Janitorial Supplies Restaurant Supplies Office Supplies Snacks & Breakroom Industrial & Safety Technology Products Ink & Toner Office Furniture

Janitorial Supplies & Cleaning Supply Maintenance Terms Glossary

- A -


An abrasion is any action that uses friction to rub away the film on a floor’s finish. This can sometimes be used as a cleaning measure. Abrasion Resistance Something that is abrasion resistant has the power to defend against any damage, removal, or common wearing from a mechanical action.


An abrasive additive is sometimes used in products such as polishes, pumice stones, cleaners, hand cleaners, and scouring pads. These gritty additions allow for an increase in scouring and scrubbing ability.

Abrasive Pads

Abrasive Pads, or Stripping Pads, are designed to take off a variety of coats of wax on floors.


An absorbent is a material is designed to attract certain substances directly from the floor’s surface, removing it in the process. Absorbents are typically used within concrete cleaning products and carpet cleaning products.


Absorption is a process that occurs when a substance soaks up another substance. Like water absorbing into a sponge, this is process similar in when organic materials are absorbed by microorganisms.


Acid, as it pertains to cleaning, is a substance that cleaning products utilize for use in rust and hard water stain removal, as well as in toilet bowl cleaners.

Acid Cleaner

An Acid Cleaner is a substance that totally or partially contains acid for the use of cleaning and sanitizing.

Acid Hardness

Acid Hardness is an aspect of the chemical reaction to Acid that can produce a harder surface when applied to terrazzo or concrete. This process reacts with the calcium carbonates and lime within the surface, which then form a substantially harder substance known as silica quartz.


An Acrylic substance is a specific type of polymer that is used in floor finishes. These polymers typically provide higher levels of abrasion resistance when compared to non-finished floors. Acrylic finishes are water soluble, and deliver tough and durable qualities to the applied surface.

Active Ingredients

Active ingredients are substances within a product which are intended to deliver certain results.


Adhesion is the characteristic of films or soils that allows oils and soils to bond or stick to the surface. An Adhesion could also provide a floor finish's ability to strongly bond to a surface chemical or physical means.


Aerosol is a term that typically refers to a container of pressurized liquid. This container produces thin bursts of mist as a result.


Alcohol, as it pertains to cleaning, is an organic compound that can be used for a variety of reasons. Alcohol can be used in substances to control the overall viscosity. Cleaning alcohol is also used for additional ingredients in cleaning chemicals. Alcohol in cleaning products can also be used to offer temperature resistance.


An Algaecide is a product that is used to eliminate the growth of algae.

Aliphatic Solvents

Aliphatic Solvents are specific solvents that are sometimes called a paraffin. They also called open chain or straight chain solvents. Kerosene, and Mineral Seal Oil are some examples of an aliphatic solvent.


Alkali is a specific type of chemical substance or substance, when dissolved in water, neutralizes a specific acid. Alkali is a substance typically used in degreasers, wax strippers, and cleaners. They are also commonly used to help in the removal of both finish and soil.

Alkali Soluble Polymer

An Alkali Soluble Polymer is a polymer that can create a see-through solution if dissolved within a specific base, like water and ammonia.


An Alloy is formulated throughout a mixture metals.


An Amine is a type of organic chemical are the preferred additive for floor strippers. Compared to ammonia-type of strippers, Amine chemicals are also typically more pleasant that similar strippers. These chemicals do not produce a strong ammonia scent, and don’t irritate the user’s eyes and nose.


Ammonia is a specific type of alkaline gas that is composed of both hydrogen and nitrogen.

Amphoteric Surfactant

An Amphoteric Surfactant is a type of surfactant that, when mixed in a water solution, could be either cationic or anionic. The difference is specifically dependent on the pH.


An Anhydrous solution is a type of product that has removed all the hydration from it.

Anionic Detergent

An Anionic Detergent is a type of material that omits a charge that is negative, commonly found in soap.

Anionic Surfactant

An Anionic Surfactant is a negative charged molecule. These anionic surfactants typically are used within detergents that utilize a high sudsing variety.


Antifoam is a material that is added to a floor's polish to control the overall amount of foam. These products are typically used in silicone emulsions.


Antioxidants are an additive that is implemented into floor finishes that prevent the film on the floor from degrading over time. Antioxidants are additives that fight against oxidation that occurs during high speed buffing.

Antiredeposition Agent

Antiredeposition Agents are ingredients in detergents that help to stop soil from re-depositing on fabrics and surfaces.

Aromatic Solvents

An Aromatic Solvent is composed of compounds which have unsaturated carbon atom rings. They are typically used in benzene structures.


An Asphyziant is a gas or vapor is a hazardous gas that can lead to choking or death if those chemicals are used in poorly ventilated areas.

- B -


Backing, as it pertains to the under-side of a carpet, is the flat back of the carpet that secures it in place.


A Bacteria is a single-celled micro-organisms that does not contain chlorophyll.


Baygon is an industry name for a specific insecticide. This insecticide eliminates pests by attacking nerve transmissions.


Bait, as it pertains to insect elimination, is an insect attractant that is typically a precursor to bug elimination.


Bactericide is a chemical compound that is used to eliminate bacteria.

Base (Also see Alkali)

A Base is a water soluble formula that is the starting point for a chemical solution.

Beater Bar

A Beater Bar is rigid type of bar that is typically on, or within a vacuum cleaner that is used to agitate and loosen soil within a carpet.


