Pressure Washing With Bleach – Uses and Complications

Pressure washing with bleach is a very effective way to remove mold and mildew from a surface. Bleach can also remove color from clothing, kill vegetation and corrode metal, so it is not an all-purpose cleaner. As with most chemicals, though, when used properly, bleach can simplify your pressure washing jobs and please your customers.

As mentioned above, pressure washing with bleach is primarily for cleaning mold and mildew from surfaces. Simply mixing bleach with water is not very effective, however, because the water will bead on the surface, causing spotty application and uneven results. If you mix a bleach compatible detergent in with the bleach solution, you will get uniform coverage and even results.

Bleach is not one compound, but a class of chemical compounds called oxidizers. An oxidizer breaks down cell membranes and damages cell proteins. When bleach is used on organic pigments and dyes such as food stains, it breaks down those pigments at the cellular level, causing them to dissolve. By obliterating the pigments, bleach whitens any material it comes in contact with. When used on mold or mildew, which are basically small plants, bleach kills the plant off by the same kind of biological warfare it inflicts on ketchup stains. While this nasty habit of killing cells makes bleach a great cleaner and disinfectant, that capacity also makes it very bad for nasturtiums or skin.

Pressure Washing with Bleach

When pressure washing with bleach, make sure your workers have all the required power washer safety gear, including goggles, apron, impervious gloves, and waterproof boots. If any of the bleach solution splashes on skin, follow the manufacturer’s directions regarding first aid, which usually includes rinsing with lots of clear water. When using a bleach solution on the outside of a house, the surrounding grass and vegetation should be flushed with large quantities of fresh water to prevent the runoff from killing the vegetation.

Bleaches are highly reactive compounds. In layman’s terms, that means they have a nasty habit of causing chemical reactions. When bleach is mixed with acid, chlorine gas will form, which will irritate skin and burn lung tissue. When bleach is mixed with ammonia, the gas produced can be explosive. Consequently, when you are pressure washing with bleach, never combine bleach with another cleaning solutions unless that detergent is compatible with bleach. You should also make sure, when storing liquid bleach solutions, never to store them in containers which were used for other compounds, unless those containers have been thoroughly rinsed.

Liquid bleach will slowly lose chlorine content over time, and exposure to heat, air and sunlight will speed up that loss. The best way to store bleach is in a powdered form until just before it is needed, then mix it with water. If you must store liquid bleach, use a solid-color container in a cool, dark area.

Bleach should not be avoided – it is an effective compound when used correctly. When pressure washing with bleach, though, you should stay aware of its limitations and nasty habits.


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