Thanks Dan at www.cleanitsupply.com for this great Glossary



– A –



The action of wearing away a floor’s finish film by friction.


Abrasion Resistance

The ability to resist wearing, removal or damage from mechanical action.



Wearing away or cleaning by friction.



A product that works by abrasion. Products such as cleaners, polishes and pads may contain an abrasive. Gritty additives are used to increase scouring ability and can be used to scour, scrub, smooth or polish. Abrasive particles are found in such products as cleaners, pumice stones, scouring pads and hand cleaners. May scratch some surfaces in use.


Abrasive Pads

There are three basic types. Metal are a mesh from #00 to #3 grade. Stainless steel pads are similar to metal, but generally coarser and the stainless steel will not rust. Carbon silicate pads are coated over nylon, polyester or other materials.



A material that attracts substances from a surface to the absorbent material. Widely used in carpet cleaning and concrete cleaning.



The process in which one substance draws into itself another substance, i.e., water absorbed by a sponge. Also a process by which organic material is consumed by microorganisms.



Any substance, which when dissolved in water, yields a pH below 7. When dissolved in water, it creates solutions that conduct electricity, taste sour and turns litmus paper red. Inorganic acids (sometimes called mineral acids) include sulfuric, nitric, hydrochloric and phosphoric. Organic acids include acetic, oxalic, hydroxyacetic and citric. Acids are used in toilet bowl cleaners, rust removers and hard water stain removers.


Acid Cleaner

A detergent that partially or totally consists of one or more acids.


Acid Hardness

Chemicals, generally metal fluorosilicates, applied to concrete or terrazzo, which react with the free lime and calcium carbonates present to form silica quartz, a very hard substance. The result is concrete or terrazzo with a harder surface than that obtained without acid hardening.



Specific types of building blocks (monomers) used in creating polymers and resins. Type of polymer used in floor finishes which characteristically provides better abrasion and detergent resistance than styrenes. It is water soluble and yields a durable, easy to apply coating. Acrylics add toughness, durability, and removal properties to the polymer or resin.


Active Ingredients

The ingredients in a product that are specifically designed to achieve the product performance objectives. Ingredients, which promote claimed results. Usually, this term is associated with products registered with the EPA, in which case the active ingredients are those constituents which are recognized as providing the claimed pesticide properties, e.g., insecticide, rodenticide, bactericide, etc.



One characteristic of soils or films which causes soils and oils to stick or bond to surfaces making them difficult to remove. Also, the ability of floor finish to adhere to the substrate by physical or chemical means.



Common term used to refer to pressurized containers that dispense their contents as an extremely fine mist or liquid or solid particle, suspended in air.



A class of organic compounds containing one or more hydroxyl groups (OH). Alcohol is used in detergent formulations to control viscosity, to act as a solvent for other ingredients and to provide resistance to low and freezing temperatures encountered in shipping storage and use.



Organic compounds that contain one or more hydroxyl groups (-OH functional groups) in each molecule. Alcohols used in cleaners include ethyl, methyl, propyl and butyl.


Alcohols (Industrial)

Common types used in cleaning products are Methyl, Ethyl, and Isopropyl. These are used to increase the solvency and cleaning ability without residue.



Product which destroys and inhibits the growth of algae.


Aliphatic Solvents

These are sometimes referred to as paraffin. They are also referred to as straight chain or open chain solvents. Kerosene, Odorless Mineral Spirits and Mineral Seal Oil are examples of aliphatic solvents.



A chemical substance or substance when dissolved in water, with pH greater than 7 that reacts with and neutralizes an acid. Also called alkaline or base. It turns red litmus paper blue, and feels soapy because it reacts with the skin. Alkalinity is exhibited in solution by alkalis such as sodium or potassium hydroxide or alkaline salts such as sodium carbonate. Also, a substance used in some wax strippers, degreasers and cleaners to assist in soil and finish removal.


Alkali Soluble Polymer

A polymer, which can form a clear solution, when dissolved in a sufficient amount of base, such as ammonia and water.



A formulated mixture of metals.



An organic chemical characterized by the presence of nitrogen and an alkaline pH. Unlike ammonia type strippers, amine type strippers are pleasant to work with, as they are free of strong ammonia odor and do not irritate the nose and eyes.



An alkaline gas composed of nitrogen and hydrogen. Aqueous solutions of with 5-10% ammonia are sold as household ammonia.


Amphoteric Surfactant

A surfactant that, in water solution, may be either anionic or cationic, depending upon the pH.



A product that has had all of the water removed.


Anionic Detergent

A material which carries a negative charge. Most soap is anionic, as they combine fatty acids and an alkali. Oleate Soap, Amine Soap, Sodium Soap and combinations of the three are frequently used in cleaners.


Anionic Surfactant

Negatively charged part of a molecule. Anionic surfactants are widely used in high-sudsing detergents.



Any material added to a floor polish to control foam. Most commonly used substances are silicone emulsions.



Additive used in floor finishes for preventing film degradation caused by increased oxidation during high speed buffing.


Antiredeposition Agent

An ingredient used in detergents to help prevent soil from redepositing on surfaces or fabrics. Sodium carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) is the most widely used.


Aromatic Solvents

Solvents made of compounds that contain an unsaturated ring of carbon atoms, typified by benzene structures. Xylene and toluene are aromatic solvents sometimes referred to as Ring Hydrocarbons.


Asphalt Tile

A flooring material made of asbestos fibers, pigments and inert fillers bound together with an asphalt or resin binder. Ingredients are mixed, heated, then rolled out in sheets and cut to size. Asphalt tile is also furnished in a grade designated as grease proof. Oils and solvents should be avoided on all types. One possible way to distinguish asphalt tile from vinyl asbestos, which is also hard and brittle at normal temperatures, is to rub the tile in an inconspicuous spot with a rag dampened with petroleum naphtha. Any color transfer from the file to the cloth indicates that the tile is asphalt instead of vinyl asbestos. Rubber tile will also show some color transfer, but rubber tile can be indented with a fingernail.



A vapor or gas which can cause unconsciousness or death by suffocation. A potential hazard, particularly when working with certain chemicals in unventilated or confined areas.


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– B –



the various materials that comprise the back of a carpet that secures the face of the carpet pile.



Single-celled microorganisms not containing chlorophyll.



Trade name for Propoxur (Insecticide). It belongs to the carbamate family. It kills by inactivating nerve transmissions and is moderately fast acting.



An attractant such as fly bait.



A chemical agent that destroys bacteria.


Base (See Alkali)

A water soluble substance with pH greater than 7.


Beater Bar

A rigid bar on a vacuum cleaner brush that agitates and loosens soil from the carpet.



Any substance which has the capability of being decomposed or broken down by biological organisms or action. Generally refers to detergents and cleaners. Many plastics are not biodegradable.


