Posted on November 3, 2017
Making glass cleaner seems like a simple process at first; all you need is ammonia, a soapy cleaning agent, rubbing alcohol, and water. But when you’re making cleaning products on a commercial level, this process becomes much more complex. If you mix the wrong balance of these ingredients or use subpar, impure products, your glass cleaner might leave streaks on your customers’ windows. Moreover, inconsistent products that vary too much in color between batches could scare away prospective customers who worry about the safety and quality of the cleaner. Spectrophotometric color measurement is the key to ensuring quality in your ingredients and earning your customers’ trust. By testing your products for accurate, consistent coloration, you can bolster and protect your company’s reputation, leading to better sales and more satisfied customers.
Why Blue is the Unofficial Industry Standard
When you walk through the cleaning section of any grocery store, the glass cleaners are pretty easy to spot: most of them are light blue. However, the main ingredients in glass cleaners (isopropanolamine and ammonia) are completely clear.1 This means that the blue color doesn’t originate from the primary active ingredients themselves, but from light blue dyes added for aesthetic purposes.
The reason most glass cleaners on the market are blue is that, during the 1960s, Windex’s original recipe used a translucent blue dye to help it stand out from the pack. In response to this product’s popularity, many customers began associating the color of light blue spray with glass cleaners.2 Today, many glass cleaner manufacturers still use light blue dye to attract their customers and more easily gain their trust.
Deciding on Your Ideal Product Color
Depending on your ideal customer, you might choose to maintain this unofficial industry standard, or break the mold with different colors (or no color whatsoever). Before you make your decision, consider that light blue dye has more potential uses in glass cleaner than just aesthetics and good marketing—it can also be safer to use in some households. Cleaning products that are clear in color are more likely to be mistaken for water or other types of products, and unless these bottles are clearly marked, it’s easier for customers to mix them up with other cleaning agents.3 By following industry norms and making your products blue in color, you could target customers who are more comfortable using familiar-looking products or those who have young children. You also make it easier for your customers to see how much product they’ve applied to the glass since bright colors show up more clearly against a transparent background.
However, you can also use color measurement tools to create an entirely new color for your product or perfect your ingredients in their purest form. Although many customers still prefer the traditional blue color, a growing number of consumers are turning away from products with artificial dyes toward more natural products free from impurities and synthetic ingredients. In these cases, clarity and colorlessness become prized. If you’re targeting this audience, haze measurement combined with transmission color measurement will become particularly critical in order to ensure optimal aesthetic appeal. This process will be similar to how bottled water manufacturers test samples for purity.
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