Chemicals Used In Cleaning Cars

By Owen Jones

Whether you are an amateur detailing your own car or a professional twelve cars a day, you ought to be well au fait with the chemicals used in the industry, because all chemicals are perilous if misused.

However, safety is merely part of the reason for getting to know the chemicals used for detailing cars, you also have to know if someone is trying to sell you liquids that will or only cannot work.

There are a great deal of liars in any line of business and a fool and his money are soon parted. Knowing the chemicals used for detailing cars will help you avoid being duped by suppliers.

For instance, you will frequently hear salesmen say that you can clean the inside of a car using the liquid from just one bottle.

This is simply not true, especially if you have various fabrics inside the car like plastic door linings, fabric carpets and leather upholstery. It is just not feasible to clean all these different textiles well with just one liquid.

Surfactants are clever kinds of soap-like substances and consist of different ingredients, a bit like combined shampoo and conditioner for humans. These surfactant molecules consist of two kinds a hydrophile and a hydrophobe. The hydrophobe is drawn to dirt and it strives to break it down, whilst the hydrophile envelopes the dirt so that it can be taken away.

The most common solvent known to man is water, but it has only a limited effect on grease, so in the case of grease, manufacturers turn to butyl and dilemonene, which is extracted from lemon and orange peel. These solvents are costly, but they are fairly harmless and can be used on several surfaces.

Other fats, such as sweat, can be washed away using animal fats that have been cured with a saponifier, which is usually a strong alkaline. This does not sound very pleasant, but we have all used soap made from animal fats.

The animal fat mixes with the human fat (say perspiration) and they dissolve into one another. The alkaline then breaks them down so that they can get carried away. You do this every day when you wash or take a shower.

The science of cleaning is quite a complex one once you begin delving into it, but why some products are only good for one type of job only becomes apparent once you do study it.

However, once you do find out what is actually going on and where the chemicals have come from, a lot of individuals wish that they had not taken the time to go into the topic.

In summary, and to keep it easy (more for my benefit than for yours, I assure you) try to treat like with like. Be suspicious of using a chemical for other than its specified purpose without having carried out trials on out-of-sight patches. Endeavour to use petroleum based cleaners on oil; alkaline cleaners on organic materials and acids on non-organic materials.

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