Why Are There Dyes In My Cleaners?

Household, industrial, and institutional (HI&I) chemicals are products which nearly everyone comes in contact with on a weekly basis. HI&I chemicals are formulated to keep our homes, offices, and indoor spaces clean, functional, and healthy.

There are many classes of HI&I products – dish and laundry detergents, carpet and floor cleaning chemicals, surface and glass cleaners, and washroom chemicals. Each class of product has a specific purpose with a chemical formula to ensure its success.

Why Are There Dyes in My Cleaners?

Color is an important additive for HI&I chemicals, as it imparts two important characteristics: Identification and Brand Identity.

The industry has gravitated towards the following norms of product colors by purpose:cleaning-objects_m1rk8vfd

Blue – Glass and surface cleaners. General purpose cleaning.

Yellow (or pink) – Low-risk cleaners. Bathroom sinks.

Red (or purple) – High-risk cleaners; risk of cross-contamination. Bathroom, floor, and urinal cleaners.

Green – Food preparation areas.

In using these colors, the cleaning staff can identify the correct product to use. This color code reduces the transmission of contaminants from a dirty location to a clean one. Training will be easier for any demographic of cleaning staff, since everything is identifiable by color versus language. Safe use of cleaning products, and avoiding any costly mistakes, can often be attributed to colored liquid products versus clear as well.

Branding Cleaning Products by Color

Color also identifies your brand to the consumer. This can be as complex as applying for a trademark on a color for a specific product (like pink insulation is trademarked) or it can be as simple as branding your all-purpose cleaner green and coloring it green. Color affects humans on an emotional level, and these emotions influence buying decisions.

Brand identity is something you must protect. When working with dyes, it’s not always as simple as picking a color and adding it to your product. Some dyes color certain chemicals better than others, so care should be made when choosing a color related to your brand. It will do no good to color your product blue, only to have it go clear after a few months on the shelf. When choosing a color, FSW works with you to ensure the color will remain stable and not change over time.

Recent Color Trends in the Cleaning Industry

Many brands are now looking to color changing products to assist with the cleaning process. These are applied in one color, and change to another color when it is time to remove them from a surface. These have the benefit of ensuring that the product’s dwell time is achieved with the average consumer. Color-changing products are particularly suited to scale, lime, or soap-scum cleaners for bathroom tubs and showers. Working with a FSW Color Technician can help you find the color changing solution that works best in your product’s formula.

Colored HI&I products allow companies to identify and expand their brand image. Colored cleaner, soap, and detergent products allow users to know which product to use for which job. The next time you grab your blue window cleaner, you can rest assured you’re using the right product from the company you trust.

By |November 22nd, 2016|Blog|2 Comments

About the Author:

Doug Thompson is Product and Technical Sales Manager at First Source Worldwide. With over 25 years working with color, he proudly boasts the stereotype of Color Geek. He specializes in color use for plastics, coatings, HI&I, as well as singing 80s pop songs.


  1. […] Thompson, D. (2016, November 22). Why Are There Dyes In My Cleaners? | First Source Worldwide, LLC. First Source Worldwide. https://www.fsw.cc/why-dyes-in-cleaners/ […]

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