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How to Clean Render with Bleach

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Despite render being so popular in the UK, render cleaning seems to be a complete mystery! The answers online all seem to contradict each other, and often people end up just hiring professionals instead in order to keep their render clean and safe.

If you’re looking to clean render, and you don’t want to get it wrong, you’ve probably Googled: Can I clean render with bleach? More times than you can count. And, each time, you probably came across a different answer.

Lots of places claim you must never use bleach or a bleach solution on render. In reality, bleach is used by most professionals when it comes to cleaning render! To help solve your confusion, here’s everything you need to know about the best way to clean render, and whether bleach is safe to use.

Can you use bleach when you clean render?

First of all, let’s settle this.

Yes, you can use bleach to clean render , says RenWash. However, do not start dousing your exterior walls with bleach straight from the bottle – that will do more harm than good. A bleach solution, however, is perfectly safe when used carefully. In fact, like mentioned above, most professionals will use a bleach solution when they soft wash rendered surfaces.

What is soft washing?

Soft washing is the safest method of render cleaning, and is the alternative method to pressure washing. It involves using a low pressure stream of water in addition to algaecides (chemicals to kill algae growth and prevent regrowth), biocides (to stop biological growth), surfactants (decreases surface tension), commercial degreaser, and sodium hypochlorite (bleach).

This chemical cocktail allows soft washing to kill organic matter, prevent regrowth, clean dirt, remove staining, remove grease, and completely clean the render. Soft washing render works effectively, because its cleaning solution is well thought through, and each of the cleaning chemicals used cleans render in a different way. The cleaning process saves you from having to apply multiple treatments, which is one of the reasons it is favoured by the average render cleaning company.

Why is bleach used in soft washing render?

With everything else that is in the cleaning solution, you might be wondering why sodium hypochlorite is necessary. The answer is that it’s really useful in the cleaning process, as it kills biological growth really fast. In fact, it is one of the best cleaning methods for green algae and other mould spores/organic matter.

If your render has any of the following:

  • fungus
  • green mould
  • black mould or black staining
  • mould spores
  • moss
  • lichen
  • red algae growth
  • green algae growth

Then you’ll likely find that the bleach will kill or remove these. It’s great at removing staining from render, so even when moss or algae has left a big mark on your render, sodium hypochlorite can help to remove it. Alongside the other cleaning chemicals, it works really well to get exterior walls back to their normal colour. This is why the average render cleaning company uses it!

How do I soft wash my rendered surfaces?

If you’re not going to hire a render cleaning company, and you want to learn your own render cleaning methods, then this is what you need to do. First of all, you’ll need to purchase soft wash equipment. A handheld soft wash tank and nozzle will do just fine. Then, you’ll need some cleaning chemicals. You can buy soft wash cleaning solutions in bottles at hardware stores.

To start with, you should apply the chemicals to the wall and brush them using a broom or scrubbing brush – being sure not to go too hard. Then, rinse the chemicals away. Once done, you can decide whether to do an additional coat.

Can I clean render without bleach?

There are a few other methods of cleaning render. You could do a soft wash and simply spray a solution without bleach in it, for one. But there are other techniques all together, some of which are more recommended than others. For example:

Pressure washing

Where soft washing uses a gentle stream, pressure washing uses water at high pressures to blast the dirt away. It does not use chemicals, and so many people think that using a pressure washer is safer. In reality, pressure washers themselves can cause injury, and pressure washing your render can damage the render. It can cause cracks and holes in the render which then allow water and moisture through. This then causes blow outs, penetrating damp, organic growth and mould. All of which are detrimental to the property, and even the property owners!

If you are insistent on using pressure to clean your render, then you should hire (or at very least speak to)a render cleaning company. They will be able to advise you on what’s best for your rendered surfaces.

Jet washing

Often mistaken for pressure washing, jet washing is essentially doing a steam clean. It uses high power, high temperature steam to remove the dirt and organic matter. A very light jet wash is generally considered to be safe for render, however it is still recommended that you contact a render cleaning company if you’re thinking of jet washing render, as they will have the equipment and know how to do your render cleaning safely!

Soapy water

On a regular basis, you can use liquid detergent and warm water to clean your render carefully. This works well to spot clean the render, and can even prevent you from needing to do any jet washing or large-scale render cleaning. Save yourself from needing to jet wash by simply cleaning the render as and when you can see it needs it with hot soapy water. Be sure not to scrub too hard so that you don’t cause any cracks.

Melissa Jane Lee

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