Bite In

Whitening or dulling caused during application of floor finishes. It can occur if re-application is done too quickly or if too much product is used, and usually occurs with self sensitive (alkali soluble) systems. Bite in can be detected by increased drag during application of multiple coats.


Black Heel Mark Resistance

Resistance to permanent transfer of material from a shoe heel to a floor finish. Carefully selected waxes are employed to improve black heel mark resistance.


Black Marking

Black marks left on the floor finish caused by rubber being abraded from rubber heels of shoes.



A product that cleans, whitens, removes stains and brightens fabrics. It also removes stains on some hard surfaces.



Refers to color loss of a floor tile due to the leaching out of pigments by over aggressive stripping compounds. Also, removal of color from carpet or other floor tile material by liquid. It can also refer to a loss or transfer of color from one section of a carpet to another.



A term applied to the whitening effect that sometimes occurs as a solvent finish dries.


Boiling Point

The temperature at which a liquid changes to a vapor state at a given pressure.


Boric Acid

A weak acid used in many insecticides, antiseptics and cleaners.


Bright Floor Finish

A term meaning the same as self-polishing floor finish.


Broad Spectrum

Killing a wide variety – (Negative) and Gram + (Positive) organisms.


Browning (Brown Out)

A yellow or brownish discoloration of the carpet’s face, most often caused by excess alkalinity in the cleaning agent, activated alkaline residue or over wetting. It occurs by the carpet’s natural coloring in the backing to travel up the fiber strand and discolor the carpet.



Requires mechanical action to produce a gloss. Also, refers to softer floor finish formulas which are capable of being repaired using conventional equipment.


Buffable Floor Finish

A term used to describe any solvent or water based finish requiring mechanical action to improve gloss and/or general appearance.



Any substance in a fluid which tends to resist a change in pH when acid or alkali is added. Also a slang term for a floor buffing and scrubbing machine.



Polishing with a brush or pad.



A heavy deposit of multiple layers of floor finish, wax, dirt and grime. It is caused by adding layer after layer of floor finish over dirt without deep scrubbing the old layers away first. Build-ups are frequently found along baseboards and corners.



A material that upgrades or protects the cleaning efficiency of a surfactant. Builders inactivate water hardness, supply alkalinity to assist cleaning, provide buffering to maintain alkalinity, prevents redeposition of soil and emulsification of oily and greasy soils.



Usually refers to the use of higher rpm equipment when buffing a floor, and designates a type of maintenance program.



A maintenance method used to produce a gloss with frictional heat and vigorous mechanical action. Polishing through friction, typically from high speed mechanical means using a polishing agent.


Butyl Cellosolve

A water soluble solvent widely used in cleaning compounds. Excellent water based degreasing agent.

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– C –



Cubic Feet per Minute. Describes the amount of air generated by a vacuum motor.


Calcium Carbonate

An inorganic compound that occurs naturally as chalk and limestone. It has very slight solubility in water and is a chief cause of “hardness” in water.



The hardest natural wax exuded from the leaves of the carnauba palm used in floor finish formulas. This wax is emulsifier and yields a glossy, durable, buffable film when properly formulated in aqueous floor waxes. Carnauba wax is graded in five categories. Only types 1 and 2 are used appreciably in floor waxes because of their lighter color. Types 3 through 5 come from more mature leaves and are darker in color.



The insert liquid added to an active ingredient to make the formulation soluble. Carriers are typically either hydrocarbons (sometimes referred to as oil-based) or water.



An element or compound that accelerates the rate of a chemical reaction but will not be changed nor consumed by it.


Cationic Surfactant

A surfactant with a positively charged ionic group. The most common cationic surfactants are known as quaternary ammonium compounds such as alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride. These are widely used as disinfectants and sanitizers.



Any strong alkaline material which has a corrosive or aggressive affect on living tissue. A strong alkaline substance which irritates the skin.


Ceramic Tile

A flooring material made from a mixture of special clays and colorants that are fused together at high temperature into a hard brick like or porcelain substance. Sometimes coated with a thin film of vitreous material called glazing.



A phenomenon of certain coatings manifested by the presence of loose powder in result from the film itself, at or just beneath the surface.


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. Ingredients include ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA), NTA and sodium citrate.


Chemical Compound

The chemical association of two or more elements.


Chemical Reaction

Any change which alters the chemical properties of a substance or which forms a new substance. During a chemical reaction, products are formed from reactants.


Chemical Resistance

Ability to withstand an assortment of chemicals such as gasoline or alcohol without being damaged.


Chemical Symbol

A shorthand way of representing an element in formula and equations. Sodium Chloride is represented in chemical symbols by NaCl (Na is Sodium and Cl is Chlorine).



A chlorinated hydrocarbon with slow kill, but extremely long lasting. Because of its toxicity, it was primarily used only to kill termites.


Chlorinated Hydrocarbon

A chemical that contains chlorine, hydrogen and carbon. They are also called organochlorines.


Chlorinated Solvent

Degreasing solvents with lower flammability and greater solvent power than normal petroleum solvents such as mineral spirits. Examples include methylene chloride and trichloroethylene.


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.


Chlorine Powerful

Oxidizing agent sometimes used as a germicide.



Circular streaks left on the carpet after a rotary shampooing because of improper technique.



Clearness; Lack of haze or light scattering properties.



Cleaning is locating, identifying, containing, removing and disposing of unwanted substances (pollutants) from the environment. It is our most powerful means of managing our immediate surrounding and protecting our health.


Cleaning Agent

Detergent or emulsifying agent used in the carpet cleaning process.



A powdered or liquid cleaning product containing abrasives, surfactants and frequently bleach.


Cloud Point

The temperature at which a surfactant becomes insoluble in water. This becomes important when designing detergents for use in hot water.



Usually caused by over wetting. Residue from previous cleanings which is not removed and left too wet will wick up the carpet fiber and cause a cloudy appearance on the surface.



An irreversible process in which a number of emulsion droplets coalesce, leading to complete separation of the emulsion.



To blend together, to unite into a whole, to fuse. As related to floor finishes, the formulation of the film as the water evaporates.



A solvent, usually a glycol or glycol ether, which helps promote the union of individual emulsion particles into a continuous film.



A type of solution in which the particles are not dissolved but are dispersed throughout the solvent or medium and held in suspension.


Color Fast

A term to describe carpet fiber’s ability to hold uniform coloration.



The ability of two or more substances to mix without objectionable changes in their physical or chemical properties.



A combination of two or more elements, bonded together in some way. It has different physical and chemical properties from the elements it is made of. Compounds are often difficult to split into their elements and can only be separated by chemical reactions.



The undiluted form of a dilutable cleaning product.



The amount of active ingredient in a product. Concentration may be calculated either by weight or by volume.



A flooring material made from a mixture of sand, gravel, Portland cement and modifying additives, which react with water to form a hard rocklike sub stance. Portland cement is the glue which holds the other materials together. Hardening occurs through hydration of these materials.


Concrete Seal

A protective coating applied to a new or old concrete floor to harden, seal, and reduce dusting.


