- Written by Rich Fitzmorris
Question: Is there any effect of high water pH in a laundry wash process? Our normal water supply pH is 7-8, but I recently encountered a pH of 9. What might cause this? Is it safe to increase sour to maintain a final linen pH of 6-7, or should I stick to the rule that final pH should be one less than the water supply pH?
Answer: Before making any changes I recommend verifying that the water has indeed changed. Check the pH meter against a standard buffer, and have a chemical technician look into this further.
Washing and bleaching steps are generally unaffected if the incoming water pH is somewhat high. However, rinsing and sour baths can be affected. When titrations of the wash formulas are taken, be certain that total alkalinity is being reduced properly. When using an alkaline base chemical system, the last rinse should be titrated to less than 50 parts per million of active alkalinity.
The cause of higher than normal fresh water pH would be at the source of the water. The local water treatment plant often has to make adjustments if they switch from one source of water to another. Perhaps the treatment plant is trying to control the quality of the water by having a high pH during a time of prolonged high temperature weather conditions. If you still have concerns about the incoming fresh water quality, I suggest contacting the local water utility service.
The pH of the incoming water generally has nothing to do with what the final pH of the textiles you are washing should be. The finishing pH is what is important for fabric quality and comfort. There is no rule that says you should be only one pH scale less than the water. It might be that you would not have any problem depending upon what the textile is, however the pH of our skin is approximately 5.5. Therefore, when items that are worn have a significantly higher pH, they could become a possible irritant. I recommend dropping the pH to the acceptable levels of the past, and continue to investigate why the source of water has experienced a change in pH.
Quick Rinse - News From Around The World
Ecolab Acquires Dober Chemical’S Textile Care Business
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ecolab Inc. a leader in cleaning, sanitizing, food safety and infection prevention products and services announced it has purchased the commercial laundry division of Dober Chemical Corporation. The acquisition includes Dober’s laundry chemical and waste water treatment and Ultrax dispensing businesses as well as an exclusive partnership to market and provide key components of its Spindle monitoring software.
“Dober is respected throughout the industry for its innovative monitoring technology, product chemistry and commitment to service – qualities that complement our own strengths at Ecolab,” said Brian Henke, vice president and general manager, Ecolab Textile Care North America. “As we expand our North American commercial laundry business, innovation and service excellence will continue to be our top priority as we partner with our customers to deliver unsurpassed value to run their operations more efficiently, sustainably and cost effectively.”
“Ecolab and Dober share the same customercentric approach to service and innovative technology,” said John Dobrez, president Dober Chemical Corp. “This is an exciting development because it builds on the strengths of both companies to move the industry forward.”
Through this agreement, Spindle Technologies,a division of Dober, is forming a strategic alliance with Ecolab Textile Care in an exclusive licensing agreement for its ChemWatch Software technology and the OPTRAX Utility Module.
“There will be no movement of people as they currently all operate remotely,” said Henke. “The Dober leadership team is very skilled and respected in the industry. We plan to have them as part of the team moving forward. During the transition, both businesses will operate as usual and we do not expect there to be any changes in the service the customers are used to receiving.”