Do you wash your trailer regularly? When you wash your trailer or have it washed how much attention do you give the wash solutions that are used? Earlier this year we released a video that detailed the importance of knowing what kinds of chemicals are in your wash solutions and how it affects not only the life of the trailer but also the resale value. Anything within the 5 to 9 range on the pH scale will clean and brighten your trailer without doing damage.

Common wash solutions used on trailers for washes contain chemicals that can do costly damage to your trailers. Understanding the pH levels that are in your washes and at which levels on the scales can be harmful can be useful to help you make better decisions when it comes to maintaining the quality and resale value of your trailers.

Chemistry or the Science of What’s Going On

Water can split and when it does, though it doesn’t always happen, it can produce hydrogen and hydroxide ions. H(+), hydrogen, can form acids when combined with negatively charged elements. Hydrogen elements are released when acids split apart in water.

Hydroxide ions are released when molecules called bases are split apart in water, with the most common example being sodium hydroxide. More water can be formed when hydrogen and hydroxide ions are combined. Acids and bases reacting in water is what is ranged on the pH scale.

The pH Scale

The pH scale, a concentration of how much of the hydrogen ion is in a solution, is a range that measures acids and bases on a scale from 1 to 14 with 7 being neutral. Water has a pH of 7 because it breaks equally between hydrogen and hydroxide ions.
A solution that contains more hydrogen ions than hydroxide ions is considered to be an acid and registers on the scale with a level less than 7. Vice versa for bases, or alkaline solutions, when solutions have more hydroxide ions than hydrogen ions it registers on the pH scale with levels higher than 7.

Here are some examples; lemon juice, which is very acidic, registers as a 2. Tomatoes are a 4. Coffee is a 5. Water is a 7. Human blood is an 8. Ammonia is an 11. Oven cleaner is 13.

Each level increased on the scale is an increase of 10. Coffee is one level increase over tomatoes on the scale, but in actuality it is 10 times the acidic level over a tomato’s acidic level.

Trailer Wash Solutions

What is an appropriate solution for trailer washes? When you use a wash solution outside a 5 to 9 range it will do damage to the trailer. Anything within the 5 to 9 range on the pH scale will clean and brighten your trailer without doing damage.

Check out our Smart Spec’in page to learn more about pH solutions and watch how a hotter wash can leave marks in a trailer.