The Color of Clean: The Value of Performance Test Results for Cleansers and Detergents

Detergent manufacturing is a highly competitive and controlled industry. Consumers want cleaning supplies that are more efficient, powerful, economic, and environmentally friendly. Product assurance in these areas is highly dependent upon the variety of tests performed within industry standards.

Manufacturers of liquid detergents, powdered cleaners, and chemical surfactants all rely on performance test result to measure product quality. However, not all performance test results give an accurate measurement of a product’s cleaning ability, and consumers are now demanding more trustworthy information. Performance testing relies on scientific protocols to guarantee valid results through the use of proper testing methods and tools.

bubbles performance test
Consumers rely on accurate performance test results to be consistent with ‘real world’ cleaning outcomes.
Image source: Flickr user Caroline Gagné

The importance of controlled laboratory testing

Performance tests in controlled environments provide the most reliable results for cleaning power and efficiency. Although real-world application and reliability are what consumers demand and expect, accurate performance testing is dependent on the most exact and quantifiable results in color measurement to adhere to the top manufacturing standards. These test results can provide an indication of performance, environmental impact, and valuable product comparison data.

Measurement of staining swatches requires the use of advanced spectrophotometry to quantify the soil quantities of the samples by using a point system prior to soiling, once the soil is applied, and after cleaning. Tests performed under controlled conditions using appropriate instrumentation are able to gather quantifiable data that produces the same results consistently and yields the most scientifically acceptable results. Not only is cleaning efficiency valued in performance test results, but as the cleaning industry moves towards more environmentally friendly products, health and safety must also be measured into the equation. Any claims about eco-friendliness must be reliable, and consumers depend on the highest quality of testing to ensure those results.

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Environmental Standards and Tests

liquid detergent performance test
Liquid detergents are continuously working to become more efficient, use less product, and reduce the carbon footprint left behind.
Image source: Flickr user Nan Palmero

Many of the standards for evaluating cleaning products are put forth by the AˑIˑSˑE (International Association for Soaps, Detergents, and Maintenance Products). This group has developed protocol for the minimum requirements in assessing methodology and measuring product performance.

The ability to quantify color provides consistency between batches, which is one of the highest indicators of product quality. Yet color technology can be utilized to meet a number of other tests and environmental control standards. These assessments can evaluate both the mechanical and physical properties of detergents, help to identify microbial contamination such as bacteria, and test for biodegradability. In a new campaign called Design for the Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has partnered a program to help simplify the identification of key ingredients in detergents for proper labeling. The ability to meet these new standards allows products to display a DfE label, which ensures consumers a product that is safe to humans, animals, and the environment.

Instrumentation designed to meet controlled testing standards

The human eye alone cannot precisely quantify nor consistently provide accurate performance test results. Therefore, the use of precise color instrumentation has become a key component in the detergent manufacturing industry.

Powdered Detergent Performance Test
Spectrophotometers are used to measure a variety of substances, from liquid to powder and from transparent to translucent. Superior technology leads to quantifiable color for a variety of detergent mediums.
Image source: Flickr user Emily May

Whether obtaining a swatch/staining sample measurement or measuring performance based on color reflectance, quantifying the tiny microbials for product safety or measuring the product color itself, the instrumentation used to gather any of this data must be backed by experience and dependability. HunterLab spectrophotometers are a first choice in detergent color measurement because of their versatility and variety of applications. In this highly competitive market with limitless growth potential, experience matters. HunterLab is a trusted name in spectrophotometry and color technology and offers a wide range of solutions to meet any size business or budget. Contact HunterLab today to see how they can help you achieve the color of clean.

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