Detergents: Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

A how-to guide on measuring your concentrated cleaning solution

Using a concentrated detergent is a popular choice. Concentrates offer buy-in-bulk savings when compared to ready-to-use mixes, and offer the flexibility to use more or less detergent for different cleaning applications. If you have an especially active wash bay, cleaning operation or other ongoing needs, using these concentrated solutions from Hotsy Carlson is a no brainer.

What isn’t as clear, though, is how to best use your concentrates so that you aren’t overpaying and wasting your resources. Many times mixing concentrates is “eyeballed” or measured with a “glug-glug” method. This can drive up costs, eat up supplies and end up resulting in excess foaming or insufficient cleaning power.

Rather than pour money down the drain – literally – let’s cover some of the best practices and solutions for metering out your concentrates.

On the Go 

If you take your pressure washer on the road frequently, you may keep your concentrate at the shop and premix before you go. To ensure you always have an accurate clean, it helps to standardize.

One simple solution is to use portable containers with clear indications for your mix volumes. For example, using a translucent container, you could measure out the mix ratio for your concentrated solution – one line near the bottom marking where the container should be filled with detergent, and another higher up or near the top marking the water fill line. Reusing this container provides consistency in fill and in cleaning power, and helps ensure you’re not overusing your concentrate.

Another option is to keep a standardized measuring tool in your shop along with a standard chart. Knowing offhand how to quickly measure a 9:1 ratio versus a 30:1 ratio isn’t always easy, but printing off a simple chart is. Identify the mix ratios that you need, based on your concentrate and your applications, and mark it clearly near your solutions. You can also note your common container sizes and how those ratios translate.

For example, in a 9:1 ratio, it’s 9 ounces of water to one ounce of solution, but 115.2 ounces of water to 12.8 ounces of solution for a gallon container. Having a measuring tool and ready-to-read mix ratios will remove the concentration on math for your concentrates.

You can also think about training a dedicated “mixing team” – designated employees who have been educated on the proper mix ratios and dilutions. These team members can be your go-to employees for preparing all cleaning solutions, and be the only ones given access to wherever you secure your detergent. This restricts access and reduces the likelihood of someone misusing concentrates, while also ensuring your detergent mixes are consistent from job to job.

Wash Bay or Trailer-Mounted Systems

Fortunately, things can get even simpler if you have a wash bay facility or use a mobile wash vehicle with mounted equipment. Hotsy Carlson offers a range of different equipment options for automatic dilution that can connect with your pressure washing system to regulate the flow of detergent and ensure an accurate and easy blending of your cleaning solutions with water.

With an automated system, you remove the human element – and the human error. A dilution system connects directly to your washing equipment and meters out the concentrate in proportion with water. This ensures you get the right mix and don’t over or under use your concentrates, delivering a powerful and consistent clean every time.

In a wash bay or trailer mounted system, using a proportioner – which connects directly to the detergent drum with a metering valve – ensures the accurate balance of water to detergent. This ensures the right concentration and the right clean, without requiring premeasuring or monitoring. This also reduces using too much mix – wasting product and requiring more time to rinse, while possibly causing streaking – or too little solution, resulting in an incomplete clean.

Don’t Pour Money Down the Drain 

One of the major advantages of using concentrates is a lower cost per unit, but if you’re improperly mixing, your savings are headed out with the waste water. Proper measuring is key to ensure you use just the right amount of your detergent. Hotsy Carlson can help. Our on-site assessment team can help identify opportunity areas or offer solutions to make your wash operations as efficient as possible. We offer all the equipment you need – plus detergent, too. Learn more or schedule a consultation today by calling our offices or contact us online.