House Wash with Surfactant Only?

Hi Guys,

I’m looking to add House Washing and Roof Washing to my list of services. My problem is that I live in an area of California where very little organic growth is to be found on buildings. Buildings are dirty, but not with algae, mold, etc, just dirt. I have caught wind of some other companies not far off from me who house wash with only surfactant, no SH. Does this sound right to you guys? What would you all do if you went to wash a house with no visible organic growth, only a layer of dirt?

Connected to this question is what kind of set up would be best for my situation. I have considered a dedicated, 7gpm pump with a tank holding only water and surfactant, but maybe a pressure washer set up would be better? I’m grateful for any advice you can give. Thanks

Won’t work, I’m also in California… Surfactant only will actually make the dirt/grime stick… Odd but that’s what I found… Specially in areas where the exterior has soot build up like near freeways or high traffic areas…

Hey Dave :slight_smile:

You’ll need a pump set up if you’re roof washing, a pressure cleaner won’t cut it.

As for your question, it will work with just a surfactant, just nowhere near as well. The SH also brightens surfaces too. I personally add SH to all my washes (various strengths of course).

Even if there is no visible mould, you can sell it as a preventative (residual value) for mould, an overall sanitizer, a brightner etc. There will likely be mould you can’t see in gaps anyway.

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Thanks Guys, that helps.

Here’s my next question: Most of the videos I look up about house washing show guys working on vinyl siding or plastic fences; in my area I don’t know that I’ve ever seen vinyl siding. I think we have a good deal of painted wood, or else T-111 or fiber cement siding. I’ve looked for resources to study how to safely soft wash this stuff and all I can find are off-hand, ominous warnings about the dangers of SH on wood. Do you guys run into this siding? Can you give me some tips or tell me where I can go for good information about SH on different types of siding, apart from the easier stuff like vinyl? Thanks for your time.

What part of California are you in?

And you are correct vinyl siding isn’t common here at all, I’ve never washed one… Mainly stucco, Wood, Composite stuff…

Vinyl fences yes, those are common…

I’m in Sonora, an hour east of Modesto, 2 hours south of Sacramento. The majority of what I see here looks like imitation wood, so I’m guessing it’s that fiber cement or T-111 stuff.

We are kinda lucky here, We don’t deal with very complex stuff like other guy’s in other states.

Learn to use SH, How to mix depending on the situation… Just remember not to wash red, blue,green,black homes… They don’t usually do well with house mix(sh)

I use SH for pretty much everything I clean, and just like you no mold or mildew issues here in Cal

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From what I’ve learned, SH destroys the lignin in wood. That’s the actual fibres that hold it together. It also destroys nails and screws too. Either way, it’s not good for bare wood or metal.

Being that the wood you mentioned is painted, using SH is fine at the correct level - but as with all house washing and pressure washing - you have to thoroughly rinse.

…I forgot this vital info too! Yes. Keep away from oxidised paint.

I wash the same stuff you do as I am in California also. I use sh on all of it. Raw wood is a different process but the painted siding is fine. Just make sure sh doesn’t dry on anything. I prewet almost everything but that’s just me being overcautious. I use an sh neutralizer as a final rinse in many cases, especially on the windows. Don’t forget to clean your truck regularly! Get an account with a local pool supply supplier (ie wholesaler). I work with a place called leisure supply.

To clarify what you probably heard about is people cleaning with a detergent not a surfactant. They are generally different. has some soaps you can clean with but honestly I have never tried them, not yet anyway.

What do you do when you become across a red blue green or black house then?

I turn them down, But it’s not really a problem 98% of the homes here are literally white… People here are trendy and all the homes seem to be (Hampton’s style) right now… All white!

I’ve had Red paint change colors on me just with water alone, I won’t wash them far less use SH mix on them

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Went and looked at property yesterday, the older maintenance guy can no longer power wash. Well he he would pump spray straight outdoor bleach all over the place, scaffolding and garden hose :joy:
Ceilings on exterior add ons had blue Sherwin Williams paint
From what I’ve been seeing when it comes to color you gotta watch out for the Sherwin Williams because it has organic pigments. The bleach will make it splotchy.

How to get away from oxidized paint? It’s everywhwere

My neighbor just painted his house a light green that is Sherwin Williams top of the line paint. Would you stay away from all greens or just regular green? I don’t plan on washing his house again but he may ask me in a year or two…

What part of California you in?

Im in Sonora, 2 hours south east of Sacramento

I’m 20 minutes from Los Angeles, well about 1hr away with traffic :joy:

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I guess I should have said the colors oxidize like all paint - but the chalking of the surface is easier to damage with mix (or pressure) and also easier to notice than white.


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What kind of dwell time do you allow if you have doubts about SH on the siding? What is a “cautious” dwell time?