Up until recently, most people had not heard of the term “colloids” and what they have to do with cleaning. Colloid is a term used in chemistry, which is given to a state of matter; put in simple terms, it is a name that is given to very tiny particles that are suspended or “float” in another medium. A practical example of a colloid is fog. If you look closely at fog or steam in a sauna you can see the extremely tiny droplets of water floating around in the air. They just move around aimlessly, but never stopping.
What has this got to do with cleaning? Well with a colloidal cleaner these really small particles (which are technically known as “micelles”) wander around in the water that you have mixed it in with and eventually they collide with the dirt or grease you are trying to remove from whatever you are cleaning. When the micelles crash into the dirt, they chip a small piece of it off and push it into the water. This is occurring both rapidly and constantly and in a short space of time all the dirt is removed from the surface. Just as importantly, the micelles stop the pieces of dirt or grease in the water from rejoining so they cannot clump back on to the surface that has been cleaned. This is totally different to the way soap and detergents clean. They tend to stick to the dirt and grease like iron filings sticking to a magnet, then float around in the water carrying the globule with them.
Because colloidal cleaners work differently they also need a slightly different approach to using them. There are three important factors when dealing with colloidal cleaners these are:
As we can see from what is explained above, colloidal cleaners need to sit on the surface to be cleaned for a little while to get the job done. Because they work by banging in to the grime, if we heat them up they go faster and bang harder, and naturally if we put more in then there are more micelles to do the work.
These three factors all depend on each other so the easiest way to look at them is if it is a pie graph. If we increase one factor, then one or both of the other factors must decrease. The best example of this is when using steam-cleaning equipment. We have greatly increased the temperature component, so both the amount we need and the time taken to clean reduce accordingly. The three adjacent diagrams will help to explain this.
With this knowledge we can now confidently use colloidal cleaners and be reassured that we are not handling toxic chemicals or solvents. It is also quite amazing to find the extremely wide range of jobs that colloidal cleaners can do, without the undesirable side effects of other conventional cleaners that you are currently using.