What is Soft Washing?
Soft washing is a cleaning method that uses a low pressure washing technique, along with a mixture of algaecides, bleach, surfactants and water, to safely clean exterior surfaces of organic stains, mildew and algae.
What is the difference between Soft Washing and Power Washing/Pressure Washing?
Although soft washing, power washing and pressure washing seem similar they all use different techniques, equipment, pressure and chemicals.
Power washing and pressure washing use a much more powerful water pressure than soft washing and power washing is typically done with much hotter water than pressure washing. The Soft Washing method is combined with a biodegradable disinfecting cleaning solution to kill the mold, mildew, bacteria, algae, fungus, moss and more.
When should you use Soft Washing method?
Soft Washing should be used on surfaces that are notoriously hard to get clean with pressure or would be damaged if one were to use high pressure on them such as windows, roof shingles, screens, wood paneling, etc. Soft washing was originally designed for the purpose of cleaning algae off of roof shingles.
Why should you Soft Wash your roof?
Gloeocapsa Magma (algae) is common on roofs and often leaves signature black streaks all over your shingles. This substance thrives in humidity and hot temperatures and spreads out, having a destructive effect on your roof. It feeds off the moisture that certain types of shingles hold on to.
While the roof is effected, it begins to lose its ability to reflect UV rays and eventually rots the shingles. This has been said to effect roofs severely and can take up to 10 years off the life of a roof. Soft washing is the only way to effectively remove this algae without damaging the shingles and voiding any warranty.
The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association recommends low-pressure bleach or detergent assisted washing as the preferred method for cleaning asphalt roofs in order to prevent damage to the shingles.
Pressure washing a roof, even at low pressure, can and will void your warranty and cause granular loss. This means that the integrity of the roof tiles will be compromised due to damage from the intense pressure of the water.
In addition, power-washing only scrubs the surface of the roof without removing the root systems that have grown in, around, and under the tiles.
The Soft Wash technique eliminates all plant, fungal, and bacterial life and any dirt and grime from the roof safely, returning it to its original color with no risk of damage to the roofing materials
How do you Soft Wash?
First you prepare your surrounding area and protect any plants or grass you have around the surface area you are cleaning. Then, you prepare the solution (more on that below).
Once the solution is prepared, load it into an agricultural sprayer to apply to the surface you are cleaning. Soft washing runs water through a pump and hose with very little pressurization.
The pump can also direct the cleaning solution mixture through the hose. Then the hose is directed at the surface being cleaned and the water mixture is sprayed out.
The soft wash system normally consists of higher concentration of cleaning solutions and a higher volume of water versus pressure. Application is gentle, with less pressure than what comes out of your garden hose.
Once you are done, depending on the surface-like a roof, the solution is left on the surface in order to kill everything down to the roots versus if you have applied it to siding, then it is typically rinsed off. Roof concentrations are typically higher than siding.
What equipment is used to Soft Wash?
In order to Soft Wash, you will need a soft wash system as pictured below which can be obtained from several different retailers such as SIMPSON and JN Equipment. You will also need to use the right nozzles depending on what pressure you are using.
What chemicals are used to Soft Wash?
You will need to mix a solution to apply to your surface area which consists of the following:
• Bleach – This kills any mold and mildew spores, algae, moss, and any other plants or fungi growing on your roof. It also gets into and kills off any root systems in order to prevent further damage to the tiles and to keep anything from growing back.
• Water – This is included to dilute the bleach.
• Cleaning Surfactant – This aides in the cleaning process by loosening, trapping, and carrying-away dirt and other substances.
Due to the chemical nature of surfactants, they get between the surface (your roof) and the substances clinging to them (dirt, plants, fungi, etc.) and push them apart, sticking to the unwanted matter clinging there and lifting them away in a process called roll-up.
It is equivalent to dish soap cleaning residue stuck to a plate after a meal: it improves the water’s ability to wash away unwanted muck. In addition, the surfactant will help prevent excessive run-off so the solution will stay on your roof longer for greater effectiveness.
When you are looking for the best chemical mixture you are really seeking the best concentration of bleach to use on a particular job. Additives and water will certainly help, but bleach is the primary agent.
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