Conductive Flooring

A flooring material that will conduct electricity to reduce hazards from unwanted static electricity such as sparks in an explosive environment. Conductive floors offer a resistance of 25,000 to 1,000,000 ohms per 3 lineal feet. Conductive flooring materials

include linoleum, terrazzo, ceramic tile, vinyl and rubber. Conductivity is achieved by using acetylene carbon, cupric salts, or other special conducting materials. Wire mesh may also be laid directly under the tile to assure uniform conductance of the entire floor.



Entry of undesirable organisms into some material or object.



Any fluid used in the metalworking process to reduce heat and provide lubricity between the tool and the work piece.


Cork Tile

A flooring material composed of ground cork with or without resins that is compressed and heat cured into the finished product. Chosen mostly for its beauty and sound deadening properties. Cork is best maintained with organic solvent based products such as traffic wax paste or liquid.



Process or gradual eating away by chemical reaction.


Corrosion Inhibitor

A material that protects against the wearing away of surfaces. Sodium silicate is a corrosion inhibitor commonly used in detergents.



Any solid, liquid or gas that burns, irritates or destructively attacks another substance.



Substances which cause skin and eye damage at the site of contact.



A solvent which modifies the performance or stability characteristics of polish.



The square feet of surface covered by a gallon.



Formation of an opaque off colored layer at the top of a liquid emulsion.


Critical Micelle Concentration

The concentration of a surfactant in solution at which the molecules begin to form aggregates called micelles while the concentration of surfactant in solution remains constant.



This is a loss of carpet’s excess color when rubbed in either the wet or dry state.



The process of transferring bacteria from one person or an object to another person.



An entity, which attaches two, chains of polymer molecules together by forming a chemical bond.

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– D –



This ingredient is also known as Vapona. This belongs to the family of organophosphates. It is a long term residual with a moderate high toxicity.


D. N. R. (or DNR)

Department of Natural Resources.


Damp Mopping

A maintenance method using a well-wrung out mop dampened with water or cleaning solution to remove light soil from floors.



A substance used to reduce foaming due to agitation. Defoamers include silicone fluids and organic phosphates. A surface active agent that is used in cleaning to reduce foaming. Usually introduced into the recovery tank of extraction equipment to reduce suds caused by shampoo left in the carpet.



Breakdown of the product due primarily to age. It is also the breakdown of active ingredient after application.



A specialty product that removes grease and greasy/oily soils from hard surfaces. Basic ingredients include surfactants that penetrate and emulsify along with alcohol or glycol derivatives to boost cleaning.


Deionized Water

Water from which charged or ionized organic or inorganic salts are removed.



Describes a substance which absorbs water vapor from the air and dissolves in it, forming a concentrated solution. Calcium Chloride is an example.



Equal to its mass divided by its volume.



A product for destroying, masking or eliminating offensive odors.



Products specifically formulated to destroy, mask or modify unpleasant odors in the carpet.



A chemical which is used for cleaning surfaces, which may possess various properties such as surface wetting, soil emulsification, soil dispersion or soil suspension. A type of chemical compound which possesses surfactant properties, including surface wetting and soil dispersion.


Detergent Resistance

Ability to withstand treatment with detergent solution such as 1:40 GP Forward to water without being damaged.



Any substance with very low electrical conductivity.



The spontaneous and even mixing of gases or liquids.



A chemical agent, usually an organic bacteria, used to break down stains like blood or food.



Liquid (usually a solvent or water) used to make the product less concentrated.


Dilution Rate (or ratio)

Ratio of liquid to concentrate that ultimately yields the effective finished product desired.


Dip Tank Degreasing

The process in which grease, dirt and oil are removed from the metal parts by immersing them in a degreasing solution.


Dirt Embodiment

Presence of trapped dirt and foreign matter which cannot be removed by detergent washing. Soft films or excess plasticizer are the usual causes of dirt embodiment.


Dry Bright Floor Finish

A term meaning the same as self polishing floor finish.



An agent that destroys harmful bacteria and/or viruses on inanimate surfaces (except spores).



The process by which pathogenic (disease-causing) microorganisms are killed.



Chemical that causes insoluble ingredients to be evenly distributed throughout a liquid.


Dispersing Agent

A material that reduces the cohesive attraction between like particles.



A colloidal system characterized by a continuous (external phase) and a discontinuous (internal phase). Uniformity of dispersions can be improved by the use of dispersing agents.


Distilled Water

Water which has had salts removed by distillation. It is very pure, but does contain some dissolved gases.



A natural hydrocarbon solvent extracted from citrus products and usually smells like oranges.


Drain Cleaner

A chemically strong product formulated to clean plugs of solid grease and other varied materials embedded in drains.


Dry Buffing

A maintenance method using floor machine and appropriate polishing pad or brush to restore floor finish to glossy appearance.


Dry Foam

A detergent solution with a small amount of water that is mechanically worked into a carpet. The loose soil is removed by a vacuum.


Dry Foam Cleaning

A concentrated foam is used as the cleaning element and is dispensed through a dry foam machine. Shampoo is applied as foam, therefore less wetting occurs.


Dry Rot

Disintegration of carpet backing which is caused by mildew.


Dry Spotter

A stain removal agent containing dry solvents. Used primarily for grease or oily type stains.


Dry Stripping

A maintenance technique used to remove floor finish with a floor machine, suitable pad, and spray stripping solution.


Dry Time

The length of time required for one coat of finish or seal to properly dry prior to the next coat being applied. Four types of drying phenomena exist:

(1) Dry to Touch (sometimes called dry to eye or visual dryness) Time: When film feels or appears dry.

(2) Tack Free Time: Time when dry materials, such as dust or tissue, cannot be made to adhere to the surface even when pressure is applied.

(3) Recoat Time: Time when additional coat can be applied to previous coat without bad effects such as whitening.

(4) Full Cure Time: Time when physical properties of film are fully developed and, therefore, cease to change.



Resistance to change from original appearance. Durability is term used to describe how long polish film will resist changes in appearance caused by foot traffic or other types of wear before spray buffing, recoating, or stripping is considered necessary. Terms used to describe durability include abrasion resistance, adhesion, black heel mark resistance, lack of dirt embodiment, hardness, scuff resistance, scratch resistance, detergent resistance, and gloss retention.



The wearing quality of a floor finish.


Dust Mopping

A maintenance method used to remove dust from floors with a dry or specially treated mop.



The term used to describe the effect of burnishing a floor finish film to the point of top layer degradation.


Dwell or Contact Time

The time during a process in which a particular substance remains in one location (eg, the time a cleaner remains on the floor).


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– E –


E.P.A. (or EPA)

Environmental Protection Agency.



Describes a crystal which loses part of its water of crystallization to the air. A powdery coating is left on its surface. The forming of a white powdery substance on the surface of concrete or brick is an example.



