Terminology of Cleaning - Hotel Housekeeping Cleaning Terminology - Must know Cleaning Terminology for Staffs

Basic Terminology of cleaning In Housekeeping Department

Many housekeeping employees are exposed to dangerous chemicals in their daily work routines. And it is most important that the housekeeping attendants who handle them should be familiar with the basic terminology of cleaning used by the housekeeping department. These terms are from chemistry & biology, and the knowledge of which is required for a better understanding of all that the cleaning processes entail.

Housekeeping department requires employees to handle toxic substances like acids, alkali etc. and also employees may unknowingly come in contact with bacteria or pathogens etc. due to the nature of work environment. Continual training in this area is necessary to avoid any serious health hazards and also to reduce the staff turnover.

List of Cleaning Terminology used in Housekeeping:

1) Abrasives:

Abrasives are gritty substances used to remove heavy soils and polishes. Abrasives can be used safely on stainless steel, ceramic tile and some types of chinaware.

2) Acids:

Substances made up of hydrogen ions combined with anions. Weak citric acid and vinegar can be used to clean glass, bronze and stainless steel. Acids have pH of less than 7 to 0.

3) Aerobic:

Refers to the presence of oxygen in the reaction.

4) Aerosols:

An aerosol is a suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets, in air or another gas. These are particles dispersed in gas and packed under pressure with a device for releasing them as a fine spray.

5) Alcohols:

These are any organic compound whose molecule contains one or more hydroxyl groups attached to a carbon atom. or in other words organic compounds containing the OH- ions as the reactive group. They are commonly called as “spirits”

6) Algae:

These are mainly aquatic, eukaryotic, single-celled or multicellular plants without true roots, leaves and flowers. They are typically autotrophic, photosynthetic and contain chlorophyll. They may also attach to underwater structures, rocks or the submerged surfaces.

7) Alkali:

An inorganic compound made up of hydroxyl ions (OH-) combined with cations. Alkalies in all-purpose cleaners typically have a pH value between 8 and 9.5. A PH scale measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance compared to water. Alkalies have values of more than 7 to 14.

8) Anaerobic:

Refers to the absence of oxygen in the reaction or living, active, occurring, or existing in the absence of free oxygen.

9) Anion:

A negatively charged ion. i.e. one that would be attracted to the anode in electrolysis.

10) Antiseptic:

An agent that makes the environment non-conducive to the growth and reproduction of disease-causing (pathogenic) microbes.

11) Asepsis:

Rendering a surface free of microbes and infection or in other words the absence of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.

12) Atom:

The smallest particle of the element that displays the properties of that element.

13) Autoclave:

A strongly heated equipment used to sterilize articles, an example using steam under pressure.

14) Bacteria:

Single-celled microorganisms that can exist either independently or as parasites.

15) Bactericide:

An agent that kills most bacterias but not their spores.

16) Bacteriostat:

An agent that makes the environment non-conducive to the growth and reproduction of bacteria.

17) Biodegradable:

Are substances that can be decomposed by the action of living organisms or items capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms and thereby avoiding pollution.

18) Cations:

A positively charged ion. the one that would be attracted to the cathode in electrolysis.

19) Caustic alkalis:

Very strong alkalis such as sodium hydroxide (caustic soda).

20) Cells:

All living organisms are made up of basic units called as cells.

21) CFCs:

Chlorofluorocarbons are organic compounds containing chlorine, fluorine and carbon. These are the substances used in air-conditioning and refrigeration systems. When these substances break down on exposure to ultraviolet rays, the resultant product reacts with the protective ozone layer of the earth and damages it.

22) Chemical compounds:

Substances whose molecules are composed of atoms of at least two different elements. For instances, sodium carbonate (Na2CO3)

23) Chemical reaction:

A process that leads to chemical change. The substances that take part in the reaction are called as ‘reactants’, while the substances that are produced in a reaction are called as’ products’.

24) Chlorine:

An element of the halogen group used as a sanitizer and bleach.

25) Corrosion:

The wasting away of metals layer by layer due to the formation of a metal compound on the surface is called as corrosion. Corrosion in case of iron takes the form of rusting.

26) Detergents:

The cleaning agent that which used in conjunction with water, can loose and remove dirt, and then hold it in suspension so that the dirt is not redeposited on the clean surface. They can be of two types of soapy detergents and synthetic detergents (non-soapy).

27) Dilution:

The process of reducing the strength of a cleaning agent by adding other solvents, usually water.

28) Disinfectants:

Disinfectants kill bacteria, molds and mildew. Cleaners with disinfectants are usually expensive. The term ‘disinfectant’ is now used as a general term that covers all kinds of agents that bring about germ control.  A good all-pourpose cleaner used with proper cleaning, rinsing and drying procedures is usually sufficient for lodging operations.

29) Delimers:

Delimers remove mineral deposits that can dull, scale and/or discolour surfaces.

30) Deodorizers:

Deodorizers or room fresheners are designed to conceal the smell of cleaners in the room. Some fresheners can leave a filim on surfaces in the guest room which need to be avoided and they can also become overpowering if used on a regular basis.

31) Elements:

These are substances, metals or non-metals, that cannot be further divided into two or more substances.

32) Fiberglass Cleaners:

Many newer bathtub/shower units are made of fibreglass. Special cleaners should be used to clean the surface of fibreglass to avoid scratching the surface.

