March 01, 2016 5 Comments
Recently a customer raised some concerns about the noise of using a pressure washer or petrol driven pump to clean headstones and gravestones in cemeteries.
As Leo spent several years working as a gravedigger back in the '70s we thought we'd shed some light on this lucrative softwash market.
Back in the day Leo used a pick, shovel, and fork to dig graves. And he moved the earth around the cemetery with a hand cart. The only disturbance to tranquility came from petrol driven lawnmowers during the summer. But today graves are mostly dug by noisy machines and earth is transported around by motorised dump trucks.
Cemeteries have become less peaceful.
The noise of a petrol driven softwash pump, especially considering the short period of time it would be used, should not be an issue. Of course if you can get your van close enough to the headstone your electric pump will do the job just fine, and this would be the preferable choice.
It could be possible to attach a hosepipe to the cemetery's standpipe. That would work if there was a tap close enough. And if no-one else wanted to use the tap.
But cemeteries, even quite large ones, often have no more than a couple of taps. And this means many headstones will be too far away for a hosepipe to reach. Therefore the best option is to take your own water supply with you in your van.
Alternatively you could use a backpack sprayer, although we've found they can tend to leak and so it would be essential to wear chemical-proof protective clothing.
If you are going to use a pressure washer to renovate a headstone – and with the softwashing innovations of Benz Lightning Cleanze and Bio Cleanze there's rarely a need now – we strongly suggest using low pressure, a fan jet, and holding the nozzle at least 12 inches away from the surface. These precautions will help reduce the weathering effect on the stone that is a downside of pressure washing.
Use the pressure washer in the same way to rinse Lightning Cleanze off after gently brushing it into the surface and leaving for 30-60 minutes.
If you are concerned about possible damage to lettering, etc on a specific gravestone it would be wise to contact the stonemason responsible and ask for their opinion. If that is not possible ask any qualified and competent stonemason for their professional advice. It's highly unlikely there would be a problem but materials are changing all the time.
Lightning Cleanze at 5:1 will do an excellent job of cleaning most stonework (although as with any softwashing job, always treat a small, inconspicuous test patch on the rear of the headstone first).Then, to give the headstone long-lasting residual protection against re-colonisation finish off with a treatment of Bio Cleanze at 50:1 (40:1 in winter). *
Quick tip: If you use a steam cleaner we strongly suggest finishing the job with a treatment of Bio Cleanze *.
This is because, although the high temperature of the steam will certainly kill most organisms, and the initial cleaning effect can be excellent, the surface will re-colonise again almost immediately.
* Some headstones now have a glossy, non-porous finish. For these, post-treating with Benz Bio Cleanze would be of relatively little value as it will be unable to soak into the surface and offer residual protection against re-colonisation. Most of the time, Lightning Cleanze applied at 10:1 dilution will be an adequate softwash treatment for these headstones.
Quick tip: Offer your service by leaving a laminated calling card at graves that are still being cared for (usually they will have flowers or tended plants). Many people will want to have the headstone of their loved one made more presentable and pleasant to look at. Obviously, use sensitive language on your card to respect the feelings of the relatives whose loved ones lay in the grave.
We hope this information is useful.
Ben, Leo & Fiona
PS: We have been informed that some church officials may object to the use of cleaning chemicals within their grounds. So it would be wise to check that the church authorities will allow soft washing. Remember to assure them of the ecologically sound credentials of Benz softwash cleaning products.
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July 21, 2021
We use pencil jets in our brushes because we've found they don't clog or break as much as fan jets.
In the case of the Gardiner 45cm brush we use four of them. We turn the pump down so the flow rate is acceptable and does not produce much run-off.
Flow control at the pole is still critical however. Click the link on this page to learn about the solution we've found to be so successful ...
July 15, 2021
July 10, 2021
Some customers have wondered why we add IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) to Benz Bio Cleanze. So we thought we'd clear this up and clarify the situation once and for all.
Click the link on this page to read the full Trade Tips post ...
It's a free resource for people wanting to learn about the soft washing industry, to expand an existing business, or build a new business.
Soft washing reduces, or even eliminates, the need to use high-pressure washing.
Instead, once the build up of algae, lichen, fungus, moss and mould – the root causes of properties looking "dirty" – has been treated, the natural "self-cleansing" of sun, rain and wind removes the surface residue through time.
By educating the cleaning trade and public about soft washing we are helping develop an industry that offers sustainable treatments to clean and maintain exterior hard surfaces.
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