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Is It Legal to Use Sodium Hypochlorite to Soft Wash?

By Mark Cave March 05, 2021 2 comments

Is It Legal to Use Sodium Hypochlorite to Soft Wash?

Hello guys.

Last year I posted “has the bubble burst for the soft washing industry” Well I can categorically say it has not.

The last 12 months both Mr Clever Clean and SoftWash UK  had been  our busiest year yet.

Is It Legal to Use Sodium Hypochlorite to Soft Wash

Most of the news from our customers at SoftWash UK is the same however there has been a downturn  on commercial exterior cleaning but good strong growth on domestic exterior cleaning.

Also many of you have fed back that you have had good support from the government in regards to bounce back loans and grants available. Some of you also have received support for being self-employed but this has been less positive for some self-employed guys based on the support being in line to how much profit you make.

Is It Legal to Use Sodium Hypochlorite to Soft Wash

A lot of guys have taken bounce back loans when they did not necessarily need them but the opportunity of a good rate and easy to borrow money has been taken up as a very cheap way of utilising cheap interest rate loan. So investment in equipment has been definitely on the up this year.

We have seen a great surge in using sodium hypochlorite and clever wash as your go to SoftWash solution.

Also in our day-to-day communications with you guys work, it seems to me that there is a lot of dis information being put out by manufacturers regards to biocides being residual regarding the chemical carrying on working.

Let’s clear this myth up

Is It Legal to Use Sodium Hypochlorite to Soft Wash

If you are applying a biocide  which is sold as a one coat application with no colour change on the day and it is a flat surface or roof then there will be no residual chemical left after a couple of rains. As the chemical will be rinsed away from the surface.

The only time you cab claim to have residual protection would be if you are brushing in DDAC / BAC50 biocide into Render as this will be sucked into the porous vertical surface and it is very difficult from mother nature to rinse the chemicals away. 

By default this will create an uncomfortable environment for any re-colonisation of lichens.

Also by the nature of wood, there is some residual protection as it will suck the chemical in as well but won’t hold the chemical for as long so eventually will lose any residual protection given time.

Is It Legal to Use Sodium Hypochlorite to Soft Wash?

Another thing that needs addressing is how some manufacturers put out that it is illegal to use sodium hypochlorite to clean the surface.

Again this is disinformation......fiction and not fact.

It is okay to use sodium hypochlorite bleach to clean a surface. 

It is also okay to use a surfactant soap to assist in the cleaning of a surface. 

If you want to make sure you are hundred percent legal then methods and procedures should be correct in the process of applying ALL chemical and all efforts should be made to limit run off where possible.

For the record I am not aware of one single case of prosecution for using bleach and I surfactant for cleaning a surface. 

Is It Legal to Use Sodium Hypochlorite to Soft Wash?

For many years now cleaners have been using sodium hypochlorite bleach in a bucket with a mop and adding a dish soap to it to clean floors and public spaces for instance toilets et cetera.

Also in a commercial environment you should have safety data sheets available, method statements and risk assessments should you be stopped by a health and safety officer. You can then prove exactly what you were doing the methods and procedures that you have in place to do this safely and of course not forgetting your personal protective equipment and regards to your safety and the public in the surrounding area.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this there are lots of information on our website that you can purchase and download to assist you in being on the right side of Health and safety.

Also as a Soft washer you should make sure that your insurance specifically covers you for using bleach to clean with. 

Bleach is sodium hypochlorite.

Here are some useful links that may be of interest to you regards to the above information.

COSHH Assessment For Sodium Hypochlorite 15%

Softwash SDS Sheets Category 2 Non Corrosive

Soft Washing Render Risk Assessment

Soft Washing Render Method Statement

I find it disappointing that some manufacture continue to spread miss information regards to the SoftWash industry as a tool to increase sales of certain products. 

Is It Legal to Use Sodium Hypochlorite to Soft Wash?

Fortunately for everybody if you search and do your homework you can make an informed decision how you would like to proceed regards to suppliers and what chemicals to use.

Here at SoftWash UK I am always pleased to hear from you guys so please leave comments below or contact us through the website to see if we can help you or advise regards to how to build on your successful cleaning business using Softwashing initiatives.

Thanks again for taking the time to read this and I look forward to speaking to you guys during this next 12 months.

Best regards.

Mark Cave

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  • Hello Chris,

    Thank you for your message. Transitioning from high-pressure cleaning to soft washing can be a bit confusing with all the different mixes and products available. Let’s simplify things for you.

    Firstly, to address the legal aspect: Yes, it is legal to use sodium hypochlorite for soft washing. It’s widely used in the industry for cleaning various surfaces, including render, slabs, and timber. However, always ensure you’re following local regulations and safety guidelines when handling and applying chemicals.

    Key Products for Soft Washing:
    Sodium Hypochlorite:

    Purpose: It’s the most effective chemical for removing organic growths like green algae, red algae, and lichen.
    Application: Typically mixed with water and a surfactant to enhance its cleaning power.
    Clever Wash Surfactant:

    Purpose: Helps the sodium hypochlorite solution adhere to surfaces and penetrate deeper, making the cleaning process more effective.
    Mixing Ratio: Often used in a 1:1:1 ratio with sodium hypochlorite and water, but this can vary depending on the severity of the staining.
    Biocide Soft Wash Pro 50:

    Purpose: Acts as a preventative measure against future growth after the initial cleaning.
    Application: Applied after cleaning to keep surfaces cleaner for longer.
    Basic Soft Wash Mix:
    For a versatile and effective cleaning solution, you can use the following mix:

    Sodium Hypochlorite: 3 parts
    Water: 6 parts
    Clever Wash Surfactant: 1 part
    Steps for Application:

    Preparation: Ensure the surface is dry. Pre-wetting is generally not recommended as it can dilute the cleaning solution.
    Application: Apply the mix using a soft wash system. Allow it to dwell for 10-15 minutes, but do not let it dry out.
    Rinse: After the dwell time, rinse thoroughly with water.
    Recommended Products:
    Sodium Hypochlorite
    Clever Wash Surfactant
    Biocide Soft Wash Pro 50

    Mark Cave on

  • have been used to high pressure cleaning, now looking at options for soft washing, render,slabs,timber ,etc etc,there seems to be so many types of mixes out there,very confusing, i need to remove green algie,red algie,lichen in fact all growths,is there not one product that does the lot, soory its a bit breif,but some pointers would help, regards chris

    chris hallawell on

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