Monday, March 4, 2013

What Happens to Lipstick on Glasses?

I'm working on a much larger post at the moment (it's feeling a bit like an essay in my head) but in the meantime....

Ever been to the local pub and been given a glass where a lipstick stain is still seen? Lipstick is a bit of a mission for bars. The dishwashers in bars generally aren't of the same kind that you would find in the home. While you might think it's a bit more industrial, they have a different aim from the dishwasher you might have at home. They aren't made to "clean" glasses - they're made to sanitize glasses.

Which means, Lipstick stays on the glasses...

So how do bars deal with lipstick? There are two main approaches that I've seen.

The first is to the right. This is generally placed in a container with detergent and water. Before placing a glass in the sanitizer (dishwasher like device), a glass is given a quick scrub. So the brushes hopefully dislodge any solids and the detergent should deal to any oils.

The second approach is to do a weekly clean by soaking glasses in diluted solution of bleach and then put through the sanitizer.

But what goes into a bleach? A lot of reports out there will tell you that there are 2 different types of bleach - food grade and laundry bleach. While the American's have branding on food grade bleach (a NSF logo - National Science Foundation), it seems that in humble little New Zealand, we don't really go for that sort of stuff.

But what are the risks? A lot of sites will say that there's a heightened risk of cancer - there are a lot that will tell you that it's chlorine that causes the problem which means the difference between a food grade rated bleach and a non-food grade rated one is negligible in this regard. We're all used to these sorts of warnings by now. Barbecues can also increase the likelihood of cancer. So I guess we need to find an objective study on how big this risk really is i.e. is it smoking big or barbecue big?.

The active ingredient in bleach is sodium hydroxide and usually makes up around 4% of household cleaners. The question is, what is the other 96%? The NZ civil defence site (Get Through) site advises that you should keep a bottle of bleach for water disinfection purposes but has a few other suggestions - avoid those with any additives (including scents, surfactants etc.).

General advise for roof water is also to use a household bleach. This page for example (from the Napier City Council) suggests 2/3 of a cup of household bleach per 1,000 litres of water.

I'm kind of the opinion that it doesn't really matter. Bleach is probably just as bad as the Chlorine in our water for our health. So long as people adhere to concentrations that make sense, and buy the cheapest possible bleach - those that advertise themselves as being a Bleach rather than having brand names on them - and avoid scented ones, then does it matter? Sure, some sort of stamp on ones that should be considered food grade would be nice, but... actually we're getting into long post territory here. I'll save this for another time....

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