The exteriors of buildings don’t need to be cleaned quite as often as interiors, but they do still require some upkeep. Pressure washing is a commonly seen type of exterior cleaning, but you can also use soft washing methods. Here are five facts about soft wash methods.
While high-pressure washing is a better-known method, used on pavement, benches and grease stains, among other things, soft wash systems are no less versatile. Typically, soft washing is applied on vertical surfaces, surfaces that are too difficult to reach with a pressure washer and surfaces that are too delicate to use a pressure washer on. Examples include gutters, downspouts and vinyl shutters or siding.
2. Organic Matter
The most common use of soft washing systems is the removal of clinging organic matter, including mold and mildew, lichens, moss, spiderwebs and dirt. While high-pressure washing can be used to remove visible organic matter, soft washing is better suited to removing all traces of it, including microscopic particles such as bacteria and spores. This is because soft washing utilizes chemicals and detergents, which help kill dangerous organic matter.
The type of soft wash you utilize depends on the type of matter you’re trying to clean off. If you’re simply removing dirt or spider webs, a simple low-pressure wash with water and perhaps some detergent can be used. If you’re trying to remove mold, lichens, bacteria or other, more dangerous types of matter, you should use a system that incorporates diluted bleach. For particularly delicate surfaces, there are solutions available with agents to minimize damage chemicals like bleach can cause to surfaces.
Aside from the various solutions involved, you also need equipment to distribute and apply the solutions. This equipment typically includes low-pressure pumps, storage tanks for the solutions and meters or gauges to ensure appropriate amounts are applied to the dirty surface. This equipment is almost always electrically powered. Depending on your washing needs, you can also purchase attachable handles to help you wash more areas that are more difficult to reach, such as gutters and roof eaves.
5. Additional Strategies
Soft wash systems are by definition gentler than pressure wash systems, but you may still want to avoid using them too often, especially when you’re working with easily damaged surfaces. There are some strategies you can use to reduce the number of times you need to wash your building’s exterior. To keep algae and from accumulating on your roof, you can use shingles incorporating zinc or copper the next time you need to replace your roof.
You should also trim tree branches away from your roof to ensure good airflow and sun exposure, which can keep the roof dry and hot enough to keep moss and other organic matter from growing. You should also clear and clean gutters regularly to prevent water from accumulating and allowing bacteria and mold to grow.
You can use soft washing methods in a variety of ways. The best way to incorporate it into keeping a building clean is to use it in conjunction with high-pressure washing methods and preventive measures to reduce the amount of pressurized and soft washing needed.