Detergents and cleaners FAQ

I've mostly written a cleaning FAQ, explaining the different types of detergents and other types of cleaners. I've been wondering if its quite DIY or not, and have reached a tentative conclusion.
First, its prime use would be household cleaning, ie not diy. Second, cleaning is actually an important part of DIY, so it would in fact be useful and relevant for DIY as well.
OK, time to post it and see what people think....
Detergents and Cleaners FAQ ---------------------------
Detergents and soaps --------------------
Cheapo washing up liquid: probably the fastest detergent, but the least powerful. Removes most things, very quickly. 15p/litre. It is simply liquid soap. Dries skin. Will wash clothes in 2 minutes in cold water, but can not remove everything, so not recommended for continued use.
Liquid soaps: Most goods sold as liquid soaps are not, they are in nearly every case sodium lauryl ethyl sulphate, aka sodium laureth sulphate, a synthetic detergent. This is a nearly universal low cost human cleaning detergent. It is mildly irritant, mildly skin drying, very cheap to make, and although not currently receiving much publicity, there have been concerns about its safety. Nearly all commercial skin washes and shampoos contain it, regardless of price, brand, marketing, etc.
Quality washing up liquid: much better on skin than the cheapie stuff, remove more types of dirt. But not as fast acting as the low cost soap type.
Ecover washing up liquid: much better on skin than other washing liquids. Can strip some household paints. Non toxic. Can also be used as body wash and shampoo: mix a very little oil in for drier skin and hair.
Washing powder: more powerful than washing liquids, effective degreasing with hot water. More drying and irritant to skin than any washing up liquid. Biological powders also contain enzymes to improve their cleaning action at 40C, but the enzymes stop working at hotter temps. Most contain various additives such as optical brighteners etc, and powdered cardboard filler.
Washing powder tablets: take time to dissolve, thus give less cleaning time than powders. Also some brands fail to dissolve, causing poor washes and clothes with a residue of washing powder, which irritates skin.
Dishwasher detergent: most powerful detergent, requires hot water to work, the most irritant to skin. skin contact best avoided.
Wonder / miracle / magic cleaners / stain removers: ordinary detergents sold at steep prices.
Solvents --------
Many solvents are volatile, flammable, explosive, toxic and/or drug-like. Ensure good ventilation.
- white spirit: very irritant to skin, very slow to evaporate. Dissolves un-set oil based (gloss) paints. Not very versatile.
- 1,1,1 trichloroethylene: aka spot dry cleaner, tippex thinner. One of the higher cost solvents. Adequate ventilation essential. Never place dry cleaned goods in a closed car.
- alcohol: degreaser. Aka surgical spirit, rubbing alcohol, methylated spirits.
- Isopropyl alcohol: aka isopropanl. almost identical properties to alcohol. Screen wash, head cleaner.
- paraffin: very slow to evaporate, repels insects. Dissolves oils.
- diesel:
- acetone, aka nail varnish remover:
- cellulose thinners: a powerful mix of solvents
- Nitromethane: aka cyanoacrylate debonder, dissolves superglue
- nitromors: stong alkali? paint and varnish stripper
- turpentine and turps substitute: gloss/eggshell/oil paint solvents
- petrol
- orange solvent (?) aka sticky stuff remover (?) - is this orange oil?
- glo-fuel for model aircraft: various mixtures exist, contain methanol and oils, toxic and explosive.
- carbon tetrachloride: powerful general purpose solvent, narcotic, now banned from domestic use due to toxicity.
Oils
--

- Olbas oil: a solvent plant oil mixture. removes ballpoint ink, paint,
varnish, wax.
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     snipped-for-privacy@meeow.co.uk writes:

Thanks. I've got to pop out shortly and can't do it justice, but here are a few initial comments inline.

How about "Cleaners and Solvents FAQ"? (Detergents are cleaners)

This section could do with explaining surfactants, and then go on to the difference between soaps and detergents.

I don't think I've ever seen a soap-based washing up liquid, but maybe that's because I don't buy cheapo ones. Probably wouldn't work very well in hard water on shiny or glassware items.

Alkali based -- can dissolve amphoteric metals such as aluminium.
Could also mention that both washing powder and dishwasher detergent are good at removing organic based stains in other situations, like tea stains and grease from stainless steel sinks, and shit from the bog as mentioned in another thread.

Evaporates leaving no residue (important in some situations).

