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What is Softwashing? - How does Softwashing work?

What is soft washing? 

Over time, even the best maintained properties will start to show visible signs of aging. Often, the first symptoms to appear are patches of algae, mould and mildew. Caused by a variety of environmental factors, these organic stains can discolour roofs and walls, leaving a property looking unloved.

As well as discolouration caused by organic matter, buildings are often exposed to staining from environmental pollutants. Heavy traffic in the surrounding area and leaking metal pipes can cause staining to appear on render, cladding and masonry surfaces. 

In order for a building to look its best, this staining and discolouration needs to be removed and the property restored to its original aesthetic condition. One of the best ways to clean the exterior of a building is with soft washing. The specialist technique has been specifically developed to clean a wide variety of surfaces and to help property owners keep their buildings looking like new.

What is soft washing?

Soft washing is a cleaning method that uses low pressure and specialist cleaning solutions to safely and effectively remove organic and inorganic stains from building exteriors. One of the main benefits of soft washing is that it doesn’t damage the underlying substrate. Other cleaning methods, such as pressure washing, use high pressure jets of water to remove dirt, grime and organic matter. These high pressure jets can easily damage the soft surface of the substrate and result in an uneven, patchy finish to the exterior of the building.

Instead of relying on high pressure water jets to remove staining and discolouration, the soft washing cleaning method uses a combination of chemicals and high temperatures. This effectively removes fungus, moss, algae, mildew and other stains that may be impacting on the aesthetic appearance of the property.

In order for a soft washing solution to be effective, the correct equipment and processes need to be used. Using inappropriate cleaning chemicals or the wrong soft washing equipment can result in poor aesthetic results and even cause damage to the façade of the property.

Which substrates can be soft washed? 

As soft washing is gentle on the underlying substrate, it’s generally used to clean surfaces that would be damaged by pressure washing and other cleaning techniques. Some of the most common surfaces soft washing is used on are modern render, masonry and roofs.

Soft washing roofs 

Roofs are fully exposed to the elements 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. From wind and rain to snow and hail, they take everything Mother Nature can throw at them. As a result, it’s very common for roofs have patches of mould, mildew, algae and moss. All of these organic substances thrive in damp conditions, so are especially common on roofs that are often wet or in the shade.

If mould, moss, mildew or algae are left to build up, they can begin to cause serious issues including rotting, damp and staining. If moss is present on the roof, dislodged clumps can easily block drains and downpipes. This can result in flooding, leaks and other maintenance problems.

Soft washing roof tiles and shingles can remove all of these substances from the surface of the roof. If the correct cleaning chemicals are used, algae, moss, mould and mildew can be kept at bay for years to come.


 - Soft washing render 

Cleaning modern render is one of the most common applications of the soft washing process. Modern render can easily be damaged by pressure washing and other inappropriate cleaning techniques. Using a gentler process like soft washing ensures the render is protected during the cleaning works.

The most common stains and discolouration found on modern render are algae, mould and environmental pollutants. Soft washing K Render and other types of modern render completely removes these impurities and leaves the surface looking like new. When we soft wash a building with a rendered façade, we use a special mix of chemicals that helps to prevent the regrowth of organic substances for years to come.

- Soft washing brick 

Brick is also prone to damage from pressure washing. Period properties in particular often have masonry elements that have become soft and brittle over time. High pressure water jets can easily cause damage to soft brick surfaces. This makes soft washing the preferred method of cleaning this type of masonry surface. Again, masonry surfaces are normally treated with a specialist biocide to prevent the regrowth of organic substances.

Our soft washing equipment

 In order to get the best possible results from the soft washing process, we design and 3D print our own equipment. This specialist equipment improves our results and allows our operatives to reach parts of a building that would be inaccessible using other methods. 

Our designs have been informed by our extensive experience cleaning render, brick and roofing surfaces and so are perfectly tailored to our needs. Our teams are fully trained in using this specialist equipment. What’s more, thanks to their expertise in access solutions, our operatives are able to use our 3D printed soft washing equipment on all areas of a building’s façade. 

At the moment, we’re offering free disinfecting cleaning with all of our works. This cleaning process kills germs and viruses and is an important step in the fight against coronavirus. Our teams will typically disinfect all heavily-used surfaces like door handles, handrails and entry buttons. Cleaning these surfaces can help to prevent the spread of the virus and protect all those who use the space. All of our teams already wear full PPE when on site. This is done as standard in order to keep them safe and create a secure working environment.

 If you’d like to find out more about how to soft wash UK properties, or if you’d like more information on any of our services, including soft washing and disinfecting cleaning, please get in touch with a member of our team or take a look around today.

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