33) Germs:

A common term used for germs especially bacteria.

34) Halogens:

A group of reactive elements belonging to the seventh group of the periodic table. The halogens consist of five chemically related elements: fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), iodine (I), and astatine (At).The important elements in this group are chlorine, bromine, iodine and fluorine.

35) Health:

A state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being, the state of being free from illness or injury.

36) Hydrocarbons:

Hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon.

37) Hydrogen:

Hydrogen is the lightest element, existing in gaseous form at standard temperature and pressure. It is a component of water, acids and many other compounds.

38) Hygiene:

The science that deals with the preservation of health by maintaining a high standard of cleanliness.

39) Inorganic compounds:

These are compounds that consist of a chemical combination of two or more elements that are not carbon.

40) Iodine:

A deep brown halogen, used as a disinfectant because of its highly reactive in nature.

41) Ions:

An atom is composed of a positively charged nucleus and negatively charged electrons moving around it. An atom is electrically neutral, but if another electron is added to it or removed from it, the substance acquires a electrical charge and becomes an ion. If one or more electron is added, the charge of the atom becomes negative and it is called as anion. On the other hand, if one or more electrons are removed from the neutral atom, it becomes positively charged and is called cation.

42) Micro-organisms:

A microorganism, or microbe, is a microscopic organism, which may exist in its single-celled form or in a colony of cells. Its a very minute living organisms that are impossible to see through the naked eye and may only be viewed through a microscope. They include bacteria, fungi, protozoa, algae and viruses.

43) Molecules:

The smallest particle of an element or a compound that has an independent existence. A molecule of an element displays the chemical properties of that element and a molecule o a compound displays the chemical properties of that compound.

44) Metal Cleaners:

Some oil-based metal cleaners remove soils but leave a thin, protective coating on the surface of the metal. The protective coating is kind of fingerprint magnet which picks up fingerprints. It is recommended to use water-based metal cleaning agents.

45) Nitrogen:

Nitrogen is the most abundant gas in the earth’s atmosphere (78 per cent). It is used in the production of ammonia and nitric acid.

46) Neutralization:

An acid and a base when mixed in appropriate proportions, form a neutral solution. Such a reaction is neutralization reaction.

47) Organic compounds:

Compounds containing carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.

48) Oxygen:

An element that occurs as molecules of O2, a colourless and odourless gas that forms 21 per cent of the air. It is also a component of ozone (O3) and water (H2O).

49) Pathogenic:

disease-causing (used for particular kinds of bacteria or other micro-organisms).

50) Pests:

Insects or other small animals that are harmful or cause damage.

51) Pesticides:

Agents, usually artificial, that are used to destroy pests. Pesticides are a substance used for destroying insects or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants or to animals.

52) pH scale:

A scale that indicates the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. According to the scale a pH of 7 is neutral, acids have pH value less than 7, and alkalis have value more than 7.

53) Phenols:

It is an organic, alcoholic compound derived from benzene and used in the manufacture of disinfectant. The old name for phenol is ‘carbolic acid’. Phenol is toxic; hence skin contact must be avoided when handling it.

54) Pollution:

The presence of harmful and undesirable constituents in the environment resulting from human activities. Pollution may be of air, water, soil and sound.

55) Quats:

Quaternary ammonium compounds, used as disinfectants.

56) Radicals:

in many chemical reactions, a cluster of atoms act as a unit. These clusters are called radicals. For instance sulphate (SO42-), carbonates (CO32-), bicarbonates (HCO3-), and so on are radical groupings.

57) Reagents:

Chemicals solutions such as acids alkalis or alcohols that are used in various reactions.

58) Saline:

Saline is a solution containing salt.

59) Salts:

Neutral substances which are formed when an acid reacts with alkalis. The term ‘common salt’ refers to NaCl as formed naturally.

60) Sanitizer:

An agent used for reducing the microbial count to an acceptable level.

61) Spores:

Micro-organisms in their restive, protective state when environmental conditions are unfavourable. When conditions become favorable again, the spores develop into reproductive micro-organisms.

62) Sterilization:

the process of killing all kinds of micro-organisms and their spores.

63) Surfactants:

Surfactants are compounds that impart good wetting power, emulsifying power, and suspending power to detergents.

64) Valency:

an atom of each element has a definite combining capacity, called its valency. It is measured with reference to hydrogen. For instance, the valency of hydrogen itself is 1 and that of carbon is 4, which means that an atom of hydrogen can combine with or displace a single atom of hydrogen while an atom of carbon can displace or combine with four atoms of hydrogen. The formula of a compound depends on the valency of the combining elements.

65) Waste:

Waste is the collective term for that which is unwanted, unused, useless or discarded. The terms ‘trash’ ‘garbage’, ‘refuse’, ‘rubbish’,’ residue’,’ ashes’,’ biological waste’,’ liquid by-product waste’ and solid by-product waste’ all imply waste materials as referred to in various cultures or when in various forms.

66) Wetting Agents:

Wetting Agents break down the surface tension of the water and allow water to get behind the dirt to lift it off the surface.

67) Water:

Water is an essential chemical in most cleaning solutions. Ironically, it can also be the trickiest to use because tap water is not the same from town to town, city to city, or country to country. Water absorbs mineraks that affect its ability to clean or react with cleaning agents. Water considered as the universal solvent H2O, and the most basic cleaning agent.


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