TSP (Trisodium Phosphate)
This white crystalline inorganic compound is highly soluble in water and produces an alkaline solution. Trisodium phosphates are typically found in various commercial and industrial cleaning agents, lubricant, food additives, laundry and carpeting stain removers, and automotive, commercial and industrial degreasers. The primary method of synthesis of trisodium phosphates is via the neutralization of phosphoric acid with sodium hydroxides, most commonly sodium carbonate. Carbonate alone only produces disodium phosphate. Its utility as a cleaning agent derives from its ability to to saponify grease and oils, particularly when combined with surfactants. It was the basis for innumerable cleaning products throughout the 20th century, but its popularity waned in the 1960s once it was discovered that it was a prime cause of the eutrophication of lakes and rivers once it became part of local water tables. Today, TSP is typically used for cleaning surfaces that have been exposed to mineral spirits as a solvent in order to remove the hydrocarbon residue, and can be safely combined with chlorine bleach without generating a hazardous reaction.