Each part of the country faces its own specific soil issues and its own “typical” house surface, and area contractors must seek out the best cleaner formula for that particular set of circumstances. Some contractors are looking for something unique, to set themselves apart from competition. Others are looking for the fastest or the cheapest or the easiest to use, etc.
Contractors who do not make the effort to educate themselves almost always default to some combination of bleach and soap because this combination is inexpensive, easy to get, and it works on some basic level.
Our previous discussion about chemical and cleaners has shown you that bleach alone doesn’t clean, and bleach presents some significant risks to the surfaces being cleaned. In Marketing class we discuss that using cleaners like this makes you the same (in your customer’s eyes) as the next guy – which means that price will be the only factor determining who gets the work. That is a losing proposition no matter how you look at it.
Many contractors enhance their work by using packaged cleaners mixed with extra ingredients, creating their own personal house wash mixtures. This could include products like water-soluble waxes (to add a little sparkle to the finished job) and rinse aids (to minimize spotting without the expense of softened or DI water).
There are abundant formulas for house washes that are passed around on the internet and wherever contractors gather. Some of those formulas involve ready-to-use products and some involve mixing raw chemicals yourself. We suggest you avoid the temptation to use raw chemicals. Untrained use of raw chemicals is extremely dangerous and can result in serious injury or death. For example, mixing bleach with ammonia creates mustard gas – which can be fatal.
Commercially prepared products are designed for the job and for the operator. Commercially prepared products come with directions, warranties, and product liability insurance coverage for your protection and your customer’s safety. If you use raw chemicals, YOU are liable for any resulting problems – including property damage.
A contractor sometimes thinks of packaged cleaners as expensive. The right way to think about cleaner costs is that the good ones save you time and, therefore, save you money. The difference between home-made products and prepared cleaners is often just pennies per job. Your customer ultimately pays for your cleaners, so treat them to the best overall value and performance you can find. Use products that will minimize any surface damage so that you maximize the income you get to keep.
Manufacturers of house washing tools often offer suggestions for house wash formulas. Many power wash dealers offer recipes as well. Manufacturers of packaged cleaners will often give you ideas on what to mix with their products to get excellent results. We suggest that you try several of these formulas. Once you have experienced them, select the product or combination of products and additives that works best for you in your area.