Spring? Summer? It's too wet and cold to bother in the later months, right? This is a common, reasonable misconception.
There's something about being dragged through the frigid winter months into Springtime that kicks us into gear. The sun breaks through the overcast sky, the daylight lasts a touch longer, and color returns to the trees, flowers, and grass. Life stirs once again, algae and mold included.
So, in the midst of Spring Cleaning, whether you've been dreading or anxiously awaiting it, the thought of cleaning is at the forefront of your mind. Getting the house washed is likely one of your priorities. While this isn't a bad time to have someone knock the green and black gunk off the siding, the question remains: is this actually the best time to wash my house?
The Short Answer
The cooler the weather, the better.
The Long Answer
The cooler the weather, the better (to a certain extent). 32 degrees Fahrenheit is that extent for a few reasons, some more obvious than others. The obvious, of course: no one wants to play with a giant squirt gun in gusting, icy wind, nor does anyone want their garden hose or outdoor faucet freezing through, cracking and bursting.
The less obvious reasons have to do with chemical concentration and plain ol' evaporation.
Keeping The Lawn Green
If you're big into your lawn and garden, you're elated for the warmer months ahead. The morning frost is no more, now morning dew. The grass is green and growing once again. You've likely put down fertilizer and have held the inaugural first mow of the season. While the freezing weather and cold have moved on, a threat still remains.
House washing, as I've mentioned in prior articles, does have its downsides if done improperly. The greatest concern with regard to your home is generally the well-intentioned homeowner pressure washing the house. This opens up the potential for water to find itself trapped underneath the siding, high pressure loosening the siding, or even blasting a screen out of a window. If you've done your research, you've found it's best to soft wash, not pressure wash the house. Although this is the safest method of cleaning your home's exterior, done incorrectly, you're opening Pandora's Box right on your prized lawn. This is because the byproduct of decomposing algaecide is (drum roll) salt.
It's no surprise, salt is not something we want applied to the lawn. This is why Orange Power Wash has cut the concentration of industry-standard cleaning chemicals, and it's why we've substituted with gentle, natural orange. While it does take us longer to knock the algae and mold off your home, we can guarantee no harm to your well-established lawn.
Salt is destructive to the lawn, but what does that have to do with house washing in cooler weather?
Keeping The Siding Clean
Springtime turns more than just the lawn green, unfortunately. As the weather warms and humidity swells, we find ourselves dealing with the perfect storm for algae and mildew to sweep across the North and West faces of the property. Lying dormant since temperatures plunged in typical Midwest fashion the year before, March and April are its second wind. The roots, per se, dig in and reach for new surfaces on which they'll attempt to take over.
Mold and algae are hardy blights, surviving the most extreme conditions from miles high in the atmosphere to miles below our feet. You best believe they'll have no issue surviving on your home. The longer they're left to their own accord, the more stubborn and difficult they are to remove, particularly with the gentle detergents we use, and that's the kicker when soft washing a home in our scalding Midwestern summers: evaporation.
As addressed above, we cut the concentration of those harsh cleaning agents to protect your lawn, garden, and the planet at large, but this presents a challenge when dealing with evaporation; once our detergent is applied, the clock begins ticking. Because only the water base of the solution will evaporate, we're left with less time for mold and algae to soak up the detergent. We call this "dwell time." It's the amount of time needed for the applied solution to kill off the grime on your house. The correct way to combat the evaporative force is to mist over the primary application, keeping the surface wet.
What most companies will do instead is mix a seriously hot slurry of chemicals together, douse the siding, and rinse immediately. While this does clean the siding quickly, it burns the lawn, and any of their mix misting around the house now contaminates your lawn, the neighbor's lawn, and all of the delicate plants and trees surrounding your property. Japanese Maples, for instance, are especially prone to chemical burns from these hot, harsh mixes. These companies will warn you that some damage may occur, they'll wash your house in a few minutes, collect their check, and bolt to the next unassuming customer.
What Do You Reccomend?
We suggest scheduling a cleaning for the Fall or Spring. The truly ideal time to have your house washed is in cooler weather, especially in the Fall; our detergent has a longer time to work without battling the heat, and less simply needs to be applied. That said, we can take care of you regardless the time of year, even in the middle of July.
On a hot summer day, Orange Power Wash takes the correct approach to soft washing, and that's misting over the afflicted surface to keep our detergent active. Does it take more time? Effort? Absolutely. But we're your neighbors. We're not out to collect a quick check. All good things take time, and that includes the proper care of your home when soft washing.