How To Safely Wash Your House

Avoid damage to the exterior of your greatest asset – your home – by safely washing the exterior of your house, as outlined in this guide.

Different House Washing Methods

There are several popular methods of house washing, each of them with their own unique pros and cons. Here are a few of the different methods one might use:

  1. High-pressure power washing. This is the traditional method of house washing, and it involves using a power washer to remove dirt and debris with high-impact water.
  2. Downstream soap injector power washing. “Downstreaming” refers to the process of injecting soap or detergent directly into the power washer output.
  3. Soft brushing. This method is the least efficient as it takes the longest amount of time, but it is the safest for inexperienced cleaners. This method involves using a brush to scrub the siding with a detergent.
  4. Soft washing. The most efficient method of house washing, involves a soft wash system to lightly and safely apply cleaning solution on siding.

Remember To Be Safe

There are a few key safety procedures to follow before you roll out the power washer or soft wash.

Firstly, power washers are extremely powerful. The water that comes out of the tip can slice through skin, so avoid pointing it toward anyone. Also avoid using high pressure on windows, especially older single pane windows, can cause damage.

If using a soft wash, keep in mind the concerns that sodium hypochlorite and/or any surfactant have on your health, such as avoiding contact on skin and wearing proper personal protective equipment. Also, a good practice is to cover plants that are against/near your home before you start to soft wash.

When To Use a Power Washer

For the inexperienced, using high pressure when washing siding is not recommended. Often times, high pressure can cause damage, especially when dealing with lighter siding such as vinyl.

Using high pressure can be extremely effective when washing stone, concrete, aluminum or brick.

It is important to keep mind several things when you roll out the pressure washer:

  1. Spray at a downward angle. Vinyl siding is designed to protect your home from the elements, and being in the Pacific Northwest, we know very well that rain comes from above, not below. Be careful not to power wash form below to avoid damaging your vinyl siding.
  2. Start with a test patch. To avoid further damage, should it occur, start with a small section and assess whether you should continue or not.
  3. Continuous movement. Employ a steady, side-to-side sweeping movement when power washing. Techniques such as “feathering” can increase your chances of a uniform and consistent wash.

One last thing to remember when it comes to high-pressure power washing, as satisfying as it may seem, power washing does not completely eradicate microbial spores and other photosynthetic organisms, such as mould or algae.

When To Use a Soft Wash

Using high pressure can be extremely effective when washing stone, concrete, aluminum or brick. But when it comes to washing vinyl siding, the most effective way is using soft washing.

Soft washing, usually involving sodium hypochlorite and surfactants, is a more gentle wash compared to traditional power washing. There are a few key things to consider before you get started:

  1. Wear proper PPE. When working with sodium hypochlorite, remember to wear proper safety equipment.
  2. Cover plants. Sodium hypochlorite can discolour and sometimes damage plants. Be sure to cover them to prevent any damage.
  3. Start with a test patch. To avoid further damage, should it occur, start with a small section and assess whether you should continue or not.

Whichever method you choose to use, always remember safety is your number one friend and should never be neglected.

Whether you need to power wash or soft wash your house, we can get you a free quote here.

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