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Using Potassium Permanganate to Color Softwash Solutions: A Guide for Professionals

By Mark Cave April 15, 2024

Using Potassium Permanganate to Color Softwash Solutions: A Guide for Professionals

Soft Washing potassium permanganate crystals

As a soft wash professional, ensuring efficient and effective cleaning is paramount. One innovative method to enhance the precision of your softwashing involves using potassium permanganate to color the solution. This not only improves visibility during application but also helps in cleaning out the hoses post-use by confirming that no residual cleaning solution remains. Here’s how to utilize this technique effectively:

Benefits of Coloring Softwash Solutions

Coloring your softwash solutions can significantly boost your cleaning process by:

  • Enhancing Visibility: Easily see which areas have been treated, ensuring complete coverage without overusing the product.
  • Verifying Hose Cleanliness: The colorant in the solution helps indicate when the hoses are clear of any softwash mix, preventing cross-contamination or unintentional mixing of chemicals on subsequent jobs.

Choosing Potassium Permanganate

Potassium permanganate is an excellent choice for this purpose because it’s a potent oxidizer that reacts with the softwash solution, imparting a distinctive purple color. This intense color is easy to see, even in small quantities, making it ideal for tracking solution coverage and hose cleanliness.

How to Use Potassium Permanganate in Softwashing

  1. Prepare Your Solution:

    • Begin with your standard softwash mix (typically a combination of sodium hypochlorite and a surfactant like 'Clever Wash').
    • Ensure the solution is well-mixed and ready for the addition of the colorant.
  2. Adding Potassium Permanganate:

    • Add a very small amount of potassium permanganate to your solution; a few crystals are often sufficient for a standard tank (50-100 gallons).
    • Stir or agitate the solution to fully dissolve the permanganate, which will turn the mixture a deep purple or magenta color.
  3. Application Tips:

    • Apply the colored softwash solution as you normally would, using equipment such as a 'Clever Injector' for precise dosing.
    • The vivid purple hue of the mixture will clearly show on surfaces, indicating where you have applied the mix.
    • Continue application until all desired areas are covered.
  4. Cleaning Out Hoses:

    • After application, use the remaining colored solution to flush out the hoses.
    • Continue flushing with water until the purple color is no longer visible, ensuring that all residues are cleared.
  5. Safety and Considerations:

    • Potassium permanganate is a strong oxidizer and should be handled with care. Use gloves and eye protection during handling.
    • Be mindful of the staining properties of potassium permanganate; it can leave purple stains on surfaces if not rinsed promptly and thoroughly.
  6. Environmental Impact:

    • Potassium permanganate is biodegradable but should be used sparingly to minimize environmental impact.
    • Follow all local regulations regarding the use of chemicals and their disposal.


Utilizing potassium permanganate to color your softwash solutions is a smart technique that enhances both the efficiency and effectiveness of your cleaning process. By following these guidelines, you can ensure thorough application and easy post-job cleanup, all while maintaining a high standard of safety and environmental consciousness.

By adopting this method, you’re not just improving your operational efficiency but also enhancing your service quality, leading to better client satisfaction and potentially, more referrals. Always remember to handle all chemicals, including potassium permanganate, with appropriate care and follow local guidelines for use and disposal to maintain safety and compliance.

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Soft Wash Calculator App

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


Available NOW Click Here To Download

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!.
- It can also remix your leftover softwash to a new stronger or weaker recipe.
- all controls in one place for see at a glance operation
- ease of input via pre-loaded dials. no more calculator style typing
- instantly responds to changes of complex combinations
- 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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