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Softwashing

What is Softwashing?

Softwashing refers to the use of chemicals to clean biological growth from exterior surfaces. This is not a new method and we have been using these methods since before the expression Softwashing became a popular term.

Traditionally mainly high pressure washers or power washing was used to clean exterior surfaces, however this method is not suitable for every surface as it can have an erosive effect. The advantage with Softwashing is that the chemicals do the work rather than high pressure so it can be a much kinder way to clean some surfaces. Some advantages of Softwashing are:

1. It can be less erosive compared to pressure washing
2. Effective destruction of biological growth
3. Surfaces can stay cleaner for longer
4. Often less water is needed
5. Very cost effective way of cleaning large areas

The expression Softwashing was coined in the states and generally the chemicals used in the states are bleach based used in high concentrations. This is not necessarily always an appropriate way of cleaning property in the uk as there are big differences in the kind of biological growth and also the kind of property and building materials being cleaned.

Is Softwashing Better than Power Washing?

There are various claims on the internet that Softwashing has made pressure washing redundant. We use both pressure washing and Softwashing on many jobs to get the best results with the greatest longevity. In fact Softwashing and pressure washing generally work hand in hand. A chemical clean can kill biological growth, this will release its bond to the surface, allowing a much more gentle pressure wash to be effective. Softwashing has become a trend and the process of cleaning using chemicals has been over simplified. In reality Softwashing is just one method in a whole suite of different cleaning methods that is required to effectively clean and care for different exterior surfaces.

Can my roof be soft washed?

Yes, Softwashing a roof can be a great way to clean and care for your roof. However in the Uk generally a moss removal process is also required. Either removing with a pressure washer if the roof surface is a robust one, or manually with scraping tools.

After the Moss is removed the roof can be treated with a softwashing biocide to keep it moss free.

Should I softwash my Render?

Softwashing is a great way to clean render as high pressure jet washing is too harsh for this surface. Particularly on coloured render such as K-rend, Weber and Parex scratch finished render. However we find that more is required, often this kind of render needs a low pressure steam rinse, to fully clean the pores of the surface. Render may also have Staining and discolouration from inorganic contaminants like traffic film, rust or tannin from timber and Softwashing is ineffective at dealing with these.

Can Softwashing be used on paving?

Softwashing is a great way to take care of paving, it can really help clean away the stubborn Lichen that tends to thrive on flat stone surfaces. Also a softwashing pre treatment means that far less pressure can be used. This is very useful, especially on cast concrete paving slabs with a faux stone finish. These have a very delicate surface that can be stripped away with a pressure washer exposing the aggregate which ruins the look of the paving.

Is Softwashing safe for my plants and pets?

Softwashing refers to using chemicals that kill biological growth as part of the cleaning process. These chemicals certainly can harm plants and also pets. Therefore it is vital that the correct safety precautions are used and the company you choose to do the work fully understand the effects of the chemicals being used and how to mitigate any risks. With a robust risk assessment, some simple Precautions and a good understanding of the products being used, there is no reason for any harm to come to your plants or pets. We pride ourselves in having the knowledge and training to ensure all the work we do is completely safe.