I think CoSH has effectively removed all products containing this from the market now. (Tippex thinner hasn't been 1-1-1 trichloroethylene for very many years now.)

Meths does leave a residue (the purple dye, whose name I forget).

Also a good solvent.
Will carry on reading the rest this evening.
--
Andrew Gabriel

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On 26 Apr 2005 04:47:42 -0700, in uk.d-i-y snipped-for-privacy@meeow.co.uk wrote:

Yes, certainly is for DIY, at least as we know it, Jim. By the way, in my comments I assume the role of someone who does not know the answer, even if I do.

Intro - what it's going to cover: Categories, composition, uses, warnings etc. Who it's aimed at.

recommended <> appropriate? Keep to washing up with it? Good for cleaning oily hands. If using proprietary 'oily hand cleaner' I use dishwasher detergent, to clean *that* off after, finished with 'gentler' soap (if I can be bothered).

safety in which way? toxic / environmental?
Too much emphasis on chemical name.

Does quality equate to price? if not how do we tell. I have heard it advised to use baby soaps to avoid dry skin, instead of fancy shower liquids.

Ecover??? never heard of it. What kind of oil? Are you sure its ok to use paint stripper as a shampoo?

quote some brand names as examples (Persil...). Is it the case that liquid ones do not have enzymes. My wife has separate enzyme stuff for bad stains (Bio-wash or some such).

Could never see the point of them. What is their claim to fame?

3 kinds, powder (obsolescent?), liquid (nearly obsolescent?), tablets (what are they all about!)
Dishwasher 'finishing' liquid....

Amusing but not strictly true. You could have a whole section on removers for specific stains like grass, biro, rust marks.
Carpet cleaners/odour killers/ machines for...

One of my staples. Wouldn't be without it for getting rid off gooey residues. Does have strong smell; wife makes me use it outside. Never noticed as a severe skin irritant. Have used it to get sticky Araldite off my hands, but always wash the spirit off after (it does pong).

1,1,1 is a bit techie. Thought it was banned now. As apprentice I had a spell in the printed circuit shop where it was used in large open baths to soak the 'resist' off the PCBs after exposure to UV. Must have inhaled loads of it - health & safety made them close it down eventually.

What is the difference between these? Meths isn't much good for degreasing, except for minute smears. It can be used for drying things out (e.g. wet watch mechanism) as it absorbs water.

Is that why its called alcohol? :-)

Smelly, cheap. Repels people.
Useful for blowlamps and paraffin stoves. :-)

Has it a cleaning use?

solvent for polyurethane(?) foam (i.e. what comes out of pressurised cans). Think it dissolves perspex. Nail varnish remover is diluted surely? Not nice on skin.

Tar remover (as sold in motor accessory shops) - the only stuff I found which, well, removes tar.

Very good at too, but very messy to use. Beware fumes.
Eats through the tin after 15 yrs (don't ask!)

Turps burns with an amazingly smokey flame. I believe very expensive compared to subs.
subs = white spirit?

A cheap and much under-rated solvent for cleaning oily hands, but wash off straight away. Somewhat flammable!! See Jizer below.

Do you mean Jizer, as sold for engine cleaning? Very efficient for in situ engine cleaning. Spray it on with garden sprayer, leave a while then hose down (it's water soluble) perhaps with pressure washer!

What it for apart from the obvious?

CTC used to be sold as Thawpit and Dab-it-off.

Is it recommended as a paint stripper then? dilute with what?

But not much use as a lubricant as it soon dries out
bath grease??? there are surely more appropriate bath cleaners, such as "Jiff Bathroom Cleaner"

Allegedly gets your car started (never seen it work tho).

Is that same as lava stone? If so, it's used for scrubbing hard skin off feet.

Brillo pad - makes a revolting messy lather and goes rusty.
A relatively new one which we now use a lot is a scouring thing made of a ball of stainless steel ribbon. It gets burnt-on stuff off of ovenware and seems to do little or no damage to enamelware in the process - and it doesn't go rusty. Never touched a brillo pad since discovering it.

Youngsters might ask what a razor blade is, or how on earth you get them out of the razors they use these days (electric man, meself!).

Special short wire version for de-pinning files - essential tool.
Are we straying into Tools FAQ her? Or perhaps could have sub-heading; Cleaning Equipment?

i.e. dual use, cleaning and bleaching.

