Cleaning & Restoration Association News

Letters to the Editor: Bathtub Chemistry

A reader responds to Bob Wittkamp's August 2000 ICS article on Bathtub Chemistry...

I just read Bob Wittkamp’s Bathtub Chemistry article in which he points out the problems associated with combining a cationic and an anionic product. I have been a serious student of carpet cleaning for ten years and I am careful about how I use chemicals. For the last couple of years I have been reading a lot about how we need to learn and teach cleaning as a science. I’m glad to see this interest but almost every time I call a chemical manufacturer with a question about a product I get the same hogwash –“that information is proprietary.”(See the letter I sent Cloroxä). Clorox Corp. Dear Sir/Madam:

I just spoke with a customer service representative about your Dry Clorox(TM) – Regular product. My question, in a nutshell, was this: does this product carry a cationic charge? I doubt that it does, but I need to know for certain, and for good reasons. She told me that information is proprietary.

I want to use your product as an additive booster for carpet cleaning because it works. The importance in knowing if its surfactant is cationic is this. Fifth generation nylon carpets, such as DuPont StainMaster, cannot be treated in any way with a cationic agent. It voids the warranty. Furthermore, mixing cationic and anionic cleaning products don’t work well together, and can result in a sticky goo. I’m a label reader. Most, if not all, laundry detergents state anionic/non-ionic surfactants. Your Regular Dry Clorox(TM) IS made to go into the machine with laundry detergents. Can I infer from this that your dry bleach is cationic free?

There are a select few carpet and upholstery cleaners who are called upon by fiber and carpet producers to provide warranty service. I am one of those cleaners. I have a need to know the characteristics of the products I work with. DON’T YOU AGREE?

Please send me an MSD Sheet. Kent Brashear, American Eagle Carpet Care Craftsman Pflugerville, Texas Bob Wittkamp replies: I think that one of the reasons that you got no clear answer from Clorax(TM) is that the you are proposing to use their product for a purpose not recommended ie, carpet cleaning. Why not use a product formulated for use on carpets? Thanks for reading my article!

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to i Cleaning Specialist Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

The 2014 Experience Conference and Exhibition

A look in photos at the 2014 Experience Conference and Exhibition, which was held from April 24-26 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center and Spa in Frisco, Texas.


Beginning April 21, Google will start judging websites based on their mobile friendliness. What exactly does this mean to you cleaning website? Find out in the latest edition of The Hitman Advertising Show, which will also cover tips and suggestions on getting mobile compliant.
More Podcasts

ICS Cleaning Specialist Magazine


2015 April

The April ICS issue features content on concrete polishing, green cleaning, air duct cleaning, injection sprayers and new products.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Janitorial Work

In addition to residential and commercial carpet cleaning, do you do any janitorial work on the side?
View Results Poll Archive


The Carpet Cleaner's Book of Unlimited Success! (ebook)

Don’t worry about the recession or about your competition.  Now you can be the owner of over 400 ways for carpet cleaning professionals to make more money and get more jobs!

More Products


Director_Buyer.jpgThe premier resource and reference guide for the cleaning and restoration industries.

Click here to view


facebook_40.png twitter_40px.png youtube_40px.png


Truckmount.jpgEquipment listings and specifications from the leading industry manufacturers.

Click here to view