Today I want to explain how to pressure wash your home. There are a few different methods for how to do this, but I will explain how we at Dykes Pressure Cleaning clean your homes and businesses and why we use the process that we do. If you have read any of our previous blog posts, you will have seen me mention multiple times that you just can’t escape the mold and algae living in Florida, but you can beat it! Whether you are embarking on a DIY project, or just looking for information to make sure you hire the right professional, we are going to explain what we do day-in and day-out and what works for us.
Know What Chemicals to Use while Pressure Washing
First thing to know is what chemical to use and at what mix rate. We use the same half and half mix of sodium hypochlorite and water and then add one 32 oz bottle of soap to our tank to act as a surfactant. That mixture is injected into the pressure line after the pump, allowing you to pressure wash with the soap mixture being sprayed through the line. You do not want the chemical running through your pump because this will cause corrosion and shorten the life of your pump. The injector fitting connects to the quick connect where the hose hooks up to the pump and a suction line is dropped in the chemical tank. This causes the machine to pull the soap from the tank allowing it to aid in the cleaning of your home.
You need a nozzle designed for soap application when using this method. Most pressure washers come with a soap nozzle but depending on your home that may or may not be enough. Having the right nozzles makes a world of difference! We can do 2 and even 3 story homes without leaving the ground by using the appropriate nozzle for the job. This provides a much safer solution while maintaining your home. You will most likely need to find a local power wash supply store for some of these items. While the box stores have some basic equipment, we must go to our local shop for most of our equipment. That is partially because our machines are more powerful and set up for larger and more jobs than any homeowner. However, if you can afford to do it, spending a few extra bucks could save you a lot of time. I would recommend getting a machine that is at least 3-4gpm and 3000psi. We run 5.5gpm and 3500psi which we find to be the best set up for our needs. These set ups will be more like a couple thousand compared to a couple hundred dollars but will drastically increase the amount of work you can get done in the same amount of time. You can also find some machines somewhere in the middle for less than 1k that should be enough for the average home or business owner.
Clear the Area to be Cleaned of Plants and Obstructions
The first step in the actual cleaning process is to go around the entire home and move any plants, furniture, or items that you won’t want to get wet or touched by the chemical. This allows you unobstructed access to clean all the exterior surfaces and ensures that these things will not be damaged. I have mentioned “down streaming” in previous articles and that is the method we use here. Down streaming the 50/50 mix results in 10% sodium hypochlorite and 90% water being used around the home. This is diluted enough to be safe for use around the home or business but is also enough of the chemical to help break up the algae and debris, so your home is left looking like new again.
Pre-soak the Areas to be Cleaned
The next part of the process is the soap application. I go around the entire home with a low-pressure soap applicator and evenly cover all surfaces being cleaned with the soap. This includes the windows, soffits, and side of gutters as well as the homes exterior walls. You always want to use caution around windows, soffits, and electrical outlets. They are designed to withstand some weather, but the high pressure can force water into cracks or cause leaks if you aren’t careful and experienced in how to do so without causing damage. Another quick thing I want to mention is ceilings on front and back porches. Some of these ceilings are stucco and this does not apply, but you need to be sure before spraying. Some builders use drywall and paint over that on these ceilings and if you go to spray away the cobwebs and build up that gathers in these areas and it is only drywall you will wash away the paint and even the drywall if you kept going.
To reach more difficult areas we use a nozzle that is designed to spray longer distances in a stream instead of a fanned-out pattern. This nozzle will also pull soap allowing you to clean the higher areas without having to get on a roof or ladder. I would recommend this whenever possible. Heights don’t go well with wet surfaces from spraying water, recoil from the pressure, and as hot as it is right now if you aren’t used to working in the heat you may become a bit disoriented also. If you do have to get on a roof or ladder, please be careful and be honest with yourself about whether you should do it yourself because it’s not worth getting hurt over.
After you have applied the soap to all the desired surfaces, the chemical should have had enough time to begin working on the stubborn areas and you can go back to where you started applying soap and begin rinsing the home. You will remove the injector line, or I usually drop it in the water tank to draw clean water through the injector line to clean it out. Go back around the same path you took while applying soap and rinse away and left-over debris and any chemical still on the surfaces. I also wet down any plants in the drip zones with clean water while rinsing the home as well just as an extra precaution.
Mold and algae can leave stains or eat through the paint if it has been building up for too long. This process works quite well and most of the time we can restore these problem areas to their former glory. If you cannot remove everything you may need to repaint, but if you keep up with the maintenance you can get it clean every time and leave it looking like new.
For more information about pressure washing your Florida home or business, or to schedule a free estimate, contact the professionals at Dykes Pressure Cleaning at +1386-847-3626 or contact us online.