A Biodegradable Substance is any product that can decompose or break down overtime. Typically this is done through a biological organism or a specific action.

Black Marking / Scuffing

Black marks or scuffs, are common among high traffic areas. They typically occur when the rubber on shoe soles streak on a waxed floor.


Bleach, as it pertains to cleaning, is a product designed to whitens, clean, and brighten specific material. Bleach is typically used in laundering fabrics, and is also adept at removing stains on certain surfaces.


The term Bleeding refers to a process that lessens the amount of pigment in a floor, tile, or carpet due to leaching of the floor pigments.


Blushing is a term that is used when applying a whitening effect with a solvent finish.

Boiling Point

The Boiling Point is the temperature that a liquid state transforms to a vaporous state.

Boric Acid

Boric Acid is a weak acid that is typically found in a variety of antiseptics, cleaners, and insecticides.

Broad Spectrum

A Broad Spectrum cleaning agent is known to eliminate both Positive and Negative organisms.

Brown Out / Browning

The term Browning, or Brown Out, refers to a brownish or yellow discoloration of the face of a carpet. This typically is caused by an excessive amount of alkalinity within the cleaning agent. When this occurs, it tends to lead to the backing of the carpet bleeding through to the original coloring of the face, discoloring it in the process.


The term Buffable refers to a floor finish that needs the use of a floor buffering machine to generate a gloss film.

Buffable Floor Finish

Buffable Floor Finish is a water based floor finish or solvent that needs a mechanical floor buffer to apply a gloss to a floor’s surface.


A Buffer is a liquid formula fluid that is resistant to a change within the pH when alkali or acid is added. It is also a commonly used phrase for a scrubbing or floor buffing machine.


The term Buffing refers to the act of polishing a surface with a pad or brush.


Build-up, as it relates to floor buffering, is a situation caused by adding layers of floor wax and/or finish over an un-scrubbed floor. Without scrubbing out the old layers beforehand, the build-up can become very problematic.


A Builder is a specific material that is used to protect and upgrade how efficient a surfactant is. Builders are multi-faceted materials. They handle inactivating water hardness, supplying alkalinity that assists in cleaning, providing buffering to preserve alkalinity, in addition to preventing the re-deposition of oils and grease that if left unchecked would emulsify.


Burnishing is a method of maintenance that typically refers to using a machine with a high RPM to buff and polish a floor through friction. This process includes the use of gloss, teaming it with the heat from the buffing friction to create a gloss finish.

Butyl Cellosolve

Widely used in numerous cleaning and degreasing compounds, Butyl Cellosolve is one of the top water-based cleaning agents available.

- C -


C.F.M. stands for Cubic Ft. per Minute. This typically is illustrated by the quantity of air that is generated by the motor of a vacuum.

Calcium Carbonate

Calcium Carbonate is a type of inorganic compound found naturally within both limestone and chalk. This compound is usually the cause of water hardness.


Carnauba is by far the hardest natural wax available. Carnauba wax comes from carnauba palm leaves, and provides exceptional wax finishing results. This type of wax delivers a durable, buffable, and glossy, film when formulated with a water based floor waxes. The wax that the Carnauba produces is graded out in 5 categories. However, type 1 and type 2 are the only waxes that can be used, due to their lighter color.


A Carrier is an additive that is specifically inserted into a formula, that when combined, makes a specific soluble solution. Carriers are usually oil-based hydrocarbons or water.


A Catalyst is an ingredient that starts or accelerates a specific chemical reaction.

Cationic Surfactant

Cationic Surfactant is an ionic group that has been positively charged. It is commonly used in sanitizers and disinfectants.


A Caustic Material is any alkaline material that has an aggressive or corrosive affect when interacting with living tissue.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic Tile is a specific type of flooring material that is constructed from a formula mixture of specialty colorants and clays. This mixture is then combined at an extremely high temperature, creating a porcelain or brick-like substance.


Chalking occurs when a coating produces a chalk-like powder from the surface's film.

Chelating Agent

A Chelating Agent is an organic material that is used to seize and eliminate metallic ions and hard water within the water itself. The ingredients within a Chelating Agent include componants like Sodium Citrate, Nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA), and Ethylene Diamine etraacetic Acid (EDTA).

Chemical Compound

A Chemical Compound is the basic association of two or more chemical elements.

Chemical Reaction

A Chemical Reaction is any variation that changes certain chemical properties within a substance, which then will form a new type of substance.

Chemical Resistance

Chemical Resistance is the ability of a specific item to withstand certain chemicals or chemical groups without sustaining damage.

Chemical Symbol

Chemical Symbols are shorthand ways to represent a specific element within a formula or equation.


Chlordane is a chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticide. Due to its toxicity levels, is typically utilized as a termite eliminator.

Chlorinated Hydrocarbon

Chlorinated Hydrocarbon is a chemical that contains hydrogen, chlorine, and carbon.

Chlorinated Solvent

A Chlorinated Solvent is a degreasing solvent that has a greater solvent power and lower flammability when compared to normal petroleum solvents.

Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine Bleach is a specific type of bleach that contains powerful oxidizing agents.

Chlorine Powerful

Chlorine Powerful is a specific type of bleach that contain oxidizing agent that are usually used as a type of germicide.


Circling, as it pertains to cleaning, is a term used for circular streaks that are left on a carpet due to improper use of the carpet shampooer.


Clarity is a term within the cleaning industry that refers to a clear, non-hazy surface.