As per warning on label - never put down loo at same time as Harpic.
Can you still get Harpic?

err, isn't that the idea of a bleach :-)

Good point. Not so well known.

Didn't know that - wondered what was in it.

So why is it called a bleach?

My folks used to use peroxide to free ear-wax. Probably not recommended!

If you are going to get so techie as to quote Cl2, you might as well say it's the UV wot does he bleaching.

I wouldn't say the ones we use produce noxious fumes. May be a bit scented. Probably some ammonia in Windowlene. Can you still get household ammonia?
Household ammonia used for cleaning jewellery rings I think.

And dangerous stuff for untrained hands. (a.k.a. battery acid). Will dissolve metal, amongst other things, and release hydrogen.

Never seen that outside a chemi lab

Hydrochloric. Gives off choking HCl fumes. Also dangerous.

Kettle Descalers - do they warrant a separate entry?

You mean as in car colour restoring?

What is "brick fireskin"?
In "toilet limescale remover" I would think the specialist jell types are better, in that they don't run straight down the pan - not tried HCl tho.

... to surface, not if ingested.

Yes. What IS Fuller's Earth, chemically?

never knew that.

I know what a liquid lunch is, but that is a bit extreme. :-)

I believe the (conductive?) 'black' in the newsprint neutralises any static charge meaning that you don't finish up with the glass covered in tiny dust particles. In my experience crumpled newspaper is the *only* way of adequately cleaning glass prior to picture framing. Que 24 other ways...

There are Stain Devils (TM, I think) for just about any stain. Meths gets ballpoint ink off (at least when freshly marked).

If you have any valuable ones, don't try it at home. Picture cleaning and restoration is a craft that takes years to learn. There is a lot more to it than spit'n'polish.

... possibly due to the solution exploding in your face if not mixed in the correct order? NEVER add water to the crystals, always the other round, and a few at a time. Use rubber(?) gloves, plastic apron, goggles. Again proprietary stuff with added 'cling' is prob more effective.
hot caustic soda was the only thing that would shift the gunge built up on our chip fryer, and then not entirely. Thought drain unblocking was main domestic use for caustic soda? Don't use aluminium utensils (or other metal except SS?)

When (and why) should it be used for clothes? - also dissolves Al.

Our family boil em up in Persil. An overnight soak in Persil is a good way to clean teapots.

Used for wiping over fridge innards. Claimed to stop odours.

My water's pretty clean already thanks :-)

Excellent for removing nicotine stains from ceilings (once had a heavy smoker inhabiting the room). Steam it till its dripping wet; it then just wipes off.

Is she out of copyright now?

Only if it's for a pond. :-)
General comments:
A useful and enlightening FAQ, thank you for raising your head over the parapet.
As is, it has too many very short sentences, and some things are stated 'as a fact' with no explanation.
It's a great start, but will need the rough edges smoothed off. If possible try to expand the punchy points into proper sentences - I know it's a chore that takes a long time, but it will give it more credence and be easier to follow (well that's my view). I'm off on 2 weeks hols at the end of the week so you won't see much of me in the thread till mid-May. Good luck with the remainder.
Phil The uk.d-i-y FAQ is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk / The Google uk.d-i-y archive is at http://tinyurl.com/65kwq Remove NOSPAM from address to email me
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On Tue, 26 Apr 2005 16:02:20 GMT, in uk.d-i-y Phil Addison

Forgot to mention Brasso, Silvo, and jewellery 'dips' - that clear liquid you can dip silver items into, and it converts the black back into silver, whilst emitting H2S.
Phil The uk.d-i-y FAQ is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk / The Google uk.d-i-y archive is at http://tinyurl.com/65kwq Remove NOSPAM from address to email me
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Phil Addison wrote:
Snipped loads of things Ive now incoroprated.

Categories now done.

Its debated, which is why I didnt say. Its very fast, but cant shift everything. Its also mind bogglingly cheap, which will always be significant for some buyers.

only mentioned it once. IMHO it needs to be there because IME people will always say 'ah yeah but its not in my superfancy luxury shampoo.' They need to see for themselves that it is, and learn that its by no means the best for the job.

To some extent. Its the 13p/litre ones that are soap. Theres a lot I dont know on this subject... maybe will post it to a chem group later on to see what they pick up on.

heh, not if your heads painted I guess.

all of them

I dont know that either... why I picked a topic I only know half of Im not sure!

