What chemicals are safe for listed (historic / heritage) buildings?

April 27, 2022

Are Benz softwash chemicals safe for listed (historic / heritage) buildings?

Some owners of historic (aka heritage / listed) buildings tell cleaning contractors they don't want "chemicals" used on their property.

Unfortunately, the word "chemical" has become a blanket word associated in minds of some people with damage to property and our environment (a belief that's more than a bit silly when we consider that all animal and plant life – including our human bodies – is composed of chemicals ... 🙄 ).

But just why are some owners of historic / heritage listed properties wary of soft washing chemicals?

The first step a contractor should take if a potential customer objects to their using chemicals to clean their listed building, is to ask them for the specific reason for their objection.

It's important to get to the "why" of their belief that chemicals could damage the property they love and want to care for. And you are never going to know what that reason is until you, politely, ask them. Guesswork and unfounded assumptions can lead to misunderstanding and lost business.

And it's vital to know specifically which chemical your potential customer is reluctant to have used. Because without that knowledge it is impossible to put their mind at ease regarding the products you propose to use to clean their listed heritage property.

Quick tips: 

1) If your customer, or someone they know or have read about, has had a bad experience of, for example, contractors hosing down their property with excessively strong solutions of sodium hypochlorite (aka "sh" & "hypo") then their fear may be well be valid and understandable. 

We've heard horror stories of sodium hypochlorite solutions of up to 50% (1:1) being jetted 40 feet high, soaking the entire property and the operatives. We regard this practice as being foolhardy at best and extremely dangerous at worst.

2) Because of the legislation that applies to some listed properties, and what can be a "hard to budge" entrenched fear of cleaning chemicals, we suggest proceeding with great caution when cleaning historic buildings, especially those with preservation orders.

Some preservation and church authorities will only allow low pressure steam cleaning no matter what arguments and facts they are presented with regarding the skilled and respectful use of modern cleaning chemicals.

Ironically, in the context of treating heritage buildings, this fearful attitude is almost certainly a legacy from the historical use of strong bleach, which does have the potential to damage some surfaces and the health of operators.

What makes Benz Lightning Cleanze safe for listed historic / heritage listed buildings?

Benz Lightning Cleanze contains sodium hypochlorite but at the dilution levels we recommend it is government classified as non-corrosive

Quick tips:
Lightning Cleanze is the only fully government approved (UK & Ireland) sodium hypochlorite based softwash biocide. As such it is the only sodium hypochlorite based product that can legally be called a biocide.

2) It can be worth pointing out to your more concerned customers that sodium hypochlorite ("chlorine") is used to:

  • Kill bugs in their tap water to make it safe to drink
  • Disinfect babies bottles
  • Sanitise swimming pools, making them safe and clean for everyone to enjoy.

Sadly, some customers do not understand this because of the unprofessional and dangerous practices of a minority of cleaning contractors, who use unnecessarily high concentrations of sodium hypochlorite.

Combined with the misleading information touted by some mainstream and alternative media about the dangers of "chlorine", some customers have come to think that any product containing chlorine-producing chemicals must be dangerous.

Click here to read a more in-depth technical description of Lightning Cleanze, its safety, and how it works

What to do if your customer refuses to let you soft wash their property with "chlorine"?

Benz Bio Cleanze is the product we most often use when customers tell us they are concerned about "chemicals" and "chlorine". It contains zero sodium hypochlorite or chlorine, is fully bio-degradable and does not bio-accumulate, and does not damage any known building materials.

We use it for treating most historic / heritage listed buildings, including those with thatched roofs. And we rarely encounter further sales resistance once we've clearly and logically explained the facts to a potential customer.

Quick tip: Explaining the facts to your customers – without using sales hype and without trying to manipulate or pressurise them into buying – will usually be enough to convince them to give your company and our products a try.

Let them know that Benz Bio Cleanze: 

  • Is bio-degradable
  • Does not bio-accumulate
  • Contains zero sodium hypochlorite or chlorine
  • Will not damage any known building materials when correctly applied using the techniques and dilutions recommended on the product labelling and information supplied on this website

If they need further convincing, send them our SDS – it's in our Product Documentation Pack – along with other relevant product information, which you will find included in the pack.

And of course proving the safety of our products via a small test area, with your customer's prior permission, is an important means of validation and will often clinch the sale.

The simple fact is that Benz softwash chemicals have never been shown to harm the hard surfaces of any property when applied correctly and at the dilution strengths we recommend

Click here to get more practical soft washing how-to tips

How to find answers to most soft washing questions: Simply enter a relevant "keyword" or short phrase (e.g. keyword for above link = "how to") into our in-site Search Engine (the magnifying glass icon on main menu) 

You can order Benz Softwash chemicals & equipment online or by phone:

GB (England, Scotland, Wales)

Phone: 0800 70 74 222 

Online: www.benzsoftwash.co.uk

Ireland and other countries

Phone: 00353 214 622 978

Online: www.benzsoftwash.com

Lines open Monday - Friday, 9am – 5pm

Please note: The above numbers are for orders only (click here for tech support)

We hope this information is helpful and sincerely wish you great success in your soft washing business,

Ben, Leo, Fiona, Stevie & Anthony

PS: After completing the first softwash treatment, put your customer on a "Clean & Maintain" ongoing maintenance programme. Customers will enjoy a permanently clean property and contractors will enjoy a steady stream of repeat business.

This is clearly a win-win arrangement for both customer and contractor.


Click here to explore the extensive range of Benz softwash cleaning chemicals & equipment

Benz Softwash Bio Cleanze DDAC biocide & Benz Softwash Lightning Cleanze SH sodium hypochlorite biocide

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