Cleaning Agent

A Cleaning Agent is an overarching term for either an emulsifying agent or detergent that is used to clean a variety of surfaces and items.


A Cleanser is a liquid or powdered cleaning product that has ingredients that include surfactants, bleach, and abrasives.

Cloud Point

A Cloud Point is a temperature that when reached, leads to a surfactant becoming insoluble within water.


The term Clouding, as it pertains to cleaning is a situation that occurs when residue from previous cleanings have not removed properly. If left overly wet, carpet fiber will start to take on a cloudy appearance.


A Coagulation is a process that occurs in which emulsion droplets combine or bond together. This leads to complete emulsion separation that cannot be reversed.


The term Coalesce refers to a bond that can combine and fuses together. This is what occurs when a floor wax finish dries. The wax fuses together to form a film for the surface.


A Coalescent is a solvent, either a glycol, or type of glycol ether, that unifies emulsion particles to one fused film.


A Colloid is a specific kind of solution that occurs when particles do not dissolve, and instead are held in suspension within the solvent.

Color Fast

The phrase Color Fast is an industry term that describes carpet fiber's ability to hold its color.


Compatibility, as it pertains to cleaning chemicals, is when 2 or more substances combine without problems to the chemical or physical formula.


A Compound is a mixture of 2 or more bonded elements. Compounds are typically very hard to divide once bonded, with chemical reactions being one of the few tools to separate them.


Concentrate is a pure form of a product that can be thinned with the addition of water.


Concentration is the set amount of active additives or ingredients within a product.


Concrete is a mixture of gravel and sand typically made for flooring material. When dried, Concrete forms a hard, rock-like substance.

Concrete Seal

A Concrete Seal is a protective coating that is applied to an older or newer concrete floor.

Conductive Flooring

Conductive Flooring is a material that can conduct electricity in an effort to reduce or eliminate the unneeded static electricity in a volatile setting. Conductive flooring materials include ceramic tile, linoleum, vinyl, terrazzo, and rubber.


Contamination typically refers to the addition of an undesirable material into a separate material.


Coolant refers to the fluid that is used to stop a mechanical item from overheating.

Cork Tile

Cork Tile is a specific type of flooring material that created by combining and compressing ground-up cork with or without the addition of resins. The material is then heated and cured into the specific type of tile.


Corrosion is a process that occurs when a chemical reaction slowly eats away on a metal surface.

Corrosion Inhibitor

Corrosion Inhibitors are a specific type of material that defends against the corrosive effects that can occur over time for certain surfaces. The most common corrosion inhibitor in detergents is typically sodium silicate.


A Corrosive substance is any gaseous, liquid, or solid that can irritate, burn or destructively attack a certain type of material.


The term Corrosives refers to a substance that can cause eye and skin damage when a person comes into contact with the substance.


A Co-solvent is a type of solvent that can modify both the stability or the performance differentials of polish and wax.


Coverage refers to the exact measurement of surface that a predetermined amount of liquid can coat.


Creaming refers to the development of a solid off-color layer that appears on the top of liquid emulsion.

Critical Micelle Concentration

Critical Micelle Concentration is when a concentration of surfactant within a solution where the molecules form aggregates that are known as micelles.


Crocking is a term used to describe when the excess color is rubbed in either the wet or dry state.


Cross-Contamination is the process that occurs when bacteria is transferred from one entity to another.


A Crosslink is when a chemical bond is formed by 2 chains of polymer molecules.

- D -


DDVP or Dichlorvos is a highly noxious organophosphate, which is typically used as an insecticide to protect stored items from insects. This insecticide has been long thought to be a carcinogen; however there is no evidence to date to back-up that claim.

D. N. R. (or DNR)

The DNR typically refers to the Department of Natural Resources.

Damp Mopping

Damp Mopping is a method of maintenance that employs using a wrung out wet mop that has been previously dampened with either a cleaning solution or water to eliminate light soiling from floors and other surfaces.


A Defoamer is a specific type of substance that eliminates and reduces suds caused by shampoo left in the carpet.


Degradation typically refers to a product that is breaking down due to overuse or age. It could also refer to a breakdown within certain active ingredients once an application is finished.


A Degreaser is a specific type of cleaning product designed to remove both oils and grease from hard surfaces.

Deionized Water

Deionized Water is the process in which an ionized, charged, or ionized inorganic or organic salts are eliminated from the water itself.


Deliquescent is a specific substance that is used to absorb and dissolve water vapor from within the air, which then in turn creates a concentrated version of the solution.


Density is the measurement that is equal to the mass of the item that is then divided by its overall volume.


Deodorant is an item that masks, eliminates, or destroys unpleasant odors.


A Detergent is a general term for chemicals that is used to clean surfaces, clothing, carpets or other applicable situations.

Detergent Resistance

Detergent Resistance is the ability to endure a detergent solution without damage being caused to the product.


Dielectric is a type of substance that has a very low electrical conductivity.


Diffusion is an even mixing of liquids and gases that occurs spontaneously.


A Digester is a chemical agent that is employed to break down soils and stains like food or blood.


A Diluent is a liquid, usually water or a solvent, which is used to thin the concentrated liquid.

Dilution Rate (or ratio)

A Dilution Rate is the ratio at which a liquid mixture reaches an optimum level for use.

Dip Tank Degreasing

Dip Tank Degreasing is a process that occurs when oil, dirt, or grease, are eliminated from metal through immersion in a degreasing solution.

