Understanding the Facts About pH
Before we dive into the specifics of pH neutrality, let’s explain what pH is and what it stands for.
For liquids, pH is an abbreviation for the potential hydrogen that is included in a liquid substance, and it tells us how much hydrogen is in liquids—or specifically how active the hydrogen ion is.
It is measured on a scale of 0 to 14, with 7 being considered neutral balanced formula. Substances with a pH below 7 are acidic, while those with a pH above 7 are alkaline cleaners.
An acidic cleaning product – or one that ranges from 0 to 7 on the pH scale is typically used to destroy inorganic substances – such as mineral deposits. While an alkaline or base solution 7 to 14 on the scale, is best for removing oil based organic substances, like bird droppings, bug splatters, pollen, or oils.
Since 7.0 is considered center or pH neutral, it’s important to understand how the scale works.
If a chemical product has a pH of 6, that means that it’s 10-times stronger or more acidic than one with a pH of 7. For every number you decrease, that strength is multiplied by 10.
So – a pH of 5 would be 100-times stronger than a pH neutral (7.0) product.
The scale works the same way on the other side – or alkaline products.
That means when you use a car care product that is lower or higher on the pH scale, it’s more likely to leave residue or streaks, break down protective layers, and eventually damage the substrate itself. This is applicable to snow foams, other harsh chemicals applied via a foam cannon, or two bucket car wash.
For example. Normal dish soap is often used by detailers as a decontamination wash.
This is due to its high pH level and aggressive surfactants. It can strip older layers of wax, paint sealants, even some ceramic coatings.
However, the pH of an actual product is only one aspect that impacts the performance and use of a car care product. And believe it or not, pH neutral with car care products does not mean that it has a pH level of 7.0.