Lustro Italiano > Glossaries > Cleaning & Chemical


Gritty additions that allow for an increase in scouring and scrubbing ability. An abrasive additives are sometimes used in products such as polishes, pumice stones, cleaners, hand cleaners, and scouring pads.
An absorbent is a material is designed to attract certain substances directly from the floor’s surface, removing it in the process. Absorbents are typically used within concrete cleaning products and carpet cleaning products.
A substance that yields a pH below 7 when dissolved in water. Acid is commonly used in toilet bowl cleaners, rust removers, and hard water stain removers.
Basic polymer used in most floor finishes. A water-based liquid coating that dries hard and glossy to protect underlying floors. This kind of polymer usually decreases the adhesion of the floor when compared with unfinished flooring.
Active Ingredients
Active ingredients are substances within a product which are intended to deliver certain results.
  1. Adhesion is a characteristic of films or soils that can cause them to bond (or stick) to a surface.
  2. The ability of floor finish to adhere to the substrate by some means; physical or chemical.
A substance consisting of very fine particles of a liquid or solid suspended in a gas. Mist, which consists of very fine droplets of water in air, is an aerosol.
A class of organic compounds containing one or more hydroxyl groups.
A product used to inhibit the growth of algae or eliminate it.
Aliphatic Solvents
Also known as "paraffin". Also referred to as "straight chain" or "open chain" solvents. Kerosene & Odorless Mineral Spirits are examples of aliphatic solvents.
A substance that yields a pH above 7 when dissolved in water. Basic (or alkaline) substances are used in some wax strippers, degreasers, or cleaners for removing finishes.
A type of organic compound derived from ammonia by replacement of one or more hydrogen atoms by organic groups. Compared to ammonia-type of strippers, Amine are typically more pleasant than similar strippers. Amines do not produce a strong ammonia scent and are less irritating to the eyes and nose.
A specific type of alkaline gas that is composed of both hydrogen and nitrogen.
A product that has had all of the water removed.
Anhydrous Soap
A soap with a composition that contains no water. (Water-less soap.)
An ion with a negative charge, formed when an atom gains electrons in a reaction. The atom now has more electrons than protons.
Anionic Surfactant
Negatively charged part of a molecule. Anionic surfactants are widely used in high-sudsing detergents.
A product that prevents or slows the growth of bacteria and may kill them.
A product capable of destroying bacteria, fungi, protozoa or a pathogenic virus.
A vapor or gas with the potential to cause unconsciousness or death by suffocation. Can be hazardous, particularly when working in unventilated or confined areas with certain chemicals.


A single-celled micro-organism that does not contain chlorophyll.
A chemical compound used to eliminate bacteria.
Beater Bar
A rigid type of bar that is typically on, or within a vacuum cleaner that is used to agitate and loosen soil within a carpet.
Any product that can decompose or break down by bacteria or other living organisms.
  1. Cleaning: A product designed to whiten, brighten, and clean materials.
  2. Chemical: A chemical (typically a solution of sodium hypochlorite or hydrogen peroxide) used to whiten or sterilize materials.
In chemistry, any substance in a fluid which tends to resist a sudden change in pH when acid or alkali is added. Buffering is provided by complex phosphate builders, sodium carbonate, sodium silicate and sodium citrate. Usually a solution of a weak acid and its conjugate base or a weak base and its conjugate acid.
Polishing through friction typically from high speed mechanical means using a polishing agent.
Butyl Cellosolve
A water soluble solvent widely used in cleaning compounds that works as and excellent water based degreasing agent.


Calcium Carbonate
An inorganic compound that occurs naturally as chalk and limestone. Its very slight solubility in water is a chief cause of "hardness" in water.
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.
Strong alkaline substance which irritates the skin.
Chemical Compound
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 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.
The chemical association of two or more elements.
The amount of active ingredient in a product. Concentration may be calculated either by weight or by volume.
Contact Time
Dwell Time
Describes the time that a cleaning agent is left on a surface before rinsing.


A product that removes grease and oily soils from hard surfaces. Basic ingredients include surfactants that penetrate and emulsify along with alcohol or glycol derivatives to boost cleaning.
A product that covers, or eliminates unpleasant odors.
  1. Cleaning: A term used to describe a substance that acts as a cleaner for surfaces, clothing, carpets, etc.
  2. Chemical: A surfactant or a mixture of surfactants with cleaning properties in dilute solutions. Detergents are classified into three broad groupings (Anionic, Cationic, and Non-anionic and zwitterionic), depending on the electrical charge of the surfactants.
The spontaneous and even mixing of gases or liquids.
A chemical agent used to break down soils and stains like food or blood.
A Diluent is a liquid, usually water or a solvent, which is used to thin the concentrated liquid.
A Disinfectant is a cleaning agent which is used to eliminate harmful viruses and bacteria from a multitude of surfaces.
Dispersing Agent
A substance 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 that has had all the salt removed through the process of distillation. Although distilled water is pure, it can contain dissolved gases.
Drain Cleaner
A product designed to clean clogs within plumbing drains.


