What Is The pH Level Of Cleaning Chemicals And Why Is It Important

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Maintaining a clean carpet and upholstery is essential for a healthy and hygienic living space. Have you ever considered the pH level of the cleaning substances you use at home or those employed by professionals for sofa cleaning and other furniture types? However, it's not solely about removing visible dirt and stain - the pH level of the cleaning products you use is also crucial.

Understanding the pH of cleaning products is valuable for several reasons: you can take precautions to prevent skin and eye irritation, select the appropriate cleaning solution for the specific type of stain or dirt you are tackling, and match the cleaning solution with the type of fibers to avoid damage. Continue reading to find out the essential aspects you should be aware of regarding the pH of cleaning products.

What is pH?

pH is a quantitative measure of the acidity or basicity of a liquid solution; it comprises the values of the concentration of the hydrogen ion, which ranges between 0 and 14 (pH stands for “potential hydrogen”). Pure water is neutral and has a pH of 7 – significantly that water is neither acidic nor alkaline. 

How Can You Measure pH?

There are multiple methods for determining the pH of a solution: a pH meter using a pH-sensitive electrode and a reference electrode, litmus paper and pH paper which give quick but less precise measurements, and reagents added to vials to induce a pH-dependent color change. If you wish to determine the pH of the home cleaning solution, you can examine the product’s label, especially if it is an EPA Safer Choice product Solutions included in this program must have a pH value greater than or equal to 2 and less than or equal to 11.5 to minimize the risk of skin and eye irritation. For instance,  The Jonson website features some of the best carpet cleaning chemicals, and the pH of each item is specified in the product description.

What pH Levels do Cleaning Chemicals Have?

Cleaning solutions such as dish soap and cleaner shampoo exhibit different pH levels, depending on the cleaning requirements. As strong acids and bases can affect dyes, a safe cleaning solution must possess sufficient strength to clean a surface or a fabric without causing discoloration. The selection of the cleaning solution’s pH should align with the specific cleaning needs and the type of fibers being treated.

Here are the most common household supplies and their pH levels:

Bleach: pH 11-13

The pH level of bleach, with its high level of alkalinity renders it corrosive and necessitates adequate ventilation needs to be ensured when using bleach. It is used to eliminate stains and whiten but is safe on a limited number of fabrics.

Ammonia: pH 11-13

This corrosive substance should not be combined with other cleaning supplies and ingredients.

Baking soda: pH 8-10

It is less corrosive than ammonia and bleach and is used to break down organics such as oil and dirt.

Descaler: pH 0.5-2

Also called limescale remover, this highly acidic solution is used for cleaning hard water deposits and soap buildup.

The most effective cleaning products are found at either end of the pH scale. If the substance you want to remove is acidic, you will use an alkaline cleaning product. If the substance you want to remove is alkaline, you need an acid-cleaning product. Bringing the substance to a neutral pH aids in stain and dirt removal. 

When Should You Use High pH Cleaning Products?

Alkaline cleaners, such as bleach, ammonia, and soap are used to dissolve fats, oils, and proteins. Alkaline chemicals, like those found in mattress cleaner solutions, break down fats and oils and make them easier to eliminate from fabrics.

The most corrosive alkaline products, such as bleach and drain cleaners, can only be applied to hard surfaces or on a limited range of fabrics. The best upholstery cleaning products are alkaline because the type of dirt and residue found in furniture and carpets is mostly oils or grease, easily broken down by high pH chemicals.

When using high-pH cleaning, it is essential to perform a rinse that balances the pH to prevent the fibers from becoming stiff. Carpet cleaners used by any rug cleaner in NYC are slightly alkaline and may leave carpets sticky once the moisture evaporates. The rug cleaner will then rinse the carpets with a neutralizer and water to level out the pH balance. 

When Should You Use Low pH Cleaning Products?

Low pH cleaning products are particularly useful for specific cleaning tasks, such as removing hard water deposits and soap buildup in bathrooms.

Cleaning solutions with a low PH are less commonly found in products designed for area rug and carpet cleaning. They are generally used on small surfaces and are effective in addressing issues like rust stains, often tackled with rust stain removers, vinegar, or lemon juice due to their acidic nature.

When Should You Use Neutral pH Cleaning Products?

Neutral pH cleaning products are mild cleaning substances and are less dangerous and toxic. However, they are less effective than acidic and alkaline cleaners. A substance with a neutral pH is not able to neutralize the impact of acidic or alkaline ions in a stain. 

These products are particularly suitable for delicate fibers and light stains, ensuring effective cleaning without compromising the integrity of sensitive surfaces. 

5 Benefits of Using a pH-Neutral Cleaner

  • A pH-neutral detergent is secure to use on all surfaces including untreated surfaces
  • A pH-neutral detergent will not cause any harm to the surfaces
  • A pH-neutral detergent is less likely to induce skin or eye irritation
  • A pH-neutral detergent is eco-friendly
  • A pH-neutral detergent is less likely to emit harmful fumes


In conclusion, understanding the pH level of cleaning chemicals is crucial for maintaining the efficacy and safety of cleaning processes. Alkaline, acidic, and neutral pH cleaners each serve specific purposes, catering to diverse cleaning needs. The right pH ensures effective stain removal without compromising the integrity of surfaces.

At PristineGreen Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning, we have trained and experienced staff who can choose the right cleaning solution, striking a perfect balance between safety and efficiency. 

Contact PristineGreen today for impeccable cleaning services tailored to your unique requirements.

Call us for a Free Quote

347-871-6530

Voted 5-Star Top Carpet Cleaner and Upholstery Cleaner in NYC, Brooklyn & Queens. Our customer service hours are 9am to 9pm, 7 days a week.

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