Dirt Embodiment

Dirt Embodiment is a term used when there is trapped dirt that is engrained within fabrics and surfaces that detergent washing cannot remove.

Dry Bright Floor Finish

Dry Bright Floor Finish is a phrase that is typically used to describe a self polishing floor polish film.


A Disinfectant is a cleaning agent which is used to eliminate harmful viruses and bacteria from a multitude of surfaces.


Disinfection is the process in which a disease-causing pathogens and bacteria are eliminated.


Dispersant is a chemical that allows even spreading of insoluble ingredients.

Dispersing Agent

A Dispersing Agent is a material that lessens the overall cohesive attraction between similar particles.


Dispersion refers to a type of colloidal system that is characterized by an external continuous phase as well as a internal discontinuous phase. Adding specific dispersing agents can be used to create a more uniformed dispersion.

Distilled Water

Distilled Water is water that has had all salt removed through distillation. While distilled water is pure, it can contain dissolved gases.


d-Limonene is specific type of natural hydrocarbon solvent that is extracted or taken from citrus products.

Drain Cleaner

Drain Cleaners are a type of chemical product that is designed to clean clogs within plumbing drains.

Dry Buffing

Dry Buffing is a method of floor cleaning that employs the use of a floor buffing machine, as well as floor polishing pads or brushes. The goal of buffing is to restore the surface finish to its previously glossy state.

Dry Foam

Dry Foam is a type of near-waterless detergent solution that is mechanically added to a carpet. The soil is then lifted up through a vacuum.

Dry Foam Cleaning

Dry Foam Cleaning is concentrated foam that is used as the primary cleaning chemical for a dry foam cleaning machine. The shampoo is used as a foam, which allows for less wetting on the surface of the carpet.

Dry Rot

Dry Rot is the disintegration and break down of the back of a carpet. Mildew is typically the root cause of most Dry Rot.

Dry Spotter

A Dry Spotter is a stain removal agent that is primarily used against grease or oily type stains.

Dry Stripping

Dry Stripping a type of maintenance technique that is used to take away a floor’s finish by using a commercial floor machine, a stripping solution, and a stripping pad.

Dry Time

The term Dry Time in this instance refers to the overall amount of time that is required for one coat of finish to dry properly, before applying the next coat. Typically there are 4 types of drying that occur in this scenario:

The 1st is referred to as Dry to Touch which is when the film looks or feels dry.

The 2nd is called The Tack Moment, which is the time when dry materials, like dust, are not able to stick to the surface.

The 3rd is a dry time that is referred to as Recoat Time. This is an elapsed time when a film is able to be applied over an existing coat without any negative effects.

The 4th and final dry time is called Fully Cure Moment. This is the elapsed time that occurs when the film’s coat is fully developed.


Durability is a term that is used when describing how long a polish’s film can resist any unplanned alterations in appearance. These factors include everything from foot traffic and other abrasions, to black heeled mark resistance, dirt, scuffing, and scratching.

Dust Mopping

Dust Mopping is a method of maintenance that is used to eliminate dust from surfaces through a dry mop.

Dwell or Contact Time

Dwell or Contact Time refers to the lapsed time a formula remains on a floor’s surface.

- E -


The E.P.A. are the initials that refer to the Environmental Protection Agency.


Efflorescent is a type of crystallization that manifests itself as a powdery coating on concrete, brick or a related substance. This occurs when there is a loss of water or solvent from a hydrated or solvated salt. The powder then occurs when the substance comes in contact with oxygen.


Electrolytes are a type of substance that can conduct an electric current.

Electrostatic Attraction

An Electrostatic Attraction is a pulling force that occurs when 2 ions that are oppositely charged are drawn together.


Elements are pure substances which can’t change or be broken down any further. Classified on within the scientific periodic table, these elements are known as the building blocks of all matter.

Emulsifiable Concentrate

An Emulsifiable Concentrate is an oil-based mixture that, when combined with water, create a milky white, concrete solution.


Emulsification is what occurs when oils, fats, and soils are broken down into smaller particles. These particles are then in turn suspended within the solution.


An Emulsifer is a type of chemical agent that is harnessed to suspend an incompatible material from another material.


Emulsion is a type of stable combination of water, as well as water insoluble items that are divided through 1 or more surface-active agents.

Emulsion Polymer

An Emulsion Polymer is a phase where polymer particles that are suspended through a substance called emulsifiers.


Encapsulation is a process in which a compound is surrounded for a permanent, controlled, or time-released method of dispensing.


Enzymes are protein molecules that are produced in an organism which is then used as a catalyst to achieve a certain biochemical reaction.


Esbiothrin is a quick acting insecticide that is effective against both crawling and flying insects.


An Etch is a type of chemically caused alteration to the exterior of a floor’s surface, often making it rough or pitted.


Evaporation is the change that occurs when a liquid turns into a gaseous vapor state.

Evaporation Speed

Evaporation Speed is the rate of time it takes for a liquid to turn into a gaseous vapor state.

Exothermic Reaction

Exothermic Reaction is a situation that occurs when heat is emitted to the area around a reaction.

- F -

Factory Finish

A Factory Finish is a temporary film that is applied to a flooring material through its manufacturing phase.


Fading refers to the loss of color caused by an actinic radiation like atmospheric gases, certain cleaning and bleaching chemicals, and sunlight.


Fastness is the overall retention of color within a carpet and other materials.