The migration of a salt to the surface of a porous material, where it forms a coating.
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
When oppositely charged objects are attracted to each other; oppositely charged attracted to negative and vice versa.
The breaking up of fats, oils and other soils into small particles which are then suspended in a solution.
An Emulsifer is a type of chemical agent that is harnessed to suspend an incompatible material from another material.
Encapsulation is a process in which a compound is surrounded for a permanent, controlled, or time-released method of dispensing.
Protein molecules produced within an organism that are used as catalysts for biochemical reactions.
A chemically caused change on the outside of a smooth surface which causes the surface to be pitted or rough.
A change of state from liquid to gaseous (vapor), due to the escape of molecules from the surface.
Exothermic Reaction
A situation that occurs when heat is emitted to the area around a reaction.


The overall retention of color within materials.
Fatty Acid
An organic substance which reacts with a base to form a soap; e.g. tallow and coconut oil.
Finish is a specific kind of coating or film that protects against abrasions on a surface. Additionally, it also enhances the surface's overall appearance.
The minimum temperature at which a liquid gives off a vapor in sufficient concentration to ignite when tested.
A reversible process in which a number of emulsion droplets stick together to form a cluster which can be broken up by mechanical action restoring the emulsion to its original form.
Floor Machine
A Power-driven machine used for scrubbing, buffing or burnishing floor surfaces.
Fluorescent Whitening Agent
A product that attaches to fabrics to create a whitening or brightening effect when exposed to daylight.
A type of fluorinated surfactant that has the ability to lessen the surface tension of the liquid. It can also enhance the wetting and leveling characteristics of certain polishes.
A mass of bubbles formed on liquids by agitation.
Multicellular organisms such as mold & mildew that are infectious and harmful.
A chemical agent that destroys fungi.


A product that kills germs.
The lustre on the surface of a material.
Grains Hardness
A measure of water hardness. The actual amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium salts measured in parts per million.
A thick oil or viscous material, usually a lubricant.
A substance that is used to combine and adhere ceramic tiles together.


Hard Water
Water containing calcium & magnesium salts dissolved in it from rocks. Water that does not contain these salts is called soft water.
Hardness is a term used to describe the concentration of salts in water. The more salt in the water, the less effective the water can be while cleaning.
An intrinsic negative characteristic of a substance.
Materials that are easily wet, and may absorb water quickly.
Materials that do not absorb water easily.
A substance that increases the insolubility in water of another material, which is only partially soluble.


A substance that is not active within a formula.
An item that reduces a product's effectiveness.
A specific type of disinfecting agent.
An atom or a molecule in which the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons, giving the atom or molecule a net positive or negative electrical charge. Depending on the net charge, the ion is one of two types of ion:
  1. Cations - an ion with a positive net charge
  2. Anions - an ion with a negative net charge.
A compounds that does not contain carbon.
Inorganic Alkaline Detergent
A water soluble detergent containing no soap or synthetics.
A substance's inability to be dissolved.
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 substance that inflames skin temporarily.





Mechanical Cleaning
The process of removing dirt or soil by manual scrubbing or use of abrasives.
The ability of a liquid or gas to dissolve uniformly in another liquid or gas.
Mild Cleaner
A product that is non damaging to the surface being cleaned.
A blend of two or more elements and/or compounds which are not chemically combined.


Nonionic Surfactant
A surface active agent that contains neither positively or negatively charged functional groups.
Neutral Cleaner
A non-alkaline and non-acid cleaner.


To combine with oxygen.


An organism that has the ability to produce and cultivate disease.
Phenol is a specific type of chemical that is used for disinfecting, it is also commonly known as a carbolic acid.
Pine Oil
Oil processed from gum trees, used in hard surface cleaning and disinfecting.
A product to remove dust, marks, and stains from surfaces.



A type of substance that is used to initiate a specific type of chemical reaction.


An agent which reduces but doesn't completely destroy bacteria.
Soft Water
Water that contains low concentrations of ions of calcium and magnesium.
A tool with a rubber edge to remove water from floors and windows.
Compounds that lower the surface tension (or interfacial tension) between two liquids or between a liquid and a solid. These compounds may act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, and dispersants.


Being sticky or adhesive.







Zwitterionic Surfactants
A neutral molecule with both positive and negative electrical charges.