Substances capable of conducting an electric current, either in their pure liquid state or when in solution. Acids, bases and salts are all electrolytes.


Electrostatic Attraction

Attractive force between two oppositely charged ions.



A pure substance that cannot be broken down into smaller substances. Elements are considered the building blocks of all matter. There are just over 100 known elements classified in the periodic table.


Elements, Compounds and Mixtures

These are the three main types of chemical substances. All substances are made of elements, and most are a combination of two or more elements.


Emulsifiable Concentrate

An oil-based product that mixes with water to form a milky white, evenly mixed solution.



The action of breaking up fats, oils and other soils into small particles which are then suspended in a solution.



A chemical agent used to suspend one incompatible material in another. Generally, one end of an emulsifier molecule is soluble in water; the other end is soluble in organic solvent. This dual solubility helps hold the dissimilar liquids together such as oil and water to form an emulsion.



A stable mixture of water and water insoluble materials in a finely divided state accomplished by means of one or more surface-active agents, such as soap or synthetic emulsifiers.


Emulsion Polymer

A polymer which exists in two phases. A continuous phase, which is usually water and a dispersed phase, which consists of polymer particles suspended in the continuous phase through the use of substances called emulsifiers.



Process by which a chemical compound is combined and surrounded for temporary (timed release or controlled release) or permanent capture of the ingredients.



Protein molecules produced within an organism that is used as catalysts for biochemical reactions. Also, chemicals produced by bacteria that break down other chemical compounds into the most basic components.



An improved, quick acting knockdown agent particularly effective against flying and crawling insects



A chemically caused change on the outside of a smooth floor surface which causes the floor to be pitted or rough, and thereby improve, adhesion of floor finish.



A change of state from liquid to gaseous (vapor), due to the escape of molecules from the surface. A liquid which evaporates readily is described as volatile.


Evaporation Speed

Expressed in relation to the evaporation rate of n -Butyl Acetate which is standardized at 1.0. All products with evaporation rates greater than 1.0 are faster evaporating than n -Butyl Acetate and conversely numbers lower than 1.0 indicate a slower rate.


Exothermic Reaction

A reaction in which heat is given off to the surroundings as the products of the reaction are formed. The addition of high concentrations of sodium hydroxide to water produces an exothermic reaction.


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– F –


Factory Finish

A temporary coating applied to flooring material during manufacture for ease of manufacturing and protection during shipment and installation. It is recommended that this coating, often referred to as mill finish, be removed before being treated with a polish or floor finish protectant.



Loss of color caused by actinic radiation such as sunlight, atmospheric gases and cleaning or bleaching chemicals.



Retention of color by carpets and other materials.


Fatty Acid

An organic substance which reacts with a base to form a soap. Tallow and coconut oil are examples.



A thin coating or covering. The protective value of any film depends on it being 100% continuous, i.e., without holes or cracks, since it must form an efficient barrier to molecules of atmospheric water vapor, oxygen, etc.



A coating or film which protects a floor from wear and abrasion and enhances its appearance.


Fire Point

The lowest temperature at which the vapors of a liquid will ignite in the presence of a flame or spark and burn continuously.



Small round surface imperfections in a polish film caused by localized differences in surface tension, induced convection, or by the wet film receding from incompatible entities in the product or on the substrate. Oil, silicone, or other hydrophobic materials are the usually causes of fisheyes.


Flagged Fibers

Brush or broom fibers that are split at the end to increase cleaning efficiency.


Flash Point

The lowest temperature at which the vapors of a liquid will ignite in the presence of a flame or spark.



A reversible process in which a number of emulsion droplets stick together to form clusters which can be broken up by mechanical action restoring the emulsion to its original form.


Floor Finish

The top layer of protective floor coatings.


Floor Machine

A power-driven machine equipped with a scrubbing or buffing brush used to clean or polish floors.


Floor Polish

A temporary coating that enhances the appearance and protects the substrate to which it is applied. Also called and referred to as Floor Finish and Floor Wax.


Floor Sealer

A coating, temporary or permanent applied to a floor before applying finishing coats to help fill voids and pours in the floor surface. Fewer finish coats are necessary because fewer products is absorbed by the floor and results in a more uniform appearance. Floor sealers might be necessary to promote adhesion of finish coats.



A fluorinated surfactant which, through its ability to lower the surface tension of liquid, can improve the leveling and wetting characteristics of floor polishes.



A mass of bubbles formed on liquids by agitation. Foam can be unstable, transient or stable depending upon the presence and nature of the components in the liquid.



Very finely atomized particles suspended in air.



Gas under pressure used to kill insects, fungi and rodents.



A chemical that kills fungus.


Furniture Cleaner/Polish

A liquid, paste or aerosol spray designed to remove dust and stains from wood surfaces, confer shine and protect against water spots, and is formulated to reduce wax build-up with continued use.

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– G –



Coating of ferrous metals with zinc to add corrosion resistance.



Any substance which kills germs. A disinfectant.



A combination of visual perceptions which promote the appearance of wetness. Terms used when describing gloss include:

(1) Depth how deep or thick the surface appears.

(2) Clarity, look of haziness, cloudiness, or a milky appearance.

(3) Uniformity lack of unevenness.

(4) Reflectance (shine) ration of reflected versus incident light.

(5) Distinctness of image lack of distortion that the surface causes to reflected images.

(6) Sheen amount of low active reflectance.

(7) Hue the amount of bluish coloration promoting the perception of depth seen in clear films.


Grains Hardness

A measure of water hardness. The actual amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium salts measured in parts per million.



Coarse particles larger then dust. They are safer to apply than dusts, but they do not cling to surfaces.



Concrete or similar substance used between ceramic tiles.


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– H –


Hand Cleanser

A cleaner designed to clean hands with an emphasis on removing oils, grease and other occupational soils.


Hard Water

Water which contains calcium and magnesium salts that have dissolved from the rocks over which the water has flowed. Water that does not contain these salts is called soft water. There are two types of hardness – temporary hardness, which can be removed relatively easy and permanent hardness, which is more difficult to remove.



An expression of the concentration of inorganic salts in water which prevents effective cleaning and germicidal action. Hardness is measured in ppm (parts per million) calculated as calcium carbonate’ (CaCO.)

(a) Knoop Hardness value relating resistance to indentation by a weighted wedge shaped diamond.

(b) Pencil Hardness a measure related to the hardness of various grades of graphite. Pencil Hardness is related to a polishes’ resistance to both indentation and tearing, Very soft 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, 6H, 7H, 8H Very Hard.


Hardwood Floor

Non-resilient flooring of maple, pecan, oak, beech, and various other hardwoods.


Hazardous Material

Any substance having the properties capable of producing adverse effects on the health or safety of people.



Method of exerting pressure on one side of a floor machine to remove heel marks or heavily soiled areas.



Describes a substance which varies in its composition and properties from one part to another. Properties differ from place to place within the solution.


