “universal solvent,” dissolves many substances. A water molecule consists of two positively charged hydrogen atoms held together by one oxygen atom with a -2 negative charge. Opposite ends of the molecule carry opposite electrical charges (this is called a “polar molecule”). Water molecules have a positive and a negative pole. This molecular polarity makes water particularly useful in cleaning because it can dissolve many substances.
An example will illustrate this molecular polarity of water in action. When salt dissolves in water, a positively charged sodium ion (Na+) is surrounded by molecules of water with their negative ends directed at the sodium. Negatively charged chloride ions in salt (Cl-) are surrounded by molecules of water with their positive ends directed at the chloride. The salt ions are surrounded by water molecules and are “caged.” This cage of water molecules helps neutralize or insulate the charge of the sodium and chlorine molecules to keep them from being attracted to each other. Without this “insulation” they would rejoin, crystallize, and fall out of solution.
Solutions made up of nonpolar molecules, lacking either positive or negative charges, cannot dissolve ionic solids. Nonpolar molecules cannot break the solid apart and cannot insulate the ions of the solid from each other. When ionic solids are in solutions of nonpolar molecules, they attract each other, separate from the solution, and recrystallize as solids.
Substances similar in molecular attractive forces tend to be soluble in one another. Remember the general principle “Like dissolves like.” Polar molecules dissolve other polar molecules and non-polar molecules dissolve non-polar substances.
Some general relationships exist between pH and polarity. Acids are usually cationic (+) and alkalis are usually anionic (-). Acids have an excess of positively charged hydronium ions (single hydrogen atoms), and alkalis have an excess of negatively charged hydroxyl molecules (an oxygen atom combined with a single hydrogen atom). When you neutralize an acid with an alkali, the excess hydrogen atoms in the acid combine with the hydroxyl molecules to form water (H20) and a salt. This makes it easier to remove the neutralized soil, and the neutral state prevents damage to fabrics and carpets.
Cationics are not compatible with stain-resistant fabrics and carpets. Using a cationic product can neutralize the stain-resistant treatment and void the warranty on the material.
This brief discussion shows how important the chemical action element is to effective cleaning. Imagine if we had no detergents or solvents. How clean would your hair and body be without shampoos and soap? No amount of scrubbing with plain water would give you that clean feel you get after using soap and shampoo in a quick shower. Our homes, furnishings, rugs, drapes, and upholstery need chemical help to look and feel their best.
The fourth element of cleaning is temperature. Increasing the temperature of a cleaning product increases the speed of the chemical action between the solution and the soils. Heat makes molecules move faster and, therefore, clean more quickly. Of course, each cleaning product and method has an appropriate temperature. You could get products too hot to use safely or hot enough to damage the textiles being cleaned.
Some cleaning products can be rendered ineffective by too much heat, such as product #114, Urine Odor and Stain Remover, which is an enzymatic cleaner. Follow the EZ Production Guidelines, the SERVPRO® Professional Cleaning Products Reference Manual (#35026) and Safety Data Sheets for each cleaning product and method, and you will get the best results.
Heat has several effects in cleaning. Most soils become more soluble as the temperature rises. Heat puts matter in motion. Increased motion keeps dissolved particles from sticking. They bounce off each other and spread out in the cleaning product.
Heat reduces surface tension. This allows cleaning products to penetrate easier and speeds up suspension of soils. Increased temperature helps destroy living organisms. Heat is a common means of controlling microorganisms.