I suspect its just newness disease. Its newer so people can easily be persuaded to assume its better.

detergents
for the general purpose ones I believe it is, not for the specific stain removers.

another faq I think. I use the fast 13p/litre stuff for carpets, saves much labour.

can you tell us specifically what it removes? I've never got anywhere with it. I find its terrible on skin, some people get big red painful areas from it, takes weeks to clear up.

methylated
not a lot, theyre all 90% or more alcohol.

not exactly.

heard of people using it to clean, but cant remember what for. I would expect to remove oils, grease, tar etc, but not sure.

wash
I wouldnt dare. I know its used medicinally in Africa, but I still wouldnt use it on hands where it will be absorbed.

oil?
no idea: would that not be soda?

methanol
again, I dont know. Someone on ukdiy has been using it, but what for I dont know.

1,1,1 T has been sold as Dab-it-off too, so the brand name wont tell us the chemical.

At 200 /litre, no. Its one of those oddball solvents thats only occasionally useful, but still useful enough to have.

off
not pumice, but undercooked brick. Similar. No longer fashionable.

tesco limescale removing toilet cleaner

suitable comment added

I dont think those r cleaners, afaik I was thinking of some funny wax based hand clean paint remover I've got. I think its soft wax and solvent oils.

fairly sure its clay

in
*only*
not heard that explanation before.

ha, thats newsgroups!

Olbas
Yeah, how effective they are is another question. And 30/litre is a tad steep. I've started a section on stains, but it needs filling in yet.

ummm........ dunno. It works and is cheap is all I know.

I presume so, she was publishing books a century ago.

the
stated
know
credence
Yep, its just draft 1, just trying to get all the info in there first. Thanks for the input.

have fun!
NT
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SNIP
My dad used to have a large drum of highly concentrated phosphoric acid which was used to clean the concrete off the back of his readymix truck. He also swore by it as a loo descaler (*) and at it when he used to descale the kettle. 3 rinses later tea made from water in the kettle burnt both his mouth. Mother was not HP.
Cheers
Mark
(*) Apart from the time he decided to make a super concoction of acid and bleach. Bad mistake. Fortunately though it was in the garage so no real harm was done. At least not to MY lungs .....
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On 26 Apr 2005 12:19:51 -0700, in uk.d-i-y snipped-for-privacy@meeow.co.uk wrote:

Much better in FAQ2 now that there is into before these big chemi names hit the reader.

Specifically it lifts dried on self adhesive labels; the ones that you can't even scrape off without a struggle. Wet the label with it and leave a few minutes, it will then peel off and you wipe the residue away with a rag wetted with white spirit (anyone know what it is chemically?).

No. It is a petrochemical type thin liquid, sold in motor accessory shops as engine cleaner degreaser. Same as "Gunk" which does not seem to be around anymore, at least in my area. It leaves the dirty oily dirt in a state where it can be hosed off. It is water soluble.
If I have time before going away will look to see if label has more info.

Yes, I meant pumice-stone block. Definitely not fashionable.

I was shown the technique in a "Framers Workshop". That's a workshop around here where you use their workshop and equipment to frame your own pictures. You just pay for the glass and frame you use - they advise and help you do it - quite brilliant.

I meant that if so you could lift some of it.
Phil The uk.d-i-y FAQ is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk / The Google uk.d-i-y archive is at http://tinyurl.com/65kwq Remove NOSPAM from address to email me
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Sounds like some sort of super-sensitivity to it, which can happen with some people for just about any chemical you choose to pick. I and others I know do get it on us at times without any noticable affect at all. Actually, I used to use it to wash dirty oil and tar off my hands after fixing my car many years ago, although I probably wouldn't do that nowadays.

There seem to be two types of label sticky in common use. One is softened by water, and the other with white spirit. In both cases, the sticky fails to soften much with the 'other'.

