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Glossary of Outdoor Cleaning Terms

Posted in Cleaning Advice on September 12, 2017

Glossary of Outdoor Cleaning Terms

Words and terms used in cleaning and their meaning.

Alga Simple, single-celled, filamentous or sheets of green celled plant without. Lack of distinct cell tissue types. E.g. Algae on fence.
Anionic surfactant A surfactant with a negatively charged ionic group. Anionic surfactants are widely used in high-sudsing detergents.
Hose end sprayer Spray unit fitted to product bottle that can be fitted to a hose allowing direct dilution and application without the need to mix concentrates with water before application. E.g. Sorted Dirt & Grime, Sorted Moss & Mould.
Biodegradable The ability of a substance to be broken down into simpler, smaller parts by a biological process.
Cationic Surfactant A surfactant with a positively charged ionic group. The most common cationic surfactants are known as quaternary ammonium compounds such as benzalkonium chloride. These are widely used as disinfectants and sanitisers.
Chelating agent An organic sequestering agent used to inactivate hard water and other metallic ions in water. Additives in detergents for inactivating the minerals in water that interfere with cleaning. E.g. SORTED Dirt & Grime.
Chlorine bleach A group of strong oxidizing agents commonly sold in an approximately 5% solution of sodium hypochlorite. Care should be taken to never mix chlorine bleach with ammonia or hydrochloric acid. E.g. SORTED Tough Stains (Discontinued).
Detergent A washing and cleaning agent with a composition other than soap. Detergents, unlike soaps, are less sensitive to minerals in water.
Lichen lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria (or both) living among filaments of a fungus in a mutually beneficial relationship (symbiosis). Remarkable in being able to survive in very barren places such as rock surfaces.
Liverwort Liverworts are plants with prostrate, flattened, ribbon-like or branching structured plant body(thallus).
Moss Mosses are simple sponge-like, green, low growing mats of plants. Not to be confused with liverwort, lichens or algae.
Mould (Mold US) Moulds are a diverse number of fungal species where the growth of hyphae results in discolouration of surface appearance.
Nonionic surfactant A surface-active agent that contains neither positively or negatively charged functional groups. These surfactants have been found to be especially effective in removing oily soil.
Salt Ionic compounds. E.g. sodium chloride (common salt), calcium carbonate (limestone).
Surfactant Substances which lower the surface tension of water. These surface-active agents modify the emulsifying, foaming, dispersing, spreading and wetting properties of a product.
Water hardness A measure of the amount of metallic salts found in water. Hard water can inhibit the action of some surfactants and reduce the effectiveness of the cleaning process.

See also Home Pest Control Glossary and Gardening Glossary.

David Brittain

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