When Bleach Harms Paint


New Member
I have a window cleaning business, and we added power washing a number of years ago. We clean a lot of pavement, houses, pool screens and the occasional wooden deck. We use 10% chlorine, and we have never had a problem...until now.

We cleaned a pool screen and driveway and washed the windows inside and out. As we were finishing up, I noticed that the eaves had been discolored by the bleach overspray. I had cleaned this woman's pool screen a half dozen times before over the years, and this had never happened before! Nor had it happened anywhere else.

The house had been repainted earlier in the year, so I called a friend at a painnt store and asked him if he knew of a paint that could not be sprayed with bleach. He said it was rare, but there are certain color pigments that react badly to bleach.

While I was talking to the paint guy, the woman's cleaning lady was the first person to weigh in that I was using too much bleach. I insisted that we used the same thing we always used here and everywhere else.

Since then, she has withheld a substantial amount of what she owes me, and has been trying to get the contractor, who has dodged her calls. The Sherwin Williams dealer, the paint supplier, has also failed to return her calls. Meanwhile, the pool guy also decided to weigh in and said that I used too much bleach. People who don't do this for a living are quite ready to put the blame on me, but I would like to see what you have to say. Here are some pictures:


You can see the original color on the left, and the discoloration on the right...


I pointed out that the blue paint could not have been missed by the overspray, yet it has no discoloration, just as it never has in the past when I cleaned it before.


Once again, new paint, screwed up; old paint, no problem.

I'd be glad to hear from you guys. If I am on the hook for this, I will NOT be paying for the whole house to be repainted with something that will not discolor. I will just make her whole by repainting the affected areas with the same paint. After all, it's my nickel. That means this will probably happen again to someone else...

john orr

New Member
When you say 10%, I assume you don't actually spray 10%, right? I assume you are downstreaming? I have been downstreaming for years and have never had a problem. The only issue I have ever noticed is that some paint on ceilings or eaves appears to fade - especially as drops form. 100% of the time, these discolored areas return to normal. Have you been back to inspect?


New Member
The chemical injector mixes water and chlorine 5:1. I guess that makes the actual chlorine content 1% by the time it gets to the painted surface.

I have been back, and it has stayed in the condition shown in the photos.

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