Homemaking & Real Estate

What is TSP Cleaner? Things You Should Know Before Cleaning

We’ll answer the question, what is TSP cleaner in this post. TSP or also known as trisodium phosphate is an inorganic chemical found in many places. And just like any chemical cleaning agent, there are risks associated with using TSP and many health precautions should be done beforehand. That said, TSP is known for its powerful and high-speed cleaning agent, and it is suitable for cleaning your home.

TSP has its own set of pros and cons, and before you use it should weigh them appropriately. Determine whether TSP is the right cleaning agent for you and your needs. You should do your homework seriously, so you can come to the right decision. Therefore, in this article, we are going to learn about the core details of TSP and its background story to its advantages and uses. Hopefully, after reading the article, you can decide whether you should use TSP or not.

What is TSP Cleaner?

Trisodium phosphate is made by neutralizing phosphoric acid by using sodium hydroxide. Usually, sodium carbonate is also used in the mix, but carbonate only produces disodium phosphate. The end result is a solid white substance with a granular or crystalline texture. For the average user, they will most likely use TSP in powder form.

TSP is also water-soluble, and it produces an alkaline solution. This cleaning agent is widely used for cleaning, food additives, removing stains, and building. You may have already heard about TSP before but in a different name. TSP is sometimes also called TSP bleach because of its common function as a cleaning agent.

Unfortunately, TSP isn’t as popular today as it was before. Back then TSP was widely used by almost everyone due to how effective it is. But today, since TSP is considered risky, many people are turning away from it.

The background story of TSP

As mentioned above, TSP used to be very popular. TSP, as a cleaning agent, is very effective for demanding cleaning jobs. It was also common to find TSP as the main ingredient in many standard households cleaning products, including dishwasher detergents. But as more and more people become aware of the risks involved with using TSP, its popularity has fallen drastically.

The fall of TSP’s popularity happened in the 1970s, when many states in the US started to control the use of phosphates. They believed that phosphates caused many harmful effects on the environment. So when the chemicals ended up in lakes or rivers, they caused algae to thrive significantly and harm other wildlife as the result. Products that contain phosphate ended up getting banned in many places, and manufacturers were forced to stop creating products with any phosphates in them.

So that is why you don’t see many products that use phosphates nowadays. But, you may still find a small amount of TSP in a small number of cleaners. And I bet after learning about this, you are now wondering if you should TSP at all.

Uses of TSP Cleaner

To better understand the uses of TSP, I have a list of some common usage of this substance.

  • Removing mildew.
  • Cleaning walls
  • Cleaning roofs.
  • Removing grout.
  • Cleaning masonry.
  • Enhancing wall paint.
  • Food additive.

The alkaline properties of TSP are perfect for removing grease and oil from various surfaces. TSP is also potent for cleaning walls, bleach clothes, dirt, fingerprints, and many more. It can also be mixed with regular household bleach without creating an adverse reaction.

Pros and cons of using TSP

Despite being an awesome cleaning agent, TSP does have its own cons that everyone should know. Here are the lists of pros and cons that we know today.


  • Extremely strong and effective cleaner.
  • More effective for bleaching white clothes than other bleaching agents.
  • TSP solution is easy to prepare.
  • Can clean surfaces and leave them clean and net.
  • Can get rid of stubborn stains, grease, dirt, etc.


  • It is harmful to humans as it can irritate the eyes and cause damage to the skin.
  • TSP is dangerous to plants.
  • TSP can cause many harmful effects to the environment, especially if it goes into lakes or rivers.
  • It might be difficult to get TSP in your area.

How to use TSP Cleaner – safety precautions

If you’re still planning to use TSP after reading the pros and cons above, make sure you do enough preparations beforehand. The first thing you need to do is to wear protective gloves and eye protection before you do anything else. Make sure you are near clean water and soap, just in case it comes in contact with your eyes or skin.

TSP can damage wooden objects, so make sure they are far away from where you need to use TSP. You can put masking tape on some objects to prevent damages. Do not breathe in TSP dust as it can damage your lungs.

Concluding Thoughts on TSP Cleaner

TSP is without a doubt a strong cleaning agent that you can use to get rid of stubborn filth. But, TSP can be dangerous to you and the environment. Therefore, you should think carefully about whether you really need TSP or not. And if you think you do, then some safety precautions are to be expected.