High Solids

A floor polish which has a 20% or higher non volatile content. Unlike concentrates high solids products are generally used without dilution.


High Speed

Usually refers to a range of floor machines which turn at between 500 and 1500 rpm. Important with regards to the prescribed maintenance programs established for end users as directly related to the floor finish applied.


High Speed Floor Finish

Floor finish specifically designed to be used with and respond to high speed floor machines.


High Speed Floor Machine

Any floor buffing or burnishing machine that operates at RPMS (Revolutions per Minute) over 200.


HLB (Hydrophile – Lipophile Balance)

A property of a surfactant which is represented by an arbitrary scale of 0 – 20 wherein the most hydrophilic materials have the highest numbers. The HLB of a nonionic surfactant is the approximate weight of ethylene oxide in the surfactant divided by 5.



Describes a substance which is the same throughout in its properties and composition.



Chemical that affects metabolism, behavior or development. Methoprene is such a hormone used for mosquito control.



A bluish coloration promoting the perception of depth in clear films.



A measure of moisture in the atmosphere. It depends on the temperature and is higher in warm air than cold air.



A descriptive term applied to the group or radical of a surfactant molecule that makes or tends to make it soluble in water. Associated with the hydrophilic portion of a surfactant molecule is the opposite hydrophobic (water-hating) portion.



A substance that increases the insolubility in water of another material, which is only partially soluble.



Describes a substance which can absorb up to 70% of its own mass of water vapor. Such a substance becomes damp, but does not dissolve.

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– I –


Incapable of being penetrated by a given material.


In-Use Testing

The evaluation of performance of a product, procedure, or item of equipment under as compared to evaluation under highly controlled artificial conditions (laboratory testing).



Substance not active in a formula


Inert ingredient

An ingredient in a product which does not contribute to the products function.



Taking a substance into the body by mouth.



Taking a substance into the body by breathing.



Drastically reduces the corrosive effect of a product on metal.



A substance not made of the combination of carbon and hydrogen.



The inability of one substance to dissolve in another.


Interfacial Tension

A measure of the molecular forces existing at the boundary between two phases. It is expressed in dynes/cm. Liquids with low interfacial tension are more easily emulsified.



A disinfectant agent.



Something that causes an inflammation reaction in the eyes, skin, or respiratory system.

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– J –

James Machine

An instrument for measuring the static coefficient of friction of a surface (such as a floor)


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– K –

K. B. Value

Indicates the relative solvent power and is used to test the aggressiveness of solvent products.

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– L –

L. D.

Point Abbreviation for “Lethal Dose.”


Lambs Wool

Floor finish applicator consisting of a wood block, handle and lambs wool pad preferred by some for its smoothness in application.



Emollient derived from animal sources for high performance conditioning of skin.



The propensity for applied aqueous polishes to spread and dry to smooth, uniform film. The ability of a floor finish to flow into a smooth film during the drying process. Mop streaks in the floor finish are a sign of poor leveling.


Leveling Aid

A substance which can be added to a floor polish which allows it to dry to a more even appearing film.



An insoluable mineral deposit found in water.



A flooring material composed of mixture of oxidized linseed oil, resin, and various fillers such as sawdust, ground cork, mineral filler and coloring material which is cured for several weeks in specially heated buildings. Linoleum is soft, porous, and tends to discolor and become more porous when subjected to amines and alkaline strippers and cleaners.


Loop Pile

Carpet style having a pile surface consisting of uncut loops of woven or tufted yarn. Also called round wire in woven carpet terminology.



A material that reduces friction between sliding surfaces.

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M. A. C. Rating

Maximum Allowable Concentration, generally the ceiling value used to determine the amount of solvent vapor allowed in a concentrated area for toxicity purposes.



Material Safety Data Sheet, the form required by law which lists hazardous ingredients per a published manual that must be provided to those companies who distribute or use chemical products.


M.F.T. (Minimum Forming Temperature)

The temperature below which a polymer or floor polish will not form a continuous film.



It is a member of the organophosphate family. It is used for both flying and crawling insects.



A flooring material composed of a form of limestone hard enough to be polished. Purest grade used by sculptors is called Statuary Marble. A softer, more porous version called Travertine is usually used for floors. Travertine Marble is known to harden on exposure to air. Marble is damaged by alkaline cleaners, soaps and acids; it also stains easily.


Mechanical Cleaning

Removing of soil or dirt from a surface by manual scrubbing or by use of abrasives, as opposed to chemical cleaning.


Medicated Soap

A bath soap containing antibacterial ingredient to help reduce or inhibit the growth of bacteria on the skin, which might otherwise cause infection.


Metal Complex

A crosslink of a bivalent metal ion (usually zinc) between the acid functional groups of two polymer chains. Metal complexes can provide a reaction site for aid in removal, detergent resistance, and durability in floor polishes.


Metal Interlock

A formulation technique by which metal is chemically complexed with the polymer and/or resin in an aqueous finish or sealer. The use of bivalent metal ions such as zinc or zirconium to bind together and form a crosslinked network with add containing polymer chains. This technique causes the dried film to be more durable and detergent resistant while still allowing its ready removal with amine type strippers.



A spherical grouping of detergent molecules in water. Oils and greases dissolve in the hydrophobic center of the micelle.



Equal to 0.000039 inch. A ULV fogger produces a particle size equal to 10 to 20 microns



Microscopic plants or animals that require energy, carbon, and small amounts of inorganic elements to grow and multiply. Visible only with the aid of a microscope.



A growth, usually white, produced by fungus. Fungus growth can occur on carpet fibers. Causes odor and fiber degradation.


Mill Finish

A finish applied by the file manufacturer to resilient floor tile, which must be removed for proper sealing and finishing.



Liquids that are mutually soluble.



A term often used interchangeably with solubility. It is the ability of a liquid or gas to dissolve uniformly in another liquid or gas.



A blend of two or more elements and/or compounds which are not chemically combine. A mixture can usually be separated into its elements or compounds fairly easily by physical means.



The smallest particle of an element or compound that normally exists on its own and still retains its properties. Molecules normally consist of two or more atoms bonded together. Some molecules have thousands of atoms. Ionic compounds consist of ions and do not have molecules.


Mop and Shine

A maintenance method using a special mop on composition which lightly cleans and improves the gloss of a worn floor finish. Gloss improvement is accomplished by a new thin coat of product or possibly by rejuvenation of the original finish.



Commercial name given to hydrochloric acid.

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A chemical state that is neither acid nor alkali. A pH of 7 is considered neutral.


Neutral Cleaner

A floor cleaner that has a pH that is compatible with the finish to be cleaned. Generally this means a pH of between 7 – 9. Higher pH floor cleaners can attack the floor finish and dull it. The pH of neutral cleaners may be as high as 10 and not contain harsh alkalis.


Neutral Solution

A solution that is neither acidic nor basic; a solution with pH 7.


