Is Pressure Washing Bad for the Environment? | Charleston Pressure Washing Skip to main content
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Is Pressure Washing Bad for the Environment?

Reclaim system blog

With the increasing importance of becoming an environmentally friendly society, all businesses are having to confront their contribution to environmental pollution. From software companies to chemical suppliers, all business entities are beginning to create dedicated environmental stewardship departments to keep up-to-date with the latest in eco-friendly practices. So that poses the question, how do pressure washing companies mitigate potential pollution?

We are going to show you the environmental improvements coming in all sides of our business – the latest in equipment, chemicals, and best management practices. Advancement in technology in all sectors has made our job much easier in becoming an eco-friendly company in our area.

New Equipment

Pressure washing companies used to solely rely on gasoline powered motors to pump out water at high pressure. We still use pressure washers for many of our jobs, especially those requiring a concrete cleaning.

12 Volt System – This is a type of soft wash setup that puts out the same pressure as a household garden hose. A 12 volt system consists of a deep cycle marine battery and a 12 volt pump along with other part such as a proportioner (allows the user to change the amount of chemical applied instantaneously). These setups can clean everything from roofs to stucco – the only exception is they aren’t powerful enough to effectively clean concrete.

12V systems are quiet – you can only hear a quiet humming noise of the pump while operating. They also produce no gasoline emissions as they are electrically powered. The only major downside is that they are less powerful than gas-powered pressure washers. Below is a 12 volt system from Arkansas Soft Wash Kits.

Reclaim System – If you don’t want chemical runoff from a driveway cleaning to run down drains, this is the technology for you. Reclaim systems are often used in commercial applications for places such as warehouse interiors, gas stations, fast food restaurants, and mechanic shops. In summary, as water from a surface cleaner is being pushed out at high pressure, it is sucked up by a vacuum almost instantly after penetrating the surface below. The dirty water then passes through a filtration system, where water is recycled and the dirt and grime is caught by a filter in a collection tank.

The only downside to reclaim systems are that they take up extra space on trucks and expensive. For companies that do a lot of commercial work, these are ideal for high traffic areas. Below is a water reclaim system from Sirocco.

Pev230 blog

Better Chemicals

Chemical use has changed drastically over the course of pressure washing history. Chemicals such as trisodium phosphate (TSP) and muriatic acid were seen in almost every pressure washing company’s chemical lineup. Due to environmental concerns, such chemicals have taken a back seat and are used sparingly when needed. Better chemicals have taken over the industry.

Peroxide Cleaners – These chemicals are a broad classification for solutions containing hydrogen peroxide as an active ingredient. Its chemical structure is H2O2 – when this molecule interacts with organic contaminants, the byproduct is water and oxygen, which are of course not environmentally harmful. This makes peroxide based cleaners a great option for dock cleaning where a body of water is nearby. One of our favorite peroxide cleaners is Green Ox Renew by GreenFlow Distribution. What sets this chemical apart is that it has a peroxide activator included, which makes it more potent and effective than household hydrogen peroxide.

Peroxide cleaners blog

Organic acids – Although this group of chemicals is completely different in application than peroxide cleaners, they are a broad classification of replacements for traditional acid cleaners such as muriatic acid and hydrochloric acid. Organic acids can be great for processes such as graffiti removal, rust removal, calcium removal, and wood brightening. The reason organic acids are more environmentally friendly than non-organic acids is that any byproducts after cleaning remain to be organic materials so that way they can be easily decomposed in the environment.

There are many companies that employ organic acids as their active ingredients. They are almost always more expensive per volume than store-brand non-organic acids, but they provide better cleaning results and are guaranteed to be better for the environment. One of our favorite chemicals that contains organic acids is Oceancare Calcium Releaser, which causes calcium deposits to foam up and dissolve, allowing for easy cleaning on pool tiles and brick surfaces. Below is a before and after photo from a pool tile restoration project we did that had major calcium buildup.

Pool tile blog

Best Management Practices

Often shortened as BMP, best management practices are a companies’ stated and written methods to reducing environmental pollution. We employ our own set of BMPs using guidelines and recommendations from the UAMCC, local enviromental regulators, and federal guidelines. Here are some of our practices that keep our communities safe.

Chemical Overspray – We take several factors and precautions into preventing chemical overspray from getting on landscaping, vehicles, etc. We rinse down any neighbor’s houses with water if we suspect the wind has carried any of our chemical solution in the wind. We also will use a chemical neutralizer on plants that are in the direct line of chemical application. Small steps like these prevent major problems in our operation. Out of respect we always take the necessary precautions.

Drain filters – Whenever we have a driveway cleaning on our hands, we make sure to use a filter downstream of the water flow heading toward the storm drains. These filters collect dirt and grime to prevent any contaminants from our clienteles’ property, as well as our own chemicals, from heading into the water supply.

Our Promise at Mount Pleasant Pressure Washing

We pride ourselves on being the top-rated company in the Charleston Area for environmentally friendly cleaning and restoration. The owner, Alex Hammond, has a background in chemistry and biology that allows our team to have in-depth knowledge about what chemicals were cleaning your property with, and how to prevent any potential damages. We are constantly searching for the best our industry has to offer in environmentally friendly cleaners and equipment. If you want to experience premier exterior cleaning for your home, give us a call our use our intake form to get on our schedule.

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