Cleaner Performance Testing & Claims Proof: ASTM D5343 and HCPA DCC-16

 In Cleaning Products, news

By: Joe McCarthy, Lab Service Manager/Senior Regulatory Affairs Specialist, email

Bathroom cleaners are a unique product category in that they have two widely recognized and accepted industry standards to choose from for performance testing and claims substantiation. Whether it is for product development, claims substantiation, or submission to a third-party certification body such as EPA Safer Choice, Green Seal® or UL Environment/Ecologo®, performance testing data is a key component of your product’s ongoing success. The two industry-standard methods for bathroom cleaner testing are ASTM D5343, and HCPA DCC-16.

ASTM D5343 Standard Guide for Evaluating Cleaning Performance of Ceramic Tile Cleaners

HCPA DCC-16 Lime Soap Removal

What are the differences between the two methods and which should you use to evaluate your product?

Scope of Use

Both ASTM D5343 and HCPA DCC-16 are intended to assess the performance of products used on ceramic tiles or other bathroom surfaces to remove typical bathroom soils commonly referred to as “soap scum”.

Product Forms

Both methods can be used to assess the performance of powders, concentrates, ready-to-use liquids, foams, sprays, aerosols, pastes, and wipes.

Test Methodology

Both methods have a similar format. Each method details a procedure to prepare soils, apply to the soil to the ceramic tiles, and to age the soils. However, the composition of the soils and means of application differ significantly between both tests.

Soil Composition

The ASTM D5343 Soil is comprised of seventeen different ingredients, blended into three pre-mixes. Soil preparation takes three days to complete, and requires ball milling and filtration at certain steps, blending at 75 °C. The final soil, commonly referred to as soap scum, may be stored for one year at 35 °F (2 °C).

The HCPA DCC-16 soil is comprised of fourteen ingredients to make a parent soil that is dried at 45 °C. When dry, the soil may be stored at room temperature for up to six months. The final soil is commonly referred to as lime soap soil.

Soil Components

Potting soilPalmitic acid
Palmitic acidStearic acid
Stearic acidCoconut oil
Coconut oilParaffin wax
Paraffin waxSpermacetti wax
Spermacetti waxOlive oil
Olive oilSqualene
CholesterolOleic acid
Oleic acidLinoleic acid
Linoleic acidBar soap
Sodium StearateShampoo
Ferric chlorideClay
Calcium Stearate20 000 ppm synthetic hard water
Magnesium Stearate
Carbon lampblack
100 ppm synthetic hard water

Soil Application

In ASTM D5343 the soil is melted to 75 °c and painted onto 4” x 4” ceramic tiles using a mini trimmer paint applicator. It does require some practice to achieve even and consistent soiling on each tile. The solid load is relatively higher than that achieved in HCPA DCC-16.

In HCPA DCC-16 the soil is suspended in a solvent, homogenized in a high shear mixture (a critical step), and sprayed onto the tiles to an air-dried target weight of 0.10 – 0.12 grams per tile. The tiles are then baked at 200 °C for 20-30 minutes.

ASTM D5343 Soiled Tile                                 HCPA DCC-16 Soiled tile



Cleaning Procedure

ASTM D5343 includes specific procedures for whether a product is applied to a sponge or directly to the surface of the tile, and how much product to apply depending on whether the product is a liquid, liquid abrasive, powder, or spray-on product.

HCPA DCC-16 simply states the product be applied directly to the surface with a dwell time of 30 seconds.

Both methods indicate that the soiled tiles be scrubbed with a washability/scrubbing apparatus to ensure even force and mechanical action.

Assessing Performance

Both methods use a colorimeter or gloss meter to perform instrumental analysis of soil removal. Measurements of the tile before soiling, after soiling, and after cleaning are used to calculate a 0 -100 % soil removal.

As a rule of thumb, alkaline cleaners perform better on ASTM D5343 and Acidic cleaners perform better on HCPA DCC-16.

Performance Testing & Claims Substantiation

Both ASTM D5343 and HCPA DCC-16 are cited and accepted by EPA Safer Choice, Green Seal® or UL Environment/Ecologo for the product performance component of the certification standards.

Under consumer protection laws, companies are required to have data to support even simple category claims such as “cleans soap scum”.

Increasingly, major retailers are requiring performance data for both private label and national brands as a prerequisite for shelf space.

How can we help you?

Dell Tech has solutions for performance testing and claims substantiation of your products including bathroom cleaners. Get in touch with us to discuss your product testing needs and any questions you may have.

Dell Tech
Joe McCarthy, Senior Regulatory Affairs Specialist

Dell Tech has provided professional, confidential consulting services to the chemical specialty

industry in Canada, the USA, Europe, and Asia for the last 40 years.

Contact us today for more information.

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