The success of the Softwash revolution cannot be attributed solely to its high level of efficiency and long-lasting results. The conscious effort to keep our biocide and application process as safe for the environment as possible has played a vital role. We regard this part of our profession as highly important; it is the responsibility of any modern business as well as being in harmony with the needs of the ethical consumer.

Although our Softwash Solution is highly potent in its concentrated form, the diluting process that occurs before application pushes the chemical-to-water ratio beyond any potentially harmful condition. The finely tuned chemistry that consists in our biocide ensures that it destroys only its intended target, while leaving the surrounding working environment virtually unaffected. The chemicals in the solution begin to degrade at a rapid rate on contact with the offending organisms, eventually stabilising at a neutral PH to become harmless for pets and wildlife.

Our application process works on the same principle: low-pressure delivery and calculated chemical ratios ensure the application is localised to the affected area while massively reducing water use- another environmental plus!

These attributes have earned our biocide health and safety approval at every administrative level.

What is Biofilm?

A Biofilm can consists of any combination of algae, mould, mildew, fungi, yeasts and protozoa that stick to a surface, establish their roots, and grow and multiply photosynthetically.

These microorganisms favour porous surfaces with hospitable mineral compositions. This means that most typical building and wall finishes are vulnerable to some type of biofilm colonisation. Their insidious growth through constant metabolic activity works its way inward to degrade the physical integrity of the affected structure, and outward to degrade the structures appearance and its ability to repel rainwater.

Algae and cyanobacteria are types of Phototropic microorganism, so named for their use of sunlight as an energy source. They form a dense mucous-like membrane as they multiply, eventually assuming a furry fibrous texture that covers surface areas completely. Even high quality masonry paints with anti-fungal properties can be colonised when environmental conditions prevail.

Phototropic microorganisms can be some of the most unsightly surface colonisers, expressing themselves in a gaudy bright green that is bound to clash with any building design or colour scheme. Their fine, fibrous quality clings fast to porous surfaces, making it very difficult to completely eradicate by means of power washing.

Species include:

    – Desmococcus olivaceus
    – Haemaotococcus pluvialis
    – Cyanobacteria Nostoc sp.(Devil Spit)
    – Filamentous Cyanobacteria
Red algae, or trentepohlia, can be some of the toughest to remove. If left untreated it forms a robust layer of biofilm against which power washing is futile.

One DIY solution is to attack it with bleach, but whatever positive results this may appear to achieve, they are only temporary; the ominous red stain reappears after a relatively short period of time. Furthermore, this method is almost guaranteed to damage or stain the surface due to the highly corrosive nature of the bleach. Pets, children, the environment and the Applicator are also put at risk for the same reason.

The red algae itself is adaptable and undiscriminating, being known to affect pebble dash, render, brick, paint, wood, stone and other surfaces. The species favours temperate climates with plenty of rain and high humidity, earning it a notorious reputation in areas like the west of Ireland where it has affected thousands of buildings along the coast. As air purity improves due to environmental reforms, the algae is now moving inland towards many landlocked counties.

Unsightly black staining is usually caused by chemoorganotrophic fungi. These fungi favour stone surfaces and can be found mainly on roofs, pebble dash, pavements and render walls. Like all fungi, they grow through the downward extension of root-like hyphae that form sub-surface networks called mycelium. This process can undermine the surfaces physical composition. The consequent decay can cause longterm damage to buildings. By releasing dark pigment (melanin) the fungi deteriorates the surfaces appearance.

Fungi are fast-growing organisms that spread by the release of spores into the atmosphere, making power washing a particularly misguided solution to the problem; in fact, it often helps them to spread!

Species Include:

    – Aspergillus Niger
    – Alternaria
    – Cladosporium
    – Penicillium
Mosses are types non-vascular plant in the botanical classification Bryophyta. Being thirsty photosynthetic organisms that love moisture and need sunlight, mosses are commonly found on roofs.

Once establishing a colony on any rooftop, moss can wreak havoc in a number of ways. If it’s left to multiply, sufficient volume of moss can push and dislodge roof tiles as it expands and grows. Weather can cause it to break off and roll into gutters and block them. It also absorbs rain water and atmospheric moisture, becoming heavy and putting downward pressure on its host structure. Moss can also serve as a vehicle for capillary action, carrying water up and under fixings and tiles and accelerating water erosion.

As well as all this structural damage, moss is also extremely ugly. Over time it can thicken to such a degree that it can even change a buildings shape!

There are over 14,000 know species of moss, but a few most common to the British Isles are:

    – Grimmia pulvinata
    – Schistidium crassipilum
    – Tortula murals
Lichen is a composite entity comprised of two or more symbiotically related organisms, one of them invariably a fungus, the other often an algae. Lichens are identifiable by their flakey grey/green/yellow colour and the lesion-like splotches into which they form.

The fungus creates a crust , or thallus, that houses the alga, which in turn feeds itself and the fungus through photosynthesis. The fungal member of the partnership cannot survive without the alga. Algae can damage the substrate with the release of acids.

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