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What is Traffic Film Remover?
TFR, Traffic Film Remover, Truck Wash, Motor Wash and Helicopter Wash. It comes in many different names, well maybe not the last one... but still, what actually is TFR and why is there different types? Probably the best way to start is to ask what Traffic Film Remover actually is?
TFR is usually a blend of silicates, phosphates, chelating agents and surfactants designed to remove deep ingrained dirt and grime from hard surfaces. It is mainly used in the automotive industry for removing road film deposits, hence the name. But what exactly is road film? Road film is made up of all the environmental pollutants and contaminants that you would find floating in the air on busy roads and motorways. These can include un-burnt fuel, iron, oil, soot, brake dust, tar, bitumen and cement dust. These particles are attracted to the surface of vehicle and can get buried deep into the surface. Because these contaminants are made up of heavy materials and metals they are unlikely to be removed by traditional shampoos and soaps. Traffic film remover is a heavy duty product which penetrates deep down into the surface and lifts the contaminants off.
Traffic film remover can come is a range of different strengths and types, but usually fall into 2 types, caustic and non-caustic. Picking the right TFR is crucial if you want to get the job done quickly and effectively without damaging the surface you are trying to clean.
Caustic traffic film removers contain varying degrees of caustic soda, (sodium hydroxide), which make the solution alkaline. It is this alkalinity which gives it its powerful cleaning properties. The more caustic soda there is in the TFR, the stronger, (usually), the product is. The benefits of using caustic TFR is that it works incredibly quickly and requires the least amount of work to get a deep clean. The downside is that it can be too aggressive for certain types of paintwork and other materials. If a TFR has a strong concentration of caustic soda it will dull paintwork so you must choose the correct strength. Another problem is that caustic TFR is not suitable to use on Aluminium or Galvanised surfaces as it will tarnish and stain them. If you do happen to get a caustic TFR onto any incompatible surface you must rinse the surface before the product dries.
Caustic TFR's are usually used for more industrial purposes where a deep clean and strong degreasing action is needed. Popular uses are:
- Cleaning buses, trucks, lorries, trains and plant machinery.
- Degreasing engines and parts.
Non-Caustic traffic film removers are used where caustic versions are either too strong or are not compatible with the surface needing cleaning. Non-Caustic traffic film removers usually use sodium metasilicate in place of sodium hydroxide as the main cleaning agent. Sodium metasilicate is less aggressive that sodium hydroxide, and in the correct concentrations it is safe to use on paintwork, aluminium, glass and galvanised surfaces as long as it is rinsed off. Non-Caustic traffic film removers have been popular in recent years because of their wide range of uses. They are also more suited to cleaning cars as they will not dull paintwork and tarnish aluminium surfaces.
Popular uses include:
- Cleaning cars, boats, buses, trucks, lorries, trains and plant machinery
- Washing conservatories, UPVC and cladding.
- Most surfaces which require deep cleaning and degreasing.
If you are unsure which type of TFR to use we would recommend using a non-caustic version. Modern non-caustic traffic film removers offer extremely powerful cleaning without the problems of using a caustic product.
Hopefully you have found the information in this guide helpful. If you need any more information or help in choosing the correct product for your job please contact us.