Three general classes of measurements can be used to fully evaluate cleaners and detergents: physical properties of the formulated product, product performance, and some measure of consumer satisfaction. Desired test characteristics include an ability to discriminate between different formulations, accuracy, convenience, and reproducibility. The physical properties of the formulation include product form (e.g., solid, liquid, gel), viscosity for liquids or dry flow for powders, foam, cloud point, surface tension, and pH. Long term physical and chemical stability of the formulation must also be considered. Stability testing might include freeze-thaw stability, high/low temperature stability, shelf stability, and stability in package.
To evaluate product performance, carefully design controlled tests to mimic the end application. Soil and surface selection that mimics or reproduces the soil and surface to be cleaned is critical. Screening tests might measure wetting, detergency, spotting/filming, anti-soil deposition or soil tolerance. When acceptable formulations are identified, field or in-use testing should be done.
Standard industry methods for both physical property and detergent testing are available from:
American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC),
One Davis Drive, P.O. Box 12215,
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2215
Phone: (919) 549-8141
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
100 Barr Harbor Drive
West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959
Phone: (610) 832-9585
Chemical Specialties Products Association (CSPA)
1913 Eye St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
Phone: (202) 872-8110
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