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Pressure Washing Siding But No Chlorine

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2644 NorthWest NJ
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2004-05-07          85474


I have a high pressure washer that I was going to use to clean the mildew off the cedar siding on my house until I noticed that the pressure washer manufacturer says CAUTION do not use bleach in washer. Is that because of DANGER from bleach gases? Or is it damage to the washer pump?

I bought some house cleaning pressure washer stuff at the Depot, but it does not do the job, I even have the extension 12- 18 foot pressure wand as well. (Its a devil to handle at full extension, definitely a warm weather undertaking). I did see one pressure washer rated house fluid that suggested adding bleach to their stuff for cleaning mildew off siding, but with the explicit WARNING from the washer company I decided not to go there.

Before the pressure washer I had vinyl sided house that I used to get the Mildew off by using an extension pole with a brush I dipped into 25% solution of bleach and water. This worked pretty well on vinyl.

On the current house the pole is too short and I don't like the idea of brushing the rough side out cedar siding. I guess I could use a ladder, garden Tank Sprayer to spray on the bleach and then pressure wash off the residue, but that makes this a big slow job.

Any experience on this appreciated.

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Pressure Washing Siding But No Chlorine

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2004-05-07          85475


I suspect the bleach would cause brass pump components to corrode. It's also hard on rubber seals. ....

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Pressure Washing Siding But No Chlorine

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2004-05-07          85481


Dennis:

As tedious as it may sound, the garden sprayer wash and power washer rinse seems to be the best solution. A brush may give you marks against the grain of the wood. A friend of mine used the exact same approach on his deck. Just power washing without the bleach didn't work well causing him to get too close and got the cedar fuzzy. When he used a brush to aid in the cleaning it wasn't uniform in finish particularly near and under the posts and railings.

In theory you are doing the same thing as applying deck wash which gets most of the stain and mildew off. I don't think it will quite get back to the "as new" look. ....

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Pressure Washing Siding But No Chlorine

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paulss
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 60 Lavaca County, TX
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2004-05-07          85488


Dennis,

As yooperpete mentioned, the most effective way I've found to clean siding is with a hose-end sprayer. Buy the one with the long nozzle and the cup that is about a pint. Fill the cup with bleach and add 2-3 good squirts of dishwashing detergent. Wet siding thoroughly, wait till the grime, mold, etc., disappears (2-5 minutes) and then wash with water. The only thing you need to watch for is to spray off any plants or grass that you get the bleach mixture on.
With decent water pressure, I regularly can get 20-25 feet up the side of a house and can use a ladder if anything higher is needed. I haven't tried it but there is a new "outdoor" Clorox at Home Depot that is probably stronger than the regular laundry variety. Just wear a cap and eye protection and don't wear any clothes that you are very fond of. ....

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Pressure Washing Siding But No Chlorine

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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 677 central Maine
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2004-05-07          85490


Dennis
Have spent a few summers working for my brothers painting business.
We use to wait until just after a good rain.
1 part bleach to 9 parts water in a large tank sprayer.
Soak down the subject and let it sit a while,15-30 min.the time will
help kill the mildew spores. Then pressure wash. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Pressure Washing Siding But No Chlorine

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2644 NorthWest NJ
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2004-05-07          85491


Thanks for the feedback, I think I will start with Paulss's approach with the garden hose sprayer. I have pretty low pressure from my well, and will probably need the ladder.

Good news is that it is just the north facing surfaces that need it. Bad news is that a 40 foot ladder is required to get to the top on that side.

Also do you guys follow the pressure washer guidelines and apply the bleach bottom to top? or top to bottom? or does it matter?
....

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Pressure Washing Siding But No Chlorine

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paulss
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 60 Lavaca County, TX
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2004-05-07          85508


I usually start at the top and let everything run down. I'm not sure that it makes any difference but you use less bleach and it seems to go a little quicker. ....

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Pressure Washing Siding But No Chlorine

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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 677 central Maine
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2004-05-08          85534


If you do it with a low pressure sprayer(tank) and start at
the bottom,it will give it more soak time. then wash from top down.
Why are you getting mold on your siding? You may want to investigate the
cause before doing all that work,been reading a little about insulation
and moisture and air flows. Sounds like the mildew is a result of a problem
that once corrected, could reduce your exterior maintenance. Make sure the
people you ask are qualified. Joe blows home inspection for $300.00 is not.
I have used a heating and cooling company. The mechanics of a house are complicated and vary greatly according to location. Poor advice can be very expensive in time and money.
Good luck.

Here is something contradictive to our bleach theory. ....

Picture Link

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Pressure Washing Siding But No Chlorine

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2644 NorthWest NJ
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2004-05-30          87301


Paulss,

I followed your approach with the long neck hose sprayer for trees. I was able to do up to two stories and used the ladder for the higher spots.

Worked great makes short work of this project, thanks for the tip it saved me alot of pain versus using a tank sprayer.

What I have is green moss on the north side it is not black mold.

....

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Pressure Washing Siding But No Chlorine

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2644 NorthWest NJ
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2013-05-08          186881


I was trying to use the long neck hose end sprayer yesterday, Ortho Tree and Shrub Sprayer, well after 9 years it just does not draw the bleach anymore. I fiddled with it with compresses air and just made matters worse, the cap is just cheap plastic. I probably blew something out of it :(

Anyway I thought I would just buy another one but looks like no one makes it anymore. If you know of a place that one or similar item let me know.

Ortho Tree and Shrub Spray-ette

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71BT5SGZGJL._SX450_.gif ....

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