Fatty Acid

Fatty Acid compounds are organic material which reacts when in contact with the base to then form soap.


Film is a small, thin coating or covering which protects a surface from other outside sources.


Finish is a specific kind of coating or film that protects against abrasions on a surface. Additionally, it also enhances the surface’s overall appearance.

Fire Point

A Fire Point is the lowest overall temperature that liquid vapors will catch fire near a flame or spark.


A Fisheye is a small rounded surface imperfection within a polish’s film that is caused by surface tension.

Flagged Fibers

A Flagged Fiber is a broom or brush fibers that has split ends, in an effort to increase the efficiency of its cleaning capabilities.

Flash Point

A Flash Point is the lowest temperature that liquid vapors will ignite when in the presence of fire.


Flocculation is a process that is reversible, and occurs when emulsion droplets stick together to form cluster or clumps.

Floor Finish

A Floor Finish is the highest protective surface coating layer on a floor.

Floor Machine

A Floor Machine is a power-driven tool that is fully equipped to buff, brush, clean, polish, and scrub floors.

Floor Polish

Floor Polish is a temporary film that is designed to enhance and protect the overall appearance of a floor.

Floor Sealer

Floor Sealer is a type of coating that is applied to a surface directly before a floor finishing coat is applied. Floor sealers are designed to promote higher levels of adhesion to the floor of a finished coat.


A Fluorochemical is a type of fluorinated surfactant that has the ability to lessen the surface tension of the liquid. It can also enhance the wetting and leveling characteristics of certain polishes.


Foam is a large quantity of bubbles that form when a liquid has been agitated.


Fog is an extremely fine collection of atomized particles that are suspended fully in air.


A Fumigant is a type of pressurized gas that is used to exterminate fungi, rodents and insects.


A Fungicide is a type of chemical that is used to eliminate fungi and fungus.

Furniture Cleaner

Furniture Cleaner and Polish is a type of chemical that is designed specifically to eliminate stains and dust from specified wooden surface.

- G -


Galvanizing is the process of coating certain metals with zinc to create a corrosion resistance.


Germicide is any type of substance that is used to kills germs. Germicides are typically disinfectants.


Gloss is the visual perception of an applied wax or finish. It typically provides a shining, wet look.

Gloss may also describe: the perceived depth or thickness the surface looks

the overall clarity, as well as the cloudiness, milky appearance, and haziness of the surface

the overall uniformity or the lack of surface unevenness

the shine ration or reflection compared to incident light

a distinct lack of any distortion to the surface from reflected images

the overall amount of gloss sheen for low reflectance.

the hue, which is the bluish coloration that affects the overall perception of overall depth within gloss

Grains Hardness

Grains Hardness is process which measures how hard the water being used is. Grain Hardness measures the overall dissolved amount of magnesium salts and calcium within the water sampled.


Granules are the coarse particles used in cleaning. Granules are typically used when scrubbing.


Grout is a substance that is used to combine and adhere ceramic tiles together.

- H -

Hand Cleanser

Hand Cleaner is a type of cleansing tool that is used to clean by removing grease, oils, and other soils.

Hard Water

Hard Water is water that contains high levels of magnesium and calcium. There are 2 hardness types, temporary hardness, which is pretty easy to remove, and hardness that is permanent, which is difficult to remove.


Hardness is a term used to describe the concentration of salts in water. The more salt in the water, the less effective the water can be while cleaning.

Hardwood Floor

Hardwood Flooring is non-resilient wooden flooring. This flooring typically is made from pecan, maple, beech, oak, or other hardwoods.

Hazardous Material

Hazardous Material is a substance that has the capability of producing harmful safety or health risks to those around it.


Heeling is a technique used by providing pressure to 1 side of a floor machine. This is done to eliminate any heel marks on the surface of the floor.


Heterogeneous is a substance that has the ability to change its properties and composition from 1 part to another. These properties are also able to change within a solution.

High Solids

High Solids is a term used to describe a floor finish that has a non-volatile content of 20 percent or higher. This differs from concentrated high solids which are typically used without it needing diluting.

High Speed

High Speed is a term that usually describes a range of floor machines that can harness speeds of anywhere from 500 to 1500 rpm.

High Speed Floor Finish

A High Speed Floor Finish is a finish that is designed specifically for high speed floor machines.

High Speed Floor Machine

High Speed Floor Machines are floor burnishing or buffing machines that operate at speeds of 200 RPMS (Revolutions per Minute) or more.


A Homogeneous substance is a type of material that retains the same composition and properties throughout its lifecycle.


A Hormone is a chemical that directly interacts with the development, behavior, or metabolism of an organism.


The term Hue refers to a bluish tone within the film that promotes the look of depth within the polish.


Humidity refers to the measurement of moisture within the atmosphere.


The term Hydrophilic refers to a radical type of surfactant molecule which allows it to be soluble within water. This is the opposite of a hydrophobic surfactant.


A Hydrotrope is a substance which increases the overall insolubility within the water of a different material.


Hygroscopic describe a substance that has the ability to absorb up to and over 70% of the mass of the water vapor.



Impervious is a term used when describing an item or material that is incapable of being pierced.


Inert is a term used to describe a substance that is not active within a formula.

Inert Ingredient

An Inert Ingredient is a component within a product that does not add to the products functionality.


An Inhibitor is an item that drastically reduces the effectiveness of a product.