Actually, Mr Beeton compiled it and wrote most of it. He knew it would sell better in his wife's name though. ;-)
--
Andrew Gabriel

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On Wed, 27 Apr 2005 08:43:24 GMT, in uk.d-i-y Phil Addison

http://www.h-e-d.co.uk/debJizer.htm made by Deb Products Ltd
Phil The uk.d-i-y FAQ is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk / The Google uk.d-i-y archive is at http://tinyurl.com/65kwq Remove NOSPAM from address to email me
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Phil Addison wrote:

re jizer:

thanks, I now have at least a rough idea of what it is, oily solvents. Paraffin or diesel would do similar job, those are the traditional options for vehicle degreasing, and than steam cleaning. Emulsify them in water and the resulting muck might even be water suspendable.
NT
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On 27 Apr 2005 08:22:07 -0700, in uk.d-i-y snipped-for-privacy@meeow.co.uk wrote:

Its ages since I've used paraffin but I'm sure Jizer is a lot different, not least in that after rinsing off the parts dry clean, whereas paraffin IIRC leaves a greasy film. Anyone that does car oily car repairs would be well advised to give it a try. I also use it as a cleaning bath for smaller dismantled car parts. I don't have a steam cleaner big enough for car steaming so can't comment on that.
RS have more description here http://tinyurl.com/e467h , also seems a bit cheaper.
Phil The uk.d-i-y FAQ is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk / The Google uk.d-i-y archive is at http://tinyurl.com/65kwq Remove NOSPAM from address to email me
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On Wed, 27 Apr 2005 17:19:35 GMT, in uk.d-i-y Phil Addison

I've checked the label and find the current one I have is a different brand but the same principle as Jizer. It is Hyperclean from Comma Oils http://www.commaoil.com/Product%20Pages/Valeting/hyperclean.htm
Not much of a description on their site (and valeting - well really!) but I have the 1 litre can which still has the shop sticker on it at £3.49. Spraying it on with a garden spraybar is quite economical and easy to reach around (and under) the sump. It does clear that thick sludge quite well.
Phil The uk.d-i-y FAQ is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk / The Google uk.d-i-y archive is at http://tinyurl.com/65kwq Remove NOSPAM from address to email me
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Phil Addison wrote:

Oils
thanks, added it to the list. Hopefully the humour section will make it a bit more readable too.
NT
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On 26 Apr 2005 04:47:42 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@meeow.co.uk wrote:

Good effort, thank you. Some suggestions:-

Almost completely ineffective as a detergent for cleaning anything other than skin (I assume it is passable on that - I've never tried it)

Safe to use on most plastics - denatures latex rubber gloves in minutes.

Now banned except for a few industrial uses by the Montreal Protocol (Ozone depleter) and unavailable. No longer used in dry cleaner or Tippex.

Causes corrosion.

Nail Varnish remover usually also contains Lanolin or similar

Methylene Chloride?

d-Limonene (1-methyl-4-isopropenyl-1-cyclohexene)

Doesn't this contain Ether as well?

Not as effective as a bactericide or disinfectant as Chlorine bleach

Also available at much lower price in most Indian Food stores.

Distilled vinegar - wine and cider vinegars are pretty useless.

Used in food so not that toxic.

Hydrochloric
--
Peter Parry.
http://www.wpp.ltd.uk/
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I don't know if this comment is based on experience or prejudice, but IME it works just fine as a dishwashing detergent. It doesn't produce loads of froth, but I don't actually care about froth if the plates are clean.
Peter
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Peter Riocreux wrote:

I've never had any problems with it, very versatile, except that I wouldnt use it on anything painted.
NT
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On 27 Apr 2005 08:40:42 +0100, Peter Riocreux

Experience, and the reports from a team of workers who have to use it at one commercial site.
--
Peter Parry.
http://www.wpp.ltd.uk/
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On Tue 26 Apr 2005 12:47:42, wrote: <

