When we think of industrial workers, we picture the hardworking men and women operating heavy machinery, maintaining oil rig equipment and boilers and prepping and painting large commercial buildings. We easily think of the hazards of their jobs and the importance of their safety. We rarely consider their skin health and the impact of their work on their hands. These hard working people rely on heavy duty hand cleaners to strip away the oil, paint, grease, and grime of the day before they return home. But, most heavy duty hand cleaners strip away more than the day's debris. They also strip away skin's natural oils and leave hands in a poor and painful condition.
The first industrial liquid hand soap became available to the industrial market in the 1890s. In the early 1900s, industrial powdered hand soap was introduced. Both products were widely used by those in manufacturing, mining, and mechanics. The products were effective for cleaning, but were also highly abrasive and damaging to the skin. To compound the issue, community cleaning buckets meant that germs were more easily spread through hand washing from sharing the cleaner and rinsing water. This was an imperfect solution to dirty hands, at best.
Workers eventually began to rely on a variety of harsh, home-brewed concoctions such as a mixture of kerosene, sand, and petrol to remove oil and grime at the end of a hard day’s work. The solution removed the grime but they also removed natural oils and left workers' hands with dry, cracked skin and a high chance of skin infection.
Thankfully, the formula of cleaning compounds has improved over time from the parafin kerosene used in the mid-1940s to the liquid plus abrasive solutions preferred today. However,in an effort to provide heavy duty cleaning power, the harsh ingredients have essentially remained the same.
Given the positive changes in contemporary manufacturing and industrial environments, it is time for heavy duty hand cleaners to follow. Heavy duty hand cleaning products that combine the cleaning power of a gentler non-damaging grit are now offering a safer choice. Products that are safer for the environment and clean with all natural ingredients are solving the problem of cracked and drying hands for worker in every industry.