The Use of Bleach in Pressure Washing
One of the most asked questions as a pressure washing contractor is about the use of bleach when pressure washing a house. No sane homeowner wants to do something harmful to their home or the environment on purpose. This question is very understandable with so much information, misinformation and disinformation presented as marketing by various chemical manufacturers. When a product claims to not only do a job, but also do a job without causing harm that another product does, it will raise questions such as this for me to answer for homeowners needing some understanding.
As a rule, manufacturers of materials that comprise the building of your home's exterior have specific recommendations for cleaning. That includes everything from different types of vinyl, brick, stucco, dryvit, aluminum and painted siding made of wood or cement and various roofing and decking materials as well. The general rule is to clean those materials however the manufacturer recommends. In doing so, there will be no harm done. Of all the materials used for building a home, cleaning with the use of high pressure is the least recommended, and that is only with certain types of stain removal on very limited materials. Bleach is most often recommended for removal of mildew stains along with the use of low pressure rinsing.
A quick lesson on bleach. The active ingredient in bleach is sodium hypochlorite. That ingredient is used from anything such as cleaning clothes and swimming pools to dental and hospital cleaning for fast and ensured disinfecting purposes. It is even used for treating the water we drink and yes, safe and effective low-pressure cleaning as well.
Is bleach environmentally safe? In the control of a technician trained in the use and handling of sodium hypochlorite, it most definitely is environmentally safe. Yet, just like most anything else, there can be too much of a good thing. There is little question to the dental assistant or water treatment operator as to the competence of their abilities, as well there should be little to no concern of the care and attention your pressure washing contractor should exercise while using it to make your home's exterior sparkling clean.
What about the exterior cleaning alternatives to bleach? Please bear in mind the nature of business for chemical providers is to ultimately make a profit. Marketing in it's very being can often times be misleading and confusing. Many chemical manufacturers have taken the eco-friendly thought and used it for promotion of their cleaners while defaming bleach for cleaning mildew stains. In the name of environmental friendliness, they promise results that sometimes won't be visible for months, hoping you will accept the delay in visible difference, if they even come at all. For me, even as an experienced and respected exterior cleaning specialist, it all boils down to using what is guaranteed to work within the manufacturers recommendations. As much as I love what I do, with as many satisfied and loyal customers as I have acquired over time, I still have role models in this industry that have led the way before I arrived. In my willingness to learn from leaders across the country in this industry as well as my own research otherwise as to the countless uses of sodium hypochlorite, I have a sound confidence there is simply no better alternative than the proper use of bleach while pressure washing a home's exterior to remove mildew stains.