Cleaning terminology can be confusing, this list of common words used in the cleaning industry and their meanings should help:
Abrasive: A substance that has hard particles in it for polishing surfaces
Acid: A substance with a pH level of less than 7 that is able to neutralise alkali substances and can dissolve some metals
Alkali: A substance with a pH level of 7 or greater that is able to dissolve in water
Anionic: Negatively charged ions (particles) Anti-bacterial: Slowing down the growth of bacteria
Antioxidant: A product that slows down oxidation which is a process that would make things deteriorate
Caustic: Capable of destroying or eating away by chemical action: corrosive
Degreaser: A chemical product that is able to dissolve water insoluble substance like grease or fats
Detergent: A cleaning agent that acts similarly to soap but is made from chemical compounds not fats and lye
Disinfectant: A chemical that destroys bacteria
Emollient: A substance that is able to soften and soothe the skin
Emulsified: A layer of fats in a mixture that is broken down into smaller particles
Emulsion: A mixture of two or more liquids that do not dissolve into eachother
Flash Point: The lowest temperature at which a substance will ignite
Miscible: Two liquids are miscible if they are able to dissolve completely into eachother when combined in any proportions
Non-ionic: Neutrally charged ions or particles
Penetrant: A substance that is able to lower the surface tension of liquid and is therefore able to penetrate more easily
PH: A scale of measuring if a substance is alkaline (above 7) or acid (below 7)
Polymer: A substance that has a molecular structure built up completely from a large number of similar units bonded together repeatedly.
Reagent: A substance used in a chemical reaction to detect, measure, examine, or produce other substances.
Sanitizer: A substance that cleans and disinfects
Sequesterant: To isolate a constituent of a chemical system by chelation or other means.
Soluble: A substance that is able to be dissolved
Solution: A mixture of liquids where one is able to dissolve into another
Solvent: A substance into which another substance can dissolve
Surface Active Agent: This is a chemical agent that is able to reduce the surface tension of the liquid it is dissolved in and thus allows for dirt to be lifted off surfaces.
Surfactant: Surface Active Agent. This is a chemical agent that is able to reduce the surface tension of the liquid it is dissolved in and thus allows for dirt to be lifted off surfaces.
Wetting Agent: This is a chemical agent that is able to reduce the surface tension of the liquid it is dissolved in and thus allows for dirt to be lifted off surfaces.