I can't help you answer if it is D-I-Y or not - although I would tend to think that it is.
However I am posting as I must extend a welcome to a FAQ like this. I only wish you had lots more detail and I am sure that further details will appear in time.
Well done.
Is this FAQ going to be kept on a website? Do you have the URL.
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Cleaners and Detergents FAQ 2 -----------------------------
Contents: ---------
Detergents and soaps Solvents Oils Abrasives bleaches spray and wipe cleaners Limescale removers specialist cleaner alkalis Water cleaners Stains More information
Detergents and soaps --------------------
Cheapo washing up liquid: probably the fastest detergent, but the least powerful. Removes most things, very quickly. 15p/litre. It is simply liquid soap. Dries skin. Will wash clothes in 2 minutes in cold water, but can not remove everything, so not recommended for continued use. Its speed makes it useful for washing carpets, saves much labour.
Liquid soaps: Most goods sold as liquid soaps are not, they are in nearly every case sodium lauryl ethyl sulphate, aka sodium laureth sulphate, a synthetic detergent. This is a nearly universal low cost human cleaning detergent. It is mildly irritant, mildly skin drying, very cheap to make, and although not currently receiving much publicity, there have been concerns about its toxicity. Nearly all commercial skin washes and shampoos contain it, regardless of price, brand, marketing, etc.
Quality washing up liquid: much better on skin than the cheapie stuff, remove more types of dirt. But not as fast acting as the low cost soap type.
Ecover washing up liquid: much better on skin than other washing liquids. Can strip some household paints. Non toxic. Can also be used as body wash and shampoo: mix a very little vegetable oil in for drier skin and hair. Palm oil is favoured for hair.
Washing powder: more powerful than washing liquids, effective degreasing with hot water. Alkaline. More drying and irritant to skin than any washing up liquid. Biological powders also contain enzymes to improve their cleaning action at 40C, but the enzymes stop working at hotter temps. Most contain various additives such as optical brighteners etc, and powdered cardboard filler. An overnight soak with bio powder can remove a wide range of stains and organic materials.
Washing powder tablets: take time to dissolve, thus give less cleaning time than powders. Also some brands fail to dissolve, causing poor washes and clothes with a residue of washing powder, which irritates skin.
Dishwasher detergent, powders and tablets: most powerful detergent, alkaline, requires hot water to work, the most irritant detergent to skin. Skin contact best avoided.
Dishwasher detergent, liquid: I know nowt about em.
Wonder / miracle / magic cleaners / stain removers: ordinary detergents sold at steep prices. Stain removers designed for a limited range of stains are a different thing to these general purpose wonder bars.
Household soap bars: Soap intended for skin cleaning is normally superfatted, meaning it contains free fat. This makes it poorly suited to general household cleaning, and so outside the scope of this FAQ. In poorer countries a wider variety of soaps are found, with bars for household cleaning, shampooing, laundry etc, but these are not often seen in Britain. If you want to find them, look for them at ethnic supermarkets. They are often sold in big bars a foot or so long, you slice off a new soap bar when you need one. The colours indicate which type of soap it is. They make very economical cleaners, but are not widely available, not widely used, and not the best type of cleaning product available.
Solvents --------
Many solvents are volatile, flammable, explosive, toxic, melt plastics, and/or drug-like. Ensure good ventilation.
- white spirit: aka turps substitute. Petroleum distillates. Very irritant to skin, slow to evaporate. Dissolves un-set oil based (gloss) paints and uncured epoxy resin. Not very versatile. - 1,1,1 trichloroethylene: aka spot dry cleaner, tippex thinner. No longer sold. Adequate ventilation essential. Never place dry cleaned goods in a closed car. - alcohol: degreaser. Aka surgical spirit, rubbing alcohol, methylated spirits. Meths leaves purple dye residue behind after it evaporates. Removes fresh ballpoint ink. - Isopropyl alcohol: aka isopropanl. almost identical properties to alcohol. Screen wash, head cleaner. - paraffin: very slow to evaporate, repels insects, dissolves oils. One of the safer solvents - diesel: - acetone, aka nail varnish remover: dissolves polyurethane (squirt can) foam. Dissolves perspex and can be used to solvent weld it. - cellulose thinners: a powerful mix of solvents, often used when other solvents have failed. Removes tar. - Nitromethane: aka cyanoacrylate debonder, dissolves superglue - nitromors: Methylene chloride, paint and varnish stripper. Produces fumes - turpentine and turps substitute: gloss/eggshell/oil paint solvents. See white spirit - petrol: flammable and explosive, fumes can produce intense headaches. - orange oil: aka limonene, sticky stuff remover. - glo-fuel for model aircraft: various mixtures exist, containing methanol, oils, solvents, etc. Flammable, explosive, very toxic, fumes can be fatal. - carbon tetrachloride: powerful general purpose solvent, narcotic, now banned from domestic use due to toxicity. - pipe weld solvent:
Oils
--

