State: Crystal Fine
The major use for trisodium phosphate is in cleaning agents. The pH of a 1% solution is 12, and the solution is sufficiently alkaline to saponify grease and oils. In combination with surfactants, TSP is an excellent agent for cleaning everything from laundry to concrete driveways. This versatility, coupled with lack of toxicity and low manufacturing price, made TSP the preferred basis for a plethora of cleaning products sold in the mid-20th century. TSP is still sold, and used, as a cleaning agent, but during the late 1960s in the United States, overuse led to a series of ecological problems.
By the end of the 20th century, many products that formerly contained TSP are now manufactured with TSP Substitutes, which consist mainly of sodium carbonate along with various admixtures of nonionic surfactants and a limited percentage of sodium phosphates.
TSP is commonly used after cleaning with mineral spirits in order to remove hydrocarbon residues. TSP may be used with household chlorine bleach in the same solution without hazardous reactions. This mixture is particularly good for removing mildew.
Although it is still the active ingredient in some toilet bowl cleaning tablets, TSP is generally not good for cleaning bathrooms, because it can corrode metal and can damage grout.
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