An Inorganic substance which aren't made of a combination of hydrogen and carbon.


Insolubility refers to the substance's inability to dissolve into a different solution.

Interfacial Tension

Interfacial Tension is a measurement of molecular forces that exist within the boundary of two separate phases. Liquids that have a lower inter-facial tension tend to emulsify easier.


Iodine is a specific type of disinfecting agent.


An Irritant is a material that causes a negative reaction to the skin, eyes, or the respiratory system, leading to inflammation.

- J -

James Machine

A James Machine is a type of instrument that is used to measure the static coefficient of friction of a type of surface.

- K -

K. B. Value

A K.B. Value is a measurement that indicates the overall relative power of a solvent, and is used to test how aggressive the solvent is.

- L -

L. D.

L.D. is an abbreviated term identifying a “Lethal Dose.”

Lambs Wool

Lambs wool is a specific type of a finish applicator that consists of a wooden block, a handle, and a lambs wool pad. It is the choice of many due to its overall smoothness of its application.


Lanolin is an emollient that is derived from certain animal sources. This is a type of emollient that delivers high performance skin conditioning.


Leveling is the ability of a floor finish to cover a surface, providing a smooth film throughout the course of drying the process.

Leveling Aid

A Leveling Aid is a specific type of substance that could be used as an addition to a floor polish. This allows the substance to fully dry, providing a level looking film.


Lime is a type of insoluble mineral deposit commonly found within water.


Linoleum is porous, soft, and can tend to discolor over-time. It also can be more porous when it is subjected to specific types of alkaline cleaners and strippers.

Loop Pile

A Loop Pile is a type of carpet style that consists of a surface of uncut woven yarn loops.


Lubricant is a type of material that is used to reduce the overall friction between surfaces.

- M -

M. A. C. Rating

M.A.C. or Maximum Allowable Concentration, is a rating that generally determines the value that is used to determine the overall quantity of solvent vapor permitted within a concentrated area. This is used for toxicity purposes.


A Material Safety Data Sheet, or M.S.D.S. is a form that is required by law to list hazardous ingredients within a manual for companies who distribute and sell these types of chemical products.

M.F.T. (Minimum Forming Temperature)

M.F.T. or Minimum Forming Temperature, is the temperature that a floor polish or polymer will not be able to form a film completely.


Marble, or Travertine Marble is a specific type of surface material used for flooring.

Mechanical Cleaning

Mechanical Cleaning is the method of removing soil and dirt from a surface by scrubbing or abrasives. This is compared to using chemical cleaning.

Medicated Soap

A Medicated Soap is a bath soap that contains antibacterial ingredients that help inhibit or reduce the growth of certain bacteria on the surface of the skin.


A Micron is a specific type of measurement that is based on one hundred thousandths of an inch of overall thickness.


Mildew is a type of fungal growth that can cause fiber degradation and odor over time.

Mill Finish

A Mill Finish is a finish that is applied through the manufacturing company to a resilient type of floor tile, this can be removed and stripped before it can be professionally sealed and finished.


Miscible is a specific types of liquids that are symbiotically soluble.


Similar to solubility, it is the quality of a liquid or gas that has the ability to dissolve uniformly within another gas or liquid.

Molecules Molecules are the smallest overall particle within a specific compound or element.

Mop and Shine

Mop and Shine is a method of maintenance that uses a special type of mop to lightly clean the film of a floor finish that is well worn.


Muriatic is the name within the commercial industry for hydrochloric acid.

- N -


A Neutral chemical is a certain type of chemical state which is not an acid or an alkali. Anything with a pH 7 is a level that is considered neutral.

Neutral Cleaner

A Neutral Cleaner is a type of floor cleaner with a pH level compatible with the finish. This generally means it is a pH level ranging from 7 - 9. The pH of neutral cleaners can be around 10 if it does not contain any harsh alkalis.

Neutral Solution

A Neutral Solution is not acidic or basic; it is a solution of pH 7.

Non Buffable Finish

Generally, a finish, which dries to a high durable gloss and cannot be dry, buffed to restore shine. Since the advent of spray buffing, this term is seldom used.

Non-Buff Finish

A Non-Buff Hard Floor Finish is designed to provide a high initial gloss. This is only repairable by spray buffing.


Non-Buffable is a term that generally refers to hard finishes that don’t respond to low-speed floor buffing machine.

Non-Chlorine Bleach

A Non-Chlorine Bleach is a specific type of laundry product that contains certain oxygen compounds that release active oxygen within the washed water.


Non-Residual refers to effects that usually last about 48-72 hours.

Non-ionic Detergent

A Non-ionic Detergent is a type of chemical that possesses certain surfactant properties, which including things like surface wetting, and soil dispersion.

Non-ionic Surfactant

A Non-ionic Surfactant is a type of surface-acting active agent which does not contain negatively or positively charged types of functional groups.


Nylon is a synthetic type of thermoplastic that resides within the polyamide family. It is an overriding fiber within tufted carpet material.

- O -


OSHA or the Occupational Safety and Health Act, is a federal act designed to offer safe working conditions.

Optical Brightener

An Optical Brightener is an agent that whitens. It is used in the cleaning process. The Optical Brightener absorbs UV light, emitting a visible light as a result.


Oxidation is the process the produces a chemical reaction when an object comes in direct short or long-term contact with oxygen. A typical example is that of metal rusting.

- P -


A Pathogen is an organism that has the ability to produce and cultivate disease.


