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What is a Doff Machine? - How Can it Transform the Exterior of your Building?

Cleaning stone and masonry, especially stone and masonry that has become soft and fragile over time, can be difficult. A lot of modern cleaning methods can cause damage to delicate facades. Techniques like jet washing – while they may effectively remove dirt, grime and discolouration - can leave stone and masonry pockmarked and uneven. In many cases, using inappropriate cleaning methods can damage a façade for good.

DOFF machines were developed to help property owners and managers clean delicate façades without damaging the underlying substrate. These innovative machines use a unique steam system to quickly and effectively remove all traces of dirt and grime from a variety of surfaces to leave facades looking clean, clear and well-maintained.

What is a DOFF machine?

A DOFF machine is the most important part of the DOFF steam cleaning system. The machine heats water to over 150˚C before ejecting it through the built-in nozzle as superheated steam. When heated to this high temperature, the steam is able to quickly and efficiently remove paint, graffiti, dirt, grime and discolouration. In fact, the system is so effective, it negates the need for high pressure water jets and other methods that could potentially damage the substrate.

DOFF machines are designed to be portable. This means that they can be easily transported and used on sites all over the country.

What surfaces can I use DOFF on?

DOFF machines are very versatile and can be used to clean a number of surfaces. They are commonly used to clean materials that would be damaged by other cleaning methods. These include stone, masonry and concrete. However, it can also be used to clean a range of other surfaces such as tile, wood and terracotta. In fact, DOFF machines can be used to remove dirt and discolouration from most materials commonly used in large commercial and residential properties. If you are not sure if the DOFF cleaning system is suitable for your building, talk to an expert to find out more.

Where can I use a DOFF machine?

As DOFF machines are designed to be portable, they can be used in a wide variety of settings. While commonly used on external surfaces and façades, they can also be used to sterilise surfaces in hospitals, swimming pools, factories, transport depots, workshops and other heavily used spaces.

All operatives working with DOFF machines should be fully trained on all aspects of the unique DOFF system. This is incredibly important as proper training will ensure the machine is used correctly and surfaces are cleaned safely and thoroughly. Once an operative has been trained in the use of DOFF machines, they will be able to use the system to clean surfaces in a variety of different settings.

How does the DOFF system work?

DOFF machines work by taking a normal water supply, pumping it into the hotbox and heating it up to a temperature of 150˚C. It is possible to achieve lower temperatures if required. It is also possible to heat the steam to over 150˚C in cold weather to ensure it is at the correct temperature when it exits the nozzle. Once heated, the steam is fed through the heat-resistant nozzle at a rate of around five litres per minute. This low volume and low pressure ensures the steam is gentle on the substrate and does not damage the surface being cleaned.

Not only is the surface protected from damaging high-pressure jets, the system also prevents thermal shock and deep penetration of water. This allows the substrate to dry quickly and ensures even the most fragile stone and masonry can be cleaned without damage.

The DOFF cleaning system can used to remove a variety of impurities, discolouration and coatings from stone, masonry and other surfaces. It is commonly used to remove paint, (mostly oils and paint with plastic additives), graffiti, bird or vermin droppings, wax coatings, chewing gum, algae, moss and mould, bitumen, oil and grease. All of these substances can be cleaned off stone and masonry quickly and easily without causing any damage to the substrate.

Why is DOFF better than steam cleaning and jet washing?

Using DOFF machines is preferable to steam cleaning and jet washing for a number of reasons. For a start, it is incredibly effective. The super heated steam is able to remove a wide range of substances quickly and easily. This allows operatives to achieve outstanding results in a short amount of time. Substances and discolouration that are especially hard to remove can be cleaned by combining the DOFF system with appropriate chemical treatments. This helps operatives to restore a surface to its original aesthetic condition.

Secondly, unlike jet washing, DOFF cleaning is gentle on the substrate. This is very important when cleaning surfaces that could be damaged by jets of high pressure water.

Combining DOFF machines with Spectrum’s patented cleaning system

Spectrum has extensive experience carrying out DOFF cleaning on a variety of properties. Not only are our operatives able to utilise this powerful and versatile system, they are also able to combine it with our own patented processes. This can save the client a significant amount of money and ensure the project is completed quickly.

When working on properties that are hard to access, our teams use our specially designed carbon fibre tubes to extend the reach of our DOFF machines. This means we are able to carry out DOFF cleaning up to eight stories high. If we need to clean properties that are higher, our IRATA certified abseil team can use our system to take DOFF cleaning to all parts of a property. By using abseilers instead of scaffolding and heavy machinery, we are able to save our clients up to 70% on access costs alone. 

If you are interested in the DOFF cleaning process, or if you have a property that could benefit from our access and cleaning expertise, get in touch with a member of our team today.

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