- The Dirt on Dirt
- By John Holibaugh — posted 01/26/2012
In the professional cleaning industry, we are always talking about dirt. Sure, it goes by a variety of pseudonyms such as soils, contaminants, impurities, unwanted matter, particulates, and the like. But ultimately, what we are talking about is plain old dirt—what we in the professional cleaning industry are tasked to remove from facilities every day.
But have you ever wondered what’s in dirt? Street dirt, the kind that most often finds its way into the facilities we clean, is comprised of many of the following (starting with the largest amounts first):
- Humus: Organic material such as compost
- Cement powder or dust: Composed of limestone and carbonate rock
- Silica: Sand or quartz
- Clay: Fine-grained materials, with variable amounts of moisture trapped in the mineral structure of the particulate
- Sodium chloride: Salt
- Gelatin: Solid substances from animal skin and bones
- Oleic acid: Derived from the fat from animals and plants
- Carbon black: material produced by the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products.
Much of what is in dirt is so small it becomes airborne. And studies indicate that as much as 80 percent—possibly more—is tracked in by people using a facility. And now you know the dirt on dirt.
John Holibaugh has been involved with the jansan industry for more than 25 years. He is a regional sales manager of Enviro-Solutions Ltd., a leading manufacturer of "green" cleaning chemicals, based in Ontario, Canada. For more information, visit www.enviro-solution.com.