Cleaning homes can be a real dirty job, and that means we have to use some chemicals in our day. Fortunately, we only use non-hazardous chemicals that are bio-degradable. We use just enough power to kill what we need to, and not damage your surfaces. We kill the algae, bacteria and all the microbials that infest our homes and businesses. This means that the chemicals we use can also endanger our beautiful flowers and plants, and this goes for everyone in the cleaning industry who can clean our homes and businesses—not just us! Good news is we are certified and trained to care for your plants: Everything from grass to heirloom rose bushes passed down from your great grandmother. Let’s take a look at all the ways we make sure to care for your plants.
4 Ways A Plant Can Be Harmed
Mitigating plant damage starts with knowledge. We need to understand how plants are affected and what our role as a custom exterior cleaning company is in that damage. There are 4 main ways plants can be harmed: Caustic burns, sun burn form using plastic, salt poisoning from bleach, and then killing off beneficial bacteria in soil around the plants.
OOOO, IT BURNS!
Caustic burns take place when chemicals drop from the roof or home onto the plants. The leaves absorb the chemicals, and then defoliate due to toxic intake. We resolve this by constantly rinsing the plants with water before and during cleaning. We spend at least 10 minutes in each location saturating all the plants and flowers. Dried and concentrated chemicals that are on the roof can remoisten with morning dew and fall onto plants the next morning too, and so because of that we will rinse roofs that do not have any gutters above them.
Sometimes A Cover Hurts, Not Helps!
We often use plastic sheeting and tarps to cover and protect surfaces and plants, but ironically that can cause damage as well. Especially in mild settings, the plastic covering forms a greenhouse effect trapping heat and moisture overheating the plant into their dermal layer. Not every business will even cover your delicate plants. But when they do, they may leave the tarp covering for more than 15 minutes. This is bad! It will burn your plants and kill them. We use Tyvek which is more expensive, but it allows your plants to breathe.
Too Much Salt In My Food, Thank You
Salt poisoning can occur as well when high amounts of bleach are used by cleaning companies. Let’s consider the common danger of salt in a different setting: The main ingredient in herbicides is salt