Sodium Hydroxide Mix


How are you guys been diluting your Sodium Hydroxide for decks? My mix currently seems a little too strong. Would like to see how low I can get it. I'm using hot water. Suggestions?
You are much more likely to "fuzz-up" wood when using hot water. Before adjusting how hot your mix is, try using cold water and see if that solves your problem.

Other than that, I downstream SH for cleaning un-stained decks/fences and even some oil-based stains. I use RPC Roof Magic (I suggested making a label calling it Deck Magic) and have a 5'er of RPC 4X - just in case.
clearview said:

are you saying you downstream sodium hydroxide or hypochlorite? thanks.
Well, that depends. My comment was for sodium hydroxide, but there are occasions when I will downstream sodium hypochlorite onto a deck - painted wood, solid stain, removing mold mildew only.
good to know. i was hoping i might be able to downstream it. are you using a dual lance wand to lower your pressure. i typically do with a yellow tip in it. 3500 psi unit.
I don't care for the dual lances. I use a chem (black) tip on a single lance. As for the tip I use to clean, I prefer the 40 degree (white) tip. On your machine, I would probably use a 10 (4010 or 40100) tip. This tip will reduce your pressure to about 600 psi and leave your flow at (I assume your machine has) 4gpm.
clearview said:
it's 4.7 gpm.
In that case, a 12.0 would give you close to 600 psi.

clearview said:
i haven't heard of the tip you're describing. is it a wider fan than white tip?
Every tip has two measurements, the spray angle (white is 40 degrees) and the size of the orifice. So, a 40120 is 40 degrees with a 12.0 orifice. The bigger the orifice, the lower the pressure.
No hot water. Lower your pressure. Let your chemicals do the work. Always apply a nuetralizer. Use a good stain. Don't practice on a customer's deck or fence.

Rules to live by...
Sodium Hydroxide beads

Can anyone tell me what proportions to mix Sodium Hydroxide beads with water for cleaning wooden deck? Thanks a lot,
Oxalic. Buy it straight at a chemical distributor. $55 for a 50 lb. bag or you can buy it from Bob at - mix what you need...
Sodium Hydroxide beads

Can anyone tell me what proportions to mix Sodium Hydroxide beads with water for cleaning wooden deck? I bought some from a chemical store and cleaned a friend`s deck. I have been experimenting on the proportion, but would like to ask pros on how much beads to mix per gallon of water to mix in? I know it may vary depending on the type and condition of old stain you are removing. Any piece of advice would be much appreciated.
Regarding do it yourself deck cleaner recipes:

Regarding do it yourself deck cleaner recipes: :confused:

Beware of Homemade Products
“If the Price is Too Good to be True – You are Probably
Getting more than you Paid (and Bargained) for!

It seems that these days everyone in the deck care business wants to be a chemist. The guy you
were competing with yesterday is “all of a sudden manufacturing and selling deck cleaners and
sealers.â€￾ And why not? It seems pretty easy – most of the ingredients are on the label or on the
MSDS sheets. Cleaners seem to be especially popular. If a reputable “store boughtâ€￾ cleaner
contains oxalic acid, just buy oxalic acid – it’s a whole lot cheaper. If a stripper contains sodium
hydroxide, just buy straight sodium hydroxide (wow ½ price!!). Who knows, maybe even mix
several of these products together for a “special blend.â€￾ With all the information out there, it
would appear that anyone could make products in their kitchen or garage “just as good as
In all seriousness, there is no question that when an independent contractor sees the cost
differential between a “store boughtâ€￾ product and the cost of the basic raw material -- he no
doubt feels the manufacturer is ripping him off.
This writer cannot deny that basic raw chemicals will cost a lot less than formulated products –
that’s a given. However, while these “homemade productsâ€￾ may look the same as the ones
manufactured by reputable companies, let me assure you they are completely different. Not
only are these products different, but there is a real danger to using these “homemadeâ€￾ products.
Put simply -- these products not only do not clean as well – they can cause real problems to the
coatings that are applied over them. The most common problem is lack of proper adhesion and
curing to a coating – which results in premature failures such as peeling, fading, and unevenness
(what’s worse – is that it may take several months for this to happen). This of course means
going back and stripping and recoating long before an expected date. Not only is it a pain in the
neck to go back for a “redoâ€￾ – the damage to your reputation lasts much longer. You can
probably say goodbye to any referral business from that customer (how does the saying go – “a
satisfied customer tells 3 people, an unsatisfied customer tells 30â€￾).
Bulletin #103
JULY – 2001
Page 1

When putting a product together that is going to work, a lot of technology must be applied. The
balancing of surfactants, the order of addition, proper rheological agents, and many other factors
go into the final product. These subtle additives and manufacturing techniques play a much
larger role in the effectiveness of a product than the bulk chemical itself. For instance, oxalic
acid by itself will clean wood, but if you do not have the proper balance of wetting agents it will
not rinse thoroughly (even with excessive rinsing with a powerwasher the acid will still remain
on the wood) especially on warm days. If then a water-based product is applied the residual acid
will interfere with the curing. This almost always leads to blushing, peeling and premature
failure. And, as I said above – these failures may not happen for several months. By that time
you have a real mess on your hands. You could be potentially looking at redoing every deck
you restored in that amount of time!
The use of sodium hydroxide as a wood cleaner/stripper has long been known. When dissolved
in water it is effective and potent. However, if a coating is going to be applied over a deck
stripped with this chemical – residual chemicals (much like the oxalic acid) that are not able to
be rinsed off must be neutralized. As you know, most “store boughtâ€￾sodium hydroxide products
require a second neutralizing step (it’s usually included). In the case of Wolman Deckstrip – we
have found a way to incorporate a neutralizing agent into the product itself – eliminating a
second step. If a sodium hydroxide product is not formulated properly, and not neutralized
properly – many problems can occur. For instance, many oil based coatings could simply
become “saponifiedâ€￾ -- which basically means they will be turned into water-soluble soaps.
These non drying soaps will be leached out by rain, and the coating could fail prematurely via
fading, peeling and erosion. Latex products could have their pH changed causing improper
drying and/or coalescing of the film.
Lastly, one major factor to think about when using “homemadeâ€￾ products is the safety of people
handling concentrated chemicals. Properly formulated oxalic acid, when diluted in water (and
all precautions are heeded), is a relatively low toxic material. The 100 % powder, however, is
highly toxic -- requiring proper care and the use of correct, established procedures when
handling. If a contractor decides to not take the proper safety precautions, and breathes the dust
of this acid on a regular basis – he could be setting himself up for possible severe central nervous
system/health problems. 100% sodium hydroxide is extremely corrosive and could cause severe
burns and scarring. It is also hydrophilic; which means it will draw in moisture. When this
happens heat is generated and under ideal conditions hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide can be
In conclusion, it would seem that the small amount of money saved by using homemade/generic
chemicals vs. formulated products is not worth the risk of premature failures and/or potentially
hazardous situations. As we said at the beginning, “if the price is too good to be true – you are
probably getting more than you paid (and bargained) for!â€￾
Bulletin #103
JULY – 2001
Page 2.
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Sodium Hydroxide beads

from what I have been reading on this forum, professionals use Sodium Hydroxide on decks and neutralize with Oxalic Acid.

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