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Safe and Legal Use of Sodium Hypochlorite for Exterior Cleaning in the UK 2024

By Mark Cave April 15, 2024

Safe and Legal Use of Sodium Hypochlorite for Exterior Cleaning in the UK 2024

Safe and Legal Use of Sodium Hypochlorite

Welcome to the world of exterior cleaning, where the effectiveness of your methods translates directly to client satisfaction and the longevity of building surfaces. Among the various cleaning agents available, sodium hypochlorite stands out for its efficacy in dealing with organic stains, molds, and mildews. However, its use comes with responsibilities—specifically, adhering to legal standards and ensuring safety. This guide will empower you, the UK's exterior cleaning professionals, to use sodium hypochlorite confidently and legally across a wide range of surfaces.

Understanding Sodium Hypochlorite

Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) is a chlorine-based compound, often referred to as liquid bleach. It is highly effective against a broad spectrum of microorganisms and is commonly used in the cleaning industry, particularly in softwashing, to clean exteriors such as:

  • Driveways
  • Roofs
  • Patios
  • Render
  • Cladding
  • Decking
  • UPVC
  • Wet pour surfaces
  • Tarmac
  • Astroturf
  • Resin driveways

Legal and Safety Guidelines

Compliance with COSHH

In the UK, the use of sodium hypochlorite is regulated under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations. These regulations mandate that businesses conduct a COSHH assessment to manage or eliminate the risks associated with hazardous cleaning substances.

Health and Safety

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

  • Full protective clothing, including gloves, goggles, and masks (P3 Rated), should be worn to prevent chemical burns and inhalation of vapours.

Environmental Precautions:

  • Care must be taken to prevent runoff into gardens and waterways, as sodium hypochlorite is harmful to plants and aquatic life. Utilize barriers or neutralizing agents to mitigate these risks.

Practical Application

Preparing for Use

Risk Assessment:

  • Identify and evaluate risks associated with sodium hypochlorite application.
  • Consider the potential harm to workers, clients, public, and the environment.
  • Record findings and review the assessment regularly.

Method Statement:

  • Detail the equipment and concentration levels of sodium hypochlorite.
  • Outline the application process, including techniques for spraying, mixing and covering sensitive areas.
  • Specify cleanup and neutralization processes post-application.

Safe Handling Practices

  • Prepare solutions carefully in well-ventilated areas.
  • Apply using low-pressure sprayers to control drift and ensure even coverage.
  • Rinse surfaces thoroughly to remove all residues, using techniques that minimize environmental impact.

Recommended Products from Softwash UK

Mark Cave supports exterior cleaning professionals with a range of specially formulated chemicals available at SoftWash UK. These include:

  • Sodium hypochlorite: Discover the unparalleled cleaning power of Sodium Hypochlorite - your go-to solution for eliminating stubborn organic contamination and the dreaded black lichen. Say goodbye to unsightly stains and hello to pristine surfaces with our expertly formulated product
  • Clever Wash: A surfactant-enhanced product that helps sodium hypochlorite penetrate porous surfaces more effectively, increasing the cleaning power while using less chemical.

Support and Backup

Mark Cave provides comprehensive support and backup for all products, ensuring that you have the necessary knowledge and tools to use them effectively. This support includes detailed product manuals, safety data sheets, and direct customer service.


Using sodium hypochlorite safely and legally not only ensures compliance with UK laws but also protects the environment and maximizes the lifespan of cleaned surfaces. By following the guidelines outlined above and utilizing products from SoftWash UK, you can achieve excellent cleaning results while maintaining high standards of safety and responsibility.

Embrace these practices to enhance your professional capabilities in exterior cleaning, ensuring that you can tackle any job with confidence and compliance.

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Soft Wash Calculator App

Now you can say I've got an app for that!


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Softwashing calculator is an indispensable tool for juggling complicated chemical mixes. It helps reduce wastage and keeps operating costs down by giving accurate proportions

If you are having difficulty getting your head around the maths, trying to work out what percentage of softwash you need, how much chemical, surfactant and water to add, then this is the App for you.



The Soft Wash Calculator App allows you to work out your soft wash recipe by telling you exactly how much chemical, how much water and how much surfactant to add to get the desired soft wash recipe.
It doesn't stop there!.
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- all controls in one place for see at a glance operation
- ease of input via pre-loaded dials. no more calculator style typing
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- works in both Litres and US Gallons
- tested for Protan and Deutan colourblind users
- links to SoftwashingUK website

Take this scenario
You started with a 1% soft wash recipe of 50 gal (or litres)  for a deck clean and you’re left with 13 gallons.

You get a call from a prospective customer to clean their roof. Past experience tells you a 4% soft wash recipe is needed, but what about your leftover mix at 1%?.

Do you waste time and effort driving back to base to transfer into a standby tank?
You could consider the 13 gal as just water, top up the tank and start again.  
But that’s throwing away the value of the mix and raising your overhead.

Soft Wash Calculator App to the rescue.

You get to the new job and it requires 100 gal / litres.
Switch into remix mode , confirming the 13 gal already in the tank
Move the dials to your new recipe and the app immediately updates the different amounts to add in front of your eyes including the correct amount of extra surfactant.

You now have a 100 gal / litres tank of 4% soft wash recipe ready for your roof clean job!

Not forgetting you’ve saved money too, all without stress and uncertainty . Don’t underestimate what confident calmness has on your customer putting out referrals.

The same applies if you have a 4% recipe left in your tank and you need to dilute it down to 2%. Again the app will tell you how.

Softwashing calculator will also work for any chemical recipe. For instance you can use it for Sodium Hypochlorite, Bleach, Biocide , TFR traffic film remover and degreaser. Even the mathematically-challenged rocket scientist can top up their booster tanks to new fuel mixes after launch delays caused by changing weather conditions.

Using this app you will know exactly what chemical strength to put on any surface giving you the confidence and the knowledge of a professional soft washer and you’ll save money as well.

So if you have little knowledge of how to mix a soft wash recipe then this app is for you.
If you have little knowledge of how to remix a soft wash recipe then this app is for you.
If you want to save money when mixing a soft wash recipe then this app is for you.

This app is also backward compatible to devices running iOS7. We've done this so you can re-purpose an old iPhone 4 or iPod Touch 5  for what could be hazardous work environments. Just toss one in your cleaning van's toolkit.

Once you learn the methods and procedures of how to apply the soft wash to the different surfaces that need cleaning you’ll be unstoppable!

The app also has  a guide to what percentage for what surface. And if you are the lucky owner of a Clever Injector it will remind you the correct setting for the job.
However you should always consider and risk assess what soft wash recipe you need to clean the surface.

** A major iOS code-base change may require a re-purchase. The appiverse at the time will confirm our promise that we won't do so unless the necessity is apparent.



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