No Wax Flooring

A broad class of flooring materials usually having a clear organic wear layer, usually urethane over a vinyl backing. It is usually textured and designed for minimum maintenance.


Non Buffable Finish

Generally, a finish, which dries to a high durable gloss and cannot be dry, buffed to restore shine. Since the advent of spray buffing, this term is seldom used.


Non-Buff Finish

A hard floor finish designed to give high initial gloss that is not repairable by regular dry buffing, only spray buffing.



Generally refers to harder finishes that do not respond well to low speed machine buffing.


Non-Chlorine Bleach

A laundry product containing per oxygen compounds, which release active oxygen in wash water. This type of product produces gentler bleaching action than chlorine bleach.



Not long lasting; usually lasting about 48 hours.


Non-ionic Detergent

A type of chemical which possesses surfactant properties, including surface wetting, soil dispersion, etc. This detergent chemical does not ionize with positive or negative charges. It is compatible in mixtures with either cationic or anionic surfactants. It is not compatible, however, with phenolic germicides.


Non-ionic 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.



Synthetic thermoplastic of the polyamide family. It is the dominant fiber in tufted carpet pile yarns.

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Initials of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, a federal act passed in 1970. O.S.H.A. is designed to provide every working man and woman in the nation with safe and healthful working conditions. O.S.H A. provides the standards inspection and enforcement program to accomplish these goals.


Optical Brightener

Optical whiteners or fluorescent whitening agents used in cleaning process. Absorbs UV light sources and emits visible light which gives a brightening effect.



A substance composed of carbon and hydrogen.



Any individual animal, plant or bacterium.


Oven Cleaner

Usually a liquid in an aerosol container or pump-actuated bottle. To clean a cold oven a strong chemical is necessary.



To combine with oxygen. Slow oxidation is typified by the rusting of a metal.


Oxidizing Agent

A substance that accepts electrons in an oxidation -reduction reaction. A substance that causes the oxidation of a reactant molecule.

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Any disease producing organism.



The pulling or falling away of pieces of coating from a surface.



The ability of a product to seek all areas of the surface sprayed, usually refers to a lubricant’s ability to thin out sufficiently to cover contacting metal surfaces.


Petroleum Distillate

Hydrocarbon solvents derived from crude oil by distillation.



The measurement symbol used to express the degree of acidity or alkalinity. A pH of I expresses an extreme condition, while a pH of 14 is highly alkaline. The pH scale runs from less than 1.0 to 14, and neutrality is centered at pH 7.0.



Chemical used for disinfecting (phenolic disinfectant). Also known as carbolic acid.


Phosohoric Acid

The most common acid based on phosphorus sometimes called orthophosphoric acid. Used as a mild bowl acid in formulations of light duty degreasers.



A widely used water softener, builder and sequestering agent used in detergents.



A substance that is added to a detergent to increase its water softening ability and detergency.


Physical Properties

Qualitative and quantitative properties that describe a substance. They include smell, taste, color, melting point, density, hardness etc.


Pine Oil

An oil process from gum of pine trees.



Small craters on the surface of concrete and terrazzo floors which will grow in size, with traffic and chemical exposure, unless coated with protective floor finish.



An organic compound to a polymer to increase its flexibility and toughness. Plasticizers contribute to the durability, gloss, and leveling of a floor polish.


Plasticizer Migration

Migration of ingredients from there intended location. Migration of plasticizers from flooring materials can cause tackiness in floor finishes or adhesion problems. Migration from floor finish to flooring is also possible.


Polar Solvent

Water is the most common polar solvent.



Plasticizer used primarily in floor finishes.



A chemical compound composed of many similar, smaller parts chemically linked to one another. As related to emulsion floor finishes and sealers, polymers are the major film forming agent which contributes gloss and durability to the finish or sealer.



Plasticizer used primarily in finishes.



A thermoplastic polymer which has excellent hardness and gloss.


Porcelain Enamel

A coating of ceramic type material that is fired or fused to a steel base and used in sinks, bathtubs etc. This differs from the vitreous china used in toilets and urinals.



A surface that was many tiny openings usually only seen under a microscope. A porous surface will require more finish or sealer to fill and smooth out these openings.



A condition where a fine dust occurs on the finished floor surface, often obvious when tracked onto adjacent carpeting. Often, powdering is due to dust settling out where construction or other sources of dust are present. Other times, powdering is indicative of a lack of floor finish (or sealer) adhesion, loss of plasticizing agents to the substrate or to cleaning solutions, or application while temperature or relative humidity is too low to allow proper film formation. The causes of lack of adhesion are numerous soap residues, insufficient stripping of old finish, applying finish too thinly.


PPB (Parts per billion)

Equals 1 pound in 500,000 tons.


PPM (Parts per million)

One part per million equals 1 pound in 500 tons or 1 milligram per Liter.


Pre Spotting

Prior to the overall cleaning, pre spotting is done to remove stains or to pre-treat traffic lanes.



Material settled out of solution.



A chemical agent that inhibits aging such as decay, discoloration, oxidation and microbial growth. These preservatives protect the unopened container, but do not substantially protect finish after it has been used. This is why it is important to never pour used floor finish back into a container of unused finish.



A soaking operation, to remove stains, that precedes the regular laundering process.



Removal of stains before more extensive carpet cleaning.


Pressurized Spray

Looks like an aerosol, but particle size is too large to pass through human orifices (cannot pass through the hair in the nose).


Preventative Maintenance

Scheduled inspection, and adjustment of equipment; often includes cleaning, treating and lubricating.


Primary Backing

The carrier fabric for the pile yarn of a carpet into which the yarn tufts have been inserted.



An agent used to expel contents from an aerosol under pressure.



Pounds per square inch; a unit for measuring pressure.



Porous volcanic rock frequently used as an abrasive


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Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

A class of chemicals used as disinfectant, antistat and softening agents (Quats).


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A substance used to start a chemical reaction. In the laboratory, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide are reagents.



Procedure incorporated in floor maintenance programs to increase the level of protection by applying an additional coat of floor finish. Often the most overlooked step.



A maintenance method where additional coats of floor finish are applied without prior stripping. Successful recoat is dependent on substrate, preparation of substrate, and amount of time between applications.



A chemical process that occurs when a film of floor finish has not completely dried and has re-liquified by a subsequent application of finish. It doesn’t appear until the floor has dried and then appears streaked or dull.



To apply a new coat of wax or floor finish to a floor



In floor maintenance, the property of being able to do feathering and add more finish to a spot that is damaged and then to buff or use other methods to bring both the repaired spot and the surrounding area to the same appearance.



Cleaning chemicals or soil left behind in a carpet after the cleaning process.



Capable of withstanding shock or pressure without permanent deformation or rupture. Asphalt, vinyl, linoleum are resilient type flooring materials.


Resilient Flooring

Flexible flooring materials including asphalt tile, cork, linoleum, no wax, rubber, seamless floors, vinyl, and vinyl asbestos.