A Penetrant is a product that has the ability to thin and spread out over a surface to sufficiently cover it.

Petroleum Distillate

Petroleum Distillate is a hydrocarbon solvent that is derived from a type of crude oil through the means of distillation.


pH is the symbol of measurement that expresses the varied degrees of alkalinity or acidity.


Phenol is a specific type of chemical that is used for disinfecting, it is also commonly known as a carbolic acid.

Phosohoric Acid

Phosohoric Acid is a common acid used in cleaning formulas. It is often utilized in light-duty degreasing agents.


Phosphate is a water softener that is widely utilized in a variety of detergents.


Pitting is a situation that occurs when small notch on terrazzo and concrete surfaces grow due to foot traffic. This can be prevented by used a protective, coated floor finish on the flooring surface.


A Plasticizer is an organic material used to help increase the overall toughness and durability, flexibility, gloss, and leveling of the polymer.


Polyethylene is a plasticizer that is typically used in floor finishes.


A Polymer is a chemical compound which is composed of small, but similar parts that are linked together chemically.


Polyethylene is a type of plasticizer that is primarily used within finishes.


Polyurethane is a thermoplastic type of polymer that has excellent gloss and hardness.


A Porous surface is one that is rough and coarse. A surface that is porous will most likely require additional sealer or finish to fill in, as well as to smooth out the uneven surface.


Powdering is a condition that occurs when dust appears on the surface of a finished floor.

Pre Spotting

Pre-Spotting is a method of cleaning prior to the overall cleaning, this pre-treatment is utilized to remove stubborn stains, as well as to pre-treat certain high foot-traffic areas.


Preservative is a chemical which has the ability to halt the aging process on floors. It delays the discoloration, decay, oxidation and bacterial growth.

Preventative Maintenance

Preventative Maintenance is the scheduled adjustment and overall inspection of equipment. This often includes treatments like cleaning, lubricating, and examination.


Is an abbreviation for “Pounds per Square Inch”, which is a unit used for measuring pressure.


Pumice is a type of porous type of volcanic rock that is frequently used for its abrasive qualities.

- R -


A Reagent is a type of substance that is used to initiate a specific type of chemical reaction.


Recoating is a method of maintenance that requires additional coats to the originally coated surface.


Re-Emulsification is a chemical process which occurs when floor finish re-liquefies before the entire has dried completely.


Refinishing is the capability to administer a fresh coat of floor finish or wax to a surface.


Residue is the excess remains of cleaning chemicals that are left behind after cleaning has been completed.

Resilient Flooring

Resilient Flooring refers to certain flexible floor materials that are able to withstand heavy foot traffic and harsher conditions. Resilient Flooring typically refers to floors such as cork, asphalt tile, no wax, linoleum, vinyl, vinyl asbestos, seamless floors, and rubber.

Resilient Tile

Similar to Resilient Flooring, Resilient Tile refers to specific types of tile floor covering that can withstand harsh conditions. Resilient Tile typically refers to floors such as asphalt, asbestos, pure vinyl, vinyl tiles, and rubber.


Resin, in emulsion finishes and sealers, are materials, that contribute to the overall gloss and leveling of the film.


A Restorer is a product used to maintain and enhance the look and health of a flooring surface.

Rotary Brush

A Rotary Brush is a rotating cleaning brush that is used with a high foam shampoo.

- S -


A Sanitizer is a product that dramatically reduces the overall number of a bacteria within the area it has applied to.


Saponification is a process that converts fat to soap by treating it by using an alkali.

Scouring Pad

A Scouring Pad is a palm-sized abrasive pad used for cleaning.


A Sealer is a specialized type of formulation that is designed to quickly fill-in porous floors, while providing protection.

Secondary Backing

Secondary Backing, as it refers to carpet care, is the laminated backing to the reverse side of carpet. It provides stability and strength.

Self Polishing

Self Polishing is a type of non-buffable floor polish or finish that dries to a bright shine. Its make-up does not need any further effort to shine.

Sequestering Agents

Sequestering Agents are chemicals that prevent salts and water hardness within hard water.


Sheen is a term that is used to the amount of shine of a low angled gloss.

Shelf Life

The term Shelf Life refers to the amount of time that has elapsed between when the product was manufactured, and when the product will spoil.

Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium Hydroxide is a caustic substance that is used to manufacture soap and detergents.

Soil Load Capacity

Soil Load Capacity refers to the overall amount of soil a chemical can suspend before the properties product are affected.


Soils refer to certain substances that can attach to surfaces through electrical attraction, surface tension, or chemical bonding, thus creating a pollutant.


Soluability refers a material that can dissolve into a different material.


A Solution is a mixture of 2 or more liquids.

Solvent Finish

A Solvent Finish is a finish where the content of the solvent is borne within a solvent instead of water.


A Solvent is a type of liquid that dissolves with a material to then form a solution. A Solvent can also refer to liquid that can dissolve into a substance.


A Spore is a resistant and thick cell coat that can form within a cell wall during its resting stage.

Spray Buffing

Spray Buffing is a type of maintenance procedure that is employed to restore a floor’s finish. Spray Buffing is used to deliver a glossy film, by using a floor buffer, and buffing pads.


A Spreader is a compound that helps increases the overall surface area a liquid can cover.

Stain Repellant

A Stain Repellant is a product that when applied to a carpet, can help with the surface’s resistance to stains.


Sterilization is the process, chemical or, which eliminates or destroys bacteria, specifically microorganisms.