- Olbas oil: a solvent plant oil mixture. removes ballpoint ink, paint,
varnish, wax. Available from superdrug, boots, supemarkets etc
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Cleaners and Detergents FAQ 2 -----------------------------
Contents: ---------
Detergents and soaps Solvents Oils Abrasives bleaches spray and wipe cleaners Limescale removers specialist cleaner alkalis Water cleaners Stains More information
Detergents and soaps --------------------
Cheapo washing up liquid: probably the fastest detergent, but the least powerful. Removes most things, very quickly. 15p/litre. It is simply liquid soap. Dries skin. Will wash clothes in 2 minutes in cold water, but can not remove everything, so not recommended for continued use. Its speed makes it useful for washing carpets, saves much labour.
Liquid soaps: Most goods sold as liquid soaps are not, they are in nearly every case sodium lauryl ethyl sulphate, aka sodium laureth sulphate, a synthetic detergent. This is a nearly universal low cost human cleaning detergent. It is mildly irritant, mildly skin drying, very cheap to make, and although not currently receiving much publicity, there have been concerns about its toxicity. Nearly all commercial skin washes and shampoos contain it, regardless of price, brand, marketing, etc.
Quality washing up liquid: much better on skin than the cheapie stuff, remove more types of dirt. But not as fast acting as the low cost soap type.
Ecover washing up liquid: much better on skin than other washing liquids. Can strip some household paints. Non toxic. Can also be used as body wash and shampoo: mix a very little vegetable oil in for drier skin and hair. Palm oil is favoured for hair.
Washing powder: more powerful than washing liquids, effective degreasing with hot water. Alkaline. More drying and irritant to skin than any washing up liquid. Biological powders also contain enzymes to improve their cleaning action at 40C, but the enzymes stop working at hotter temps. Most contain various additives such as optical brighteners etc, and powdered cardboard filler. An overnight soak with bio powder can remove a wide range of stains and organic materials.
Washing powder tablets: take time to dissolve, thus give less cleaning time than powders. Also some brands fail to dissolve, causing poor washes and clothes with a residue of washing powder, which irritates skin.
Dishwasher detergent, powders and tablets: most powerful detergent, alkaline, requires hot water to work, the most irritant detergent to skin. Skin contact best avoided.
Dishwasher detergent, liquid: I know nowt about em.
Wonder / miracle / magic cleaners / stain removers: ordinary detergents sold at steep prices. Stain removers designed for a limited range of stains are a different thing to these general purpose wonder bars.
Household soap bars: Soap intended for skin cleaning is normally superfatted, meaning it contains free fat. This makes it poorly suited to general household cleaning, and so outside the scope of this FAQ. In poorer countries a wider variety of soaps are found, with bars for household cleaning, shampooing, laundry etc, but these are not often seen in Britain. If you want to find them, look for them at ethnic supermarkets. They are often sold in big bars a foot or so long, you slice off a new soap bar when you need one. The colours indicate which type of soap it is. They make very economical cleaners, but are not widely available, not widely used, and not the best type of cleaning product available.
Solvents --------
Many solvents are volatile, flammable, explosive, toxic, melt plastics, and/or drug-like. Ensure good ventilation.
- white spirit: aka turps substitute. Petroleum distillates. Very irritant to skin, slow to evaporate. Dissolves un-set oil based (gloss) paints and uncured epoxy resin. Not very versatile. - 1,1,1 trichloroethylene: aka spot dry cleaner, tippex thinner. No longer sold. Adequate ventilation essential. Never place dry cleaned goods in a closed car. - alcohol: degreaser. Aka surgical spirit, rubbing alcohol, methylated spirits. Meths leaves purple dye residue behind after it evaporates. Removes fresh ballpoint ink. - Isopropyl alcohol: aka isopropanl. almost identical properties to alcohol. Screen wash, head cleaner. - paraffin: very slow to evaporate, repels insects, dissolves oils. One of the safer solvents - diesel: - acetone, aka nail varnish remover: dissolves polyurethane (squirt can) foam. Dissolves perspex and can be used to solvent weld it. - cellulose thinners: a powerful mix of solvents, often used when other solvents have failed. Removes tar. - Nitromethane: aka cyanoacrylate debonder, dissolves superglue - nitromors: Methylene chloride, paint and varnish stripper. Produces fumes - turpentine and turps substitute: gloss/eggshell/oil paint solvents. See white spirit - petrol: flammable and explosive, fumes can produce intense headaches. - orange oil: aka limonene, sticky stuff remover. - glo-fuel for model aircraft: various mixtures exist, containing methanol, oils, solvents, etc. Flammable, explosive, very toxic, fumes can be fatal. - carbon tetrachloride: powerful general purpose solvent, narcotic, now banned from domestic use due to toxicity. - pipe weld solvent:
Oils
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- Olbas oil: a solvent plant oil mixture. removes ballpoint ink, paint,
varnish, wax. Available from superdrug, boots, supemarkets etc
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