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Is soft washing with bleach harmful to the environment?

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Well-intended homeowners often do themselves a disservice when hiring to have their roof or siding cleaned by not fully understanding bleach, its role in soft washing, and its actual impact on the environment. Arriving at a well-informed perspective of bleach requires digging into specific details and the whole context in which a homeowner or professional might soft wash with bleach. By the end of this blog, you’ll have the information you need to decide what is best for you and your home.

What is bleach?

Bleach is a simplified term for sodium hypochlorite; a chemical compound used to clean or sterilize. Fear not. We won’t bore you with information that’s copied and pasted from the periodic table of elements and Wikipedia. After all, we’re exterior home cleaners and won’t be trading our dapper look for labcoats anytime soon.

Is bleach bad for the environment?

Sodium hypochlorite is naturally occurring, which is counterintuitive. We’re used to seeing bottles of it on the shelf next to artificial chemicals for cleaning. While some manufactured products include bleach, don’t confuse bleach as inherently unnatural. Bleach starts and finishes as sodium chloride, common table salt. In nature, the sodium chloride undergoes electrolysis and is combined with water, chlorine, and sodium hydroxide to become bleach. And after use, it degrades into sodium chloride, its original structure. The degradation happens so quickly that life forms in the environment don’t have enough time to absorb the hypochlorite ion. When asked, “Is bleach bad for the environment?” the curt answer we want to give but don’t is, “Bleach is the environment. How can it be bad for it?”

Given our mission to improve the lives of our customers, including providing them the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves, we would never give such a smart-aleck response. Instead, we listen to their concerns and address them fully. Thanks to 24 years of cleaning homes and engaging with customers, we have a firm understanding of our customers’ concerns. Because the topic of bleach and the environment comes up often, we have educated ourselves on the subject and ensured our services are effective for the homeowner and responsible towards the environment. We often point our customers to Lake Lucero of White Sands, NM. The white sands formed because of a natural abundance of sodium hypochlorite. You may recognize it from films if you’ve not been to Lake Lucero yourself. The Book of Eli and other movies shot scenes there. Okay, end of the infomercial. We’ll continue providing you with a solid understanding of bleach and its non-impact on the environment.

In addition to bleach intermingling with artificial products on store shelves, its smell gives the impression that it’s manufactured. After all, that smell doesn’t exist in nature. Or does it? Bleach itself is odorless. The smell we associate with it is the natural result of bleach breaking down proteins and organic matter, which is the purpose of bleach when washing your roof and siding. So, when your dapper soft washing company services your home with a solution that includes bleach, you’re not being environmentally irresponsible.

Is bleach safe for soft washing homes?

“Just because something is naturally occurring and environmentally friendly doesn’t mean it’s safe for my home.” Fair enough. We certainly don’t recommend you do a hop-skip-and-a-jump to your roof and douse it in 100% bleach. That would be unsafe for your roof and your person (duh). However, when used by professionals with a successful track record, bleach is perfectly safe.

Consider other uses of bleach. The CDC recommends bleach as a practical solution against Covid-19. Additionally, dentists use sodium hypochlorite in root canals. Over 2,000 hospitals use bleach for infection prevention. And top-notch exterior cleaning companies use it for roof washing and house washing. It’s about the proper dosage and application.

Why use bleach when washing your home

Whether you’re on Camano Island, Snoqualmie, or anywhere else on Puget Sound, your home is vulnerable to moss, lichen, algae, mold, fungus, and harmful bacteria growing on it. If you simply remove this material off the surface, it will grow back faster and thicker than before. It’s like a haircut. To prevent this, you want to remove the growth at the root, which is what bleach does. It emulsifies organic material. Because we previously mentioned the rapid degradation of bleach and its non-impact on the environment, this may seem contradictory. It’s not. The proper application by exterior cleaning professionals will ensure the bleach kills the organic material growth at the root without harm to your home or the environment. It’s similar to what a dentist does when performing a root canal. She isn’t asking her patient to gargle bleach. Instead, she is surgically applying it for a specific purpose. That’s what DAPrDAN does to prevent that “haircut effect” on your home’s roof and siding. Because of the climate and topography of Puget Sound, we strongly recommend having proven professionals remove organic growth from your home. Our dapper team washes homes from Tukwila to San Juan Island and everywhere else on Puget Sound. We know how to remove the growth and prevent it from coming back, which is why we offer 1-year and 3-year guarantees that the moss, lichen, algae, mold, fungus, and harmful bacteria won’t return.

Why is it essential to remove organic growth?

As moss and other organic material grow on your roof, they can lift and separate the shingles apart from one another, leading to wind and rain damage, especially in Puget Sound. Home insurance underwriters will not underwrite and approve your home insurance policy if there’s moss or other material. They may even decide to cancel your existing policy if an inspection shows organic growth on your home. And if you plan to sell your home, you’ll need to remove moss, algae, and the rest. Otherwise, your house won’t sell.

Selling your home and dealing with insurance policies is already a headache. So is removing moss and other material from your house. If you have the organic material on your roof and siding removed from the surface without getting at the root, you’re asking for the headache to return with a vengeance quickly. To avoid this, hire exterior cleaning professionals who know how to use bleach in their solution to successfully rid your home of moss, lichen, algae, mold, fungus, and harmful bacteria while ensuring their methods are sustainable.

Can we skip the bleach and just pressure wash for our roof treatment?

No. Pressure washing, also called power washing, should not be done to your home. It’s for cleaning hard surfaces like your driveway, though many use “pressure” or “power washing” interchangeably with “soft washing.” By soft washing your home, we solve your moss and other organic material problems without causing another one (blowing a hole through your roof or siding).

What do you do now that you’re ready to rid your home of organic growth?

You likely found this page because your home needs an exterior cleaning, and you’re researching to decide the best option for you, your house, and the environment—hopefully, we succeeded in shedding light on this often misunderstood topic. While we have an obvious bias, we would be remiss not to inform you that any further research for an exterior cleaning company on your part is the equivalent of just washing moss off the surface of your roof without getting at the root. If you live in the Puget Sound region and need a house wash,DAPrDAN will get it cleaned and keep it clean.Request a free quote or contact (425)659-3009.

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