Downstream vs Softwashing

Softwash: What's the difference?

In the world of exterior cleaning and maintenance, softwashing has emerged as a revolutionary technique to effectively and safely remove unsightly algae, mold, and other contaminants from various surfaces. Softwash involves the use of specialized chemicals, notably Sodium Hypochlorite (SH), to achieve a thorough clean without causing damage. This article delves into the core concepts of softwashing, its methods, equipment, and benefits. 

Understanding Softwash

Softwash is a chemical-based approach to cleaning that prioritizes the preservation of surfaces while effectively eliminating organic growth such as algae, mold, mildew, and bacteria. Unlike traditional pressure washing, which employs high-pressure water to remove dirt and grime, softwashing relies on the chemical action of cleaning agents to break down and eradicate contaminants. This method is particularly useful for delicate surfaces that could be damaged by high-pressure water, such as roofs, siding, decks, and fences.

Methods of Softwashing

There are two primary methods of implementing softwashing: downstreaming and using a dedicated softwash system.

  1. Down Streaming: Down streaming involves introducing Sodium Hypochlorite (SH) into the pressure washing stream. This can be done using a chemical injector or an XJET attachment. In both cases, the goal is to deliver the appropriate concentration of SH to the surface being cleaned. With chemical injectors, the SH is mixed with water at the injector, while XJET allows for direct application of concentrated SH using a specialized nozzle. Down streaming is effective for larger-scale cleaning projects where a higher concentration isn't needed. Most common use for down streaming is building exteriors, fencing, driveways & pool cages/decks.

  2. Softwash System: A dedicated softwash system employs a low-pressure pump to draw and apply a higher concentration of Sodium Hypochlorite. This method provides more control over the chemical mixture and pressure, making it ideal for larger projects or those requiring specific concentration levels. Softwash systems can use either batch mixing, where the cleaning solution is pre-mixed in a tank, or on-the-fly mixing using a proportioner.

Softwash System Equipment

The equipment used for softwashing is crucial for achieving optimal results. Some essential components include:

  1. Low-Pressure Pump: This pump is designed to handle chemical solutions without damaging surfaces. It draws the cleaning solution from the container and propels it through the nozzle.

  2. Proportioner: The proportioner ensures precise mixing of Sodium Hypochlorite and water, creating the desired chemical strength for effective cleaning.

  3. Chemical Tanks: These containers hold the cleaning solution, whether it's pre-mixed or concentrated Sodium Hypochlorite to be mixed on-the-fly.

  4. Nozzles and Tips: These attachments determine the spray pattern and coverage of the cleaning solution.

  5. Safety Gear: Softwashing involves working with chemicals, so proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential to ensure the safety of the operator.

Benefits of Softwashing

  1. Gentle on Surfaces: Softwashing minimizes the risk of surface damage compared to traditional pressure washing methods.

  2. Effective Cleaning: The chemical action of softwashing agents ensures thorough removal of contaminants, leaving surfaces cleaner for longer periods.

  3. Long-Lasting Results: Softwash treatments often provide longer-lasting results compared to pressure washing, as the chemicals penetrate and inhibit future growth.

  4. Versatility: Softwashing can be used on a wide range of surfaces, including roofs, siding, decks, fences, and more.

  5. Eco-Friendly: Softwashing reduces the need for excessive water use, making it an environmentally conscious cleaning method.

In conclusion, softwash is a revolutionary cleaning technique that relies on specialized chemicals to safely and effectively remove contaminants from various exterior surfaces. Its gentle approach and long-lasting results make it a preferred choice for maintaining the aesthetics and integrity of buildings. Whether through downstreaming or dedicated softwash systems, this method has proven its efficacy in the realm of exterior cleaning. If you're considering a deep and lasting clean for your property, exploring the benefits of softwashing could be the solution you're looking for.