Deposit Removal 101

#1
deposit removal
I know that you are going to all be shocked by this, but the basic reason that we operate power washers is to remove undesired elements, dirt, oil, mildew or mold, from a surface or substrate.
When these things are adhering to a surface, they are forming an electrostatic bond. How things are cleaned, or deep cleaned is by breaking that bond that allows it to adhere to a surface.
There are a few basic ways that this can be accomplished.
1. Agitation. This can be accomplished by using a brush or towel, or some other mechanical means to agitate the surface in order to know the electrons out of alignment so that they can hold on. Think of it as when you were playing red rover as a kid. You would say "Send Johnny right over" and he would run and try to break the bonds of you holding hands with the person next to you. Sometimes he would break through, and other times he wouldn't break through until the third or fourth time, after you were getting tired of holding hands. That is the same way a brush works. It agitates and works the grime until it breaks the electrostatic bond. Typically, there is a soap or lubricant that allows the brush to work more effectively, because it makes it easier for the brush to work. Pressure also works to break the bonds, but is not nearly as effective. Pressure is less controllable when you are doing the work on sensitive, or painted surfaces.
2. Chemically. There are two different ways that chemicals work to break the electrostatic bond. The first is by helping what ever the deposit is move closer to a neutral PH. Often, knowing the PH of something really helps in cleaning, because if you use something with a two much of an opposite PH, such as a super strong Caustic, to remove a mild acid, you are going to run into problems with a caustic burn, and the same with a strong acid. Ideally, you should use just enough of an acid or caustic to neutralize the deposit and then make it easily removable. If done properly, you are also reversing the electrostatic charge, so that the deposits are more easily removable.
You can also two step items. The principle on reversing PH is really strong with this method. The idea with two stepping is that you bring an entire area to a consistent PH, then you use another chemical to remove it, so that you know exactly the chemistry exactly. Typically, two stepping is accomplished by applying a strong acid, then a strong caustic to neutralize each other, and allow the deposits to flush off.

So, this is our first little explanation, of deposit removal 101
 

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