Resilient Tile

Term used to describe a type of floor covering as opposed to hard floor surfaces. Includes, but not limited to pure vinyl, asbestos, asphalt, rubber and vinyl tiles.



As related to emulsion finishes and sealers, resins are materials, which contribute primarily to leveling and gloss of the resultant film. Resins are polymers, but contain fewer chemically linked units than what are commonly called polymers.



Breathing protection device. Respirators filter out particles, vapors and more depending on the type of media chosen.



Refers to both a product and a procedure for maintaining large floor areas. Typically the product is mopped on, left to dry, then buffed usually with high speed and ultra high speed equipment. Adds 1/4 of 1 coat of product.


Rinse Agent

A wetting agent used in the last rinse during dishwashing to improve the draining of the water from dishes and utensils.


Rotary Brush

A cleaning method in which a high foam shampoo is scrubbed over the fabric by a rotary brush. Best results are achieved if followed by cool water extraction.


Rubber Flooring

Materials made up of natural or synthetic rubber rolled and heat cured into a final product.



Flooring materials made up of natural or synthetic rubber rolled and heat cured into a final product.


Rust remover

A specialty cleaner used to remove rust stains from carpet yarn.


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An ionic compound formed by the reaction between an acid and a base.



An agent that reduces the number of bacteria to a safe level, but does not completely eliminate them, as judged by public health requirements.



The process of converting a fat into soap by treating it with an alkali. Also the process used by some to remove grease and oil.



Describes a solution that will not dissolve any more solute at a given temperature. Any more solute will remain as crystals.



Calcium or mineral deposits in steam boilers and in steam and water pipes.


Scouring Pad

A hand-sized pad that supplies the cleaning agent of an abrasive.



Imperfection in the smoothness of a polish film caused by a scraping action.



The use of a brush or synthetic floor cleaning pad and detergent solution to clean a floor without removing the floor finish.



Damage to a polish film caused by the frictional heat and mechanical action from a high speed impact of shoe material.



Scratches or marring of the finish, due primarily to foot traffic, which appears dull as compared to low traffic areas.



Specialized formulations which quickly fill porous floors and provide protection from abuse and wear.



Application of a coating to a bare substrate and to fill pores to prevent excessive absorption of the finish coats.


Secondary Backing

The fabric reinforcement that is laminated to the back or bottom of a tufted carpet to provide strength and stability


Self Polishing

A floor finish or furniture polish that dries to a shine and needs no further effort to bring about a shine. Most modem polishes are of the self shine type. Other terms use to describe this type of polish are Dry Bright and Non-Buffable.


Sequestering Agents

Chemicals that tie up water hardness and prevent the precipitation of hard water salts. This action causes clarity in liquid soaps.



A high foam detergent preparation usually used for rotary brush cleaning.



Term applied to low angle gloss.


Shelf Life

The time between manufacturing and the time a product becomes spoiled.


Slip Resistance

The drag noticed when walking on a floor that results in safer footing; the amount of resistance to slipping, usually with reference to the sole or heel of a shoe on a floor.


Sodium Hydroxide

Caustic used in the manufacture of detergents and soap.


Sodium Metasilicate

Based for detergent formulations.


Sodium Silicate

Catalyst for soaps and detergents.


Sodium Xylenesulfonate

Water softener used in detergents.


Soil Load Capacity

The amount of soil a chemical may hold in suspension before the soils affect the properties of the product.


Soil Resistant

A condition of the floor that occurs due to the application of protective coatings.


Soil Retardant

A chemical finish applied to carpet and fabric surfaces, which inhibits attachment to the soil fiber.



Describes a wide group of substances that attach themselves to surfaces creating a pollutant. Soils loosely attach themselves to surfaces by surface tension, electrical attraction or chemical bonding.


Solids Content (Non-Volatile)

That portion of the product (floor finish, sealer, cleaner, etc.) which remains as the film or residue after drying has occurred. The solids content is usually expressed as percent by weight of the total product. Often, solids are considered as a measurement of the quality, durability, and performance of a product. This is false logic and can be very misleading as a measure of any product performance property.



The tendency of a material to dissolve in another material.



A uniform dispersed mixture of two or more fluids.


Solvent Based Buffable

A liquid or paste composed of waxes, synthetic or natural, dispensed in an organic solvent. When applied and allowed to dry, solvent based buffable polishes haze and must be buffed to achieve gloss.


Solvent Finish

Finish in which the solvent content is borne in a solvent, rather than water.



A liquid that will dissolve a material to form a solution. Also, a liquid which dissolves another substance. Water is the most common solvent.



The crackling, breaking or splintering of materials due to heat, especially with concrete or terrazzo floors.


Specific Gravity

The ratio of the weight of a given volume of a liquid to the weight of an equal volume of distilled water. Water at that temperature has a specific gravity of 1. If the specific gravity of the other substance is greater than 1 it floats in water; if less than 1 it sinks.



A thick resistant cell coat which forms within the cell wall as a resting stage. The spore is very resistant to disinfectants and germicides and usually is usually destroyed only by sterilization procedures (autoclaving, ethylene oxide, etc.).



A carpet stain removal agent.


Spray Buff

To renew, touch up, or maintain a floor by spraying an approved spray buff product followed by machine buffing. Restores worn floor coatings and finishes.


Spray Buffing

A maintenance procedure used to restore a worn dull floor finish to a glossy appearance with a floor machine, special buffing pad, and special product. A typical spray buff operation consists of spraying a fine mist of product onto a section of floor, then using a floor machine equipped with a buffing pad to buff the floor finish to a gloss.



A compound that increases the surface area that a given volume of product will cover. Also called a film extender.



Ability to resist change in physical or performance properties due to time or environmental stresses such as freezing and thawing, heat, or microbial attack. Emulsion floor care products are considered stable if changes caused by aging under expected environmental extremes will not affect product safety, product performance, or be detectable by the consumer for the duration for the products expected shelf life.



A visible discoloration.


Stain Repellant

A product applied to carpets that help the yarn resist stains.



The act or process, physical or chemical, which destroys or eliminates all forms of life, especially microorganisms.



A compound that increases the retention of a pray or duct on a surface.



A non uniform appearance left in a floor finish film by the application process.



A product used to remove coatings from floor substrates. Specific types are needed for water based coatings; other types are needed for solvent based coatings.



A maintenance method for removal of floor finishes. After the stripping operation, the floors are rinsed thoroughly before applying a fresh coat of floor polish.



A monomer of building block used in preparation of emulsion polymers and resins used in floor finishes and sealers. Styrene imparts very hard, glossy, water-resistant properties.


Surface Tension

That property, due to molecular forces, by which the surface film of all liquids tends to bring the contained volume into a form having the least superficial area.



A contraction of the words “surface active agent”. This is the general name given to the type of surface-active agents used in cleaners. The surfactant reduces surface tension and provides improved wetting, emulsifying, penetrating, and dispersing properties. There are three types of surfactants: anionic, cationic, and non-ionic.