Streaking refers to non uniformed lines that can be left in the film of a floor’s finish.


A Stripper is a product that is used to eliminate a coating from most floor film finishes.


Stripping is a method of maintenance that is used to remove floor finishes.

Surface Tension

Surface Tension refers to the contractive tendencies of surface liquids, in which allows the liquid to resist certain external forces.


A Surfactant is the general term given to the type of active surface agents used in cleaners. It reduces the overall surface tension while providing improved dispersing properties, emulsifying, wetting, and penetrating.


Suspension is the process in which a specific type of cleaning material can hold insoluble particles of dirt within a cleaning solution.

Synthetic Detergents

Synthetic Detergents, or soapless detergents are cleaning products that use synthetic surfactants, instead of traditional soaps.

- T -


Tackiness is an adhesive or sticky condition to the surface, typically in reference to a floor.

Telescope Handle

A Telescope Handle is a type of cleaning pole with and extendable length. This extends through pulling the tubes out, as one is within the next.


Terrazzo refers to the polished flooring surface that consists of granite or marble chips, that are then mixed with specific cement matrix.


Thermoplastic is a type of polymer that when exposed to high levels of heat, softens. It will return to the original condition of once cooled.


A Thinner is a type of liquid that is used to decrease the overall thickness of a film. This will disappear be during the curing of the film.

Top Coating

Top Coating refers to the maintenance procedure that is employed when applying additional coats to a floor’s finish.

Top Scrubbing

Top Scrubbing is an undertaking that is usually employed to apply further coats of floor finish without having to strip previous coats off.


Toxicity is relating to an effect that can be harmful to the human body through inhalation, ingestion, and physical contact.

Traffic Lane

A Traffic Lane is a high traffic location; it is typically an area that wears down before other areas on the surface.

Traffic Lane Cleaner

A Traffic Lane Cleaner is a heavy duty cleaner that is designed specifically to disperse and pre-treat heavy soil within traffic lanes.

- U -


The USDA is the United States Department of Agriculture that is in charge of issuing lists of different compounds that are approved for use within areas that are federally inspected.

Ultra-High Speed

Ultra-High Speed refers to floor machines that turn over 2,000 RPM or higher.


Urethane is a crystalline, hard, plastic material which is the main additive for wood sealers and concrete.


Use-Dilution is a term for the final stage in which a formula is used.

- V -


Vapor is a diffused type of substance that is suspended within the air.

Vapor Degreasing

Vapor Degreasing is the process where a chlorinated solvent is heated within a tank. From there, the heated solvents then forms into vapor which then condenses into the cooler metal parts.


Varnish is a hard, transparent, protective film or finish that is typically used for wood finishing, as well as other materials.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl Flooring, a specific type of flooring material that is composed of a combination of pigments, plasticizers, and polyvinyl chloride. Relatively flexible, Vinyl flooring is considered fairly non-porous, and fine textured.


A Virucide is a specific type of a chemical agent which is used to eliminate viruses.


Viscosity refers to the overall liquid thickness, this helps to determines the liquid’s overall pour ability.


A VOC, or a Volatile Organic Compound, refers to any compound or substance that has a vapor pressure that is greater than 1/10th millimeter of mercury.

- W -


Ware-washing refers to the washing utensils, dishes, pans, pots, and glassware in the institutional market.

Water-Based Buffable Floor Finish

A Water-Based Buffable Floor Finish is an emulsion coating that's formula employs water as a central part of its ingredients.

Water-Based Self Polishing

Water-Based Self Polishing is a polish that dries to a high shine without the need of mechanical action.

Water-Based Urethane

A Water-Based Urethane is a type of colloidal dispersion of isocyanate that contains very tough and flexible film polymers that are abrasion resistance.

Water Dispersible Granules

Small pellets that break apart when put in water.

Water Hardness

Water Hardness is the measurement of the overall quantity of metallic salts within water.

Water Resistance

The ability of a floor finish to be unaffected by water spilled on it.


Wax is a type of low melting compound that consists of a high molecular weight, and has a composition like most fats and oils. There are 2 types of wax: Natural (consisting of vegetable and animal) and Synthetic ( i.e. polymers of ethylene). Wax functions as a floor polish film, and helps prevents black marks, scuffs, and improves slip resistance.

Wax Emulsion

Wax Emulsion is a stable mixture of waxy materials that help in the suspension of water by using surfactants, emulsifiers, or soaps.

Wax Stripper

A special detergent composition that removes wax and similar floor finishes from a floor.


Wear is the crack and distortion of the surface or surface coating from high traffic or abrasion.

Weight per Gallon

Weight per Gallon refers to the overall weight of a liquid per gallon.

Wet Abrasion

A standard test to determine the effect of water on a floor finish with some abrasive action.

Wet Soils

Usually the toughest since carpet is composed of absorbent fibers. The key to wet soil removal is quick action and be sure to blot, not wipe.


Wetting is the ability of a floor cleaner, polish, or finish to spread over substrate when performing the application process.

Wetting Agent

The term Wetting Agent refers to a chemical that reduces the overall surface tension within water, thus allowing the liquid to spread out easier.


Surface irregularity that may vary from dull to pronounced. See surfactant.

- X -

- Y -


Is a specific fungal organism.


Yellowing is a type of condition that describes a floor's film discoloration as a result of aging or other wear.

- Z -
Sign up for a $5.00 Instant Coupon