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Understanding Cold Water Cleaning

Cold Water Cleaning Is Not New—It's An Old Process Made Easier

To truly understand cleaning, one must have a basic knowledge of chemistry and physics and combine that knowledge with on-the-job custodial experience. In the days of old when there were no “cold water” detergents, the heat energy in hot water was used to melt soil binders (grease, oil, & fats) to enhance a soap's ability to break up soil.

Critics of using cold water detergent solutions like to say that hot water is best because it has been the temperature of choice since "the beginning of time". They seem to leave out of the equation the fact that a cold water rinse always follows a hot water washing.

  1. Washing cloths in hot water followed by a COLD water rinse cycle.
  2. Mopping a floor with warm/hot water followed by a COLD water rinse mopping.
  3. Washing dishes in the sink using hot water and then rinsing with cold water to remove remaining residue.

Today's high-performance detergents can emulsify soil binders at any temperature short of solid ice. An effective cold water washing solution allows soil binders to float away from the surface immediately after being emulsified—the cold water rinse step is eliminated. As long as the spent solution is removed well (mop, washcloth, or vacuum), a soil residue should not form when the surface dries—i.e. grease film or soil streaks.

Those who chastise cold water cleaning need to spend time with, or as, a custodian and see up close how today's high-performance cold water cleaning chemicals are able to deliver sanitary results without the need for an additional cold water rinse step.

Also, anyone who claims that hot water kills germ while the surface is being washed is spreading misinformation. First, the water takes the temperature of the surface being washed in seconds and is no longer hot enough (i.e. boiling water) to kill germs. Secondly, the soil in the water contaminates everything and prevents any sanitizing process to take place.

Bottom line: Using today’s high-performance detergents mixed in cold water eliminates the need for an additional cold water rinse step while helping to achieve optimum sanitary surface conditions. When the work is performed properly, the time required to perform a task may be slashed by approximately 50%... Also, facility owners eliminate fuel costs for heating cleaning solution water.

A clean surface is a healthy surface.

Thank you.

Gabe Zanche, Sr. - Co-Founder of Gabriel First Corp. Copyright © 2006 Gabriel First Corp.

Please feel free to contact the Gabriel team if you have any comments or questions on this material.