The process of a cleaning agent holding insoluble dirt particles in the cleaning solution and keeping them from redepositing on a clean floor. Also, finely divided particles mixed in a liquid that do not settle.



The joint activity of two or more ingredients that is greater than the sum of their individual activities.



When the total effect of two active components in a mixture is greater than the sum of their individual effects.


Synthetic Detergents

These are sometimes called soapless detergents. A washing or cleaning product that utilizes synthetic surfactants rather than traditional soaps. They are typically made from by-products of refining crude oil. They do not form a scum in hard water and lather better than soaps.


Synthetic Fibers

Most carpet fibers being used today, in contrast to animal or vegetable fibers.


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Tack Rag

A cloth dampened in solution that is used to remove surface particles (lint, dust floor pad abrasive) prior to refinishing a surface.



A sticky or adhesive condition that is the property of applied floor finishes, when not completely dried.


Telescope Handle

An adjustable length pole that extends by pulling tubes out, one inside the other.



A polished surface floor consisting of marble or granite chips mixed with a Portland cement matrix. The mixture is tossed onto the floor, leveled, and allowed to cure for a period of 5 to 6 days. The surface is then ground with an abrasive stone grinder and polished. Use of harsh acids and alkalis should be avoided. Also prepared in factories as finished slabs.



A polymer that softens when exposed to heat and returns to its original condition when cooled to room temperature. The polymers, resins and waxes used in floor polishes are thermoplastic.



A liquid used to reduce the viscosity of a coating and that will evaporate before or during the cure of a film.


Time to Recoat

The time from application when an additional coat of floor polish can be applied without damaging the previous coat.



A method of determining by volume the concentration of a desired substance or chemical.


Top Coating

A maintenance procedure for applying an additional coat of floor finish.


Top Scrubbing

Is usually conducted so those additional coats of floor finish can be applied without stripping off the previous coats.



Substance causing adverse effects in the body like poison.



Relating to a harmful effect by a poisonous substance on the human body by physical contact, ingestion or inhalation.



Poisonous substance produced by bacterial cells.


Traffic Lane

High traffic areas that show worn or soiled “lanes”.


Traffic Lane Cleaner

A heavy duty detergent specifically designed to pre-treat and disperse heavy accumulations of soil in the traffic lanes.


Traffic Lane Paper

Paper, placed in areas, which must be open to foot traffic while the carpet is still damp.


Tri-Sodium Phosphate (TSP)

A water softener sometimes used as a cleaning agent.



A number of different types of grasses typically used for lawn and grounds cover and characterized by tightly knit growth. Bermuda, Fescue and Zoysia are examples of turf grasses.


Turkish Towel

Towel similar to terry cloth.


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United States Department of Agriculture in charge or issuing lists of compounds approved for use in areas which are federally inspected.


Ultra-High Speed

Usually refers to a range of floor machines which turn over 2,000 rpm.


Universal Solvent

Water is called the universal solvent because it dissolves both ionic compounds and polar molecular compounds. Water usually cannot dissolve non-polar molecules.



Hard, crystalline plastic material that is the main component for concrete and wood sealers. Durable, clear, and hard when dry. Available in solvent and water bases and also in colors.



The final concentration at which a product is used.


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A diffused substance suspended in the air.


Vapor Degreasing

The process in which a chlorinated solvent is heated in a tank. The heated solvent forms a vapor that condenses onto the cooler metal parts, which drips back into the tank cleaning the metal parts of soils.


Vapor Pressure

Describes a measure of a liquids tendency to evaporate. Every liquid has a characteristic vapor pressure that changes as the internal temperature of the liquid changes. Generally, as the temperature of a liquid increases, its vapor pressure also increases.



A protective coating composed of a vegetable oil (linseed, tung, etc.) and a solvent, or of a synthetic or natural resin and solvent. A flooring material composed of a mixture of various vinyl compounds (Vinyl Chloride, Vinyl Acetate), asbestos, ground limestone, plasticizers, and colorants. Heated mixture is rolled into a final product. Noted for superior grease resistance and ease of maintenance. It indents and is susceptible to heel damage. It is porous and requires sealing to prevent staining. Vinyl Asbestos tiles are generally hard, brittle and appear to be porous on close inspection. Occasionally, discrete white filler particles can be seen in the tile.


Vinyl Flooring

A flooring material made up of a mixture of polyvinyl chloride and plasticizers Pigments are added for color. Vinyl flooring is usually flexible; fine textured, and appears to be relatively non-porous.



A chemical agent that kills viruses.



A group of filterable infective agents that require the presence of living cells in order to multiply. The causative agent of an infectious disease.



The thickness of a liquid which determines pour ability. Water has a viscosity of 1 centipoise. The resistance to flow is measured in relationship to water in centipoise.



Volatile Organic Compound. Any substance or compound with a vapor pressure greater than one tenth millimeter of mercury.



The part of a product that evaporates during drying.


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Washing of dishes, utensils, glassware, pots, pans, etc in the institutional market.


Water-Based Buffable Floor Finish

A water based emulsion coating whose appearance and/or gloss may be improved through mechanical action. The primary film forming ingredients in this type of product there are usually waxes.


Water-Based Self Polishing

A water based polish, not necessarily an emulsion, which dried to a shine without mechanical action.


Water-Based Urethane

A colloidal dispersion of isocyanate containing polymers noted for casting very tough and flexible films. The major benefit obtained from this material is abrasion resistance.


Water Dispersible Granules

Small pellets that break apart when put in water.


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.


Water Resistance

The ability of a floor finish to be unaffected by water spilled on it.



A low melting compound of high molecular weight similar in composition to fats and oils. There are two types: Natural (animal and vegetable derived) and Synthetic (such as polymers of ethylene). The wax functions as a film in floor polishes to help prevent scuffs and black marks and as a slip resistance moderator.


Wax Emulsion

A stable mixture of one or more waxy materials helps in a water suspension through the use of emulsifiers, surfactants or soaps.


Wax Stripper

A special detergent composition that removes wax and similar floor finishes from a floor.



A distortion of the surface of a floor coating do to traffic and abrasion.


Weight per Gallon

The weight per gallon of any liquid is determined by multiplying the weight of a gallon of distilled water (8.33 lbs.) by the specific gravity of the liquid.


Wet Abrasion

A standard test to determine the effect of water on a floor finish with some abrasive action.


Wet Soils

Usually the toughest since carpet is composed of absorbent fibers. The key to wet soil removal is quick action and be sure to blot, not wipe.



Ability of a floor finish or cleaner to spread over substrate during application.


Wetting Agent

A chemical which reduces surface tension of water, allowing it to spread more freely.



Surface irregularity that may vary from dull to pronounced. See surfactant.


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A type of fungus.



A condition which describes the discoloration of a floor finish film caused by many circumstances. Discoloration of a floor finish due to aging. A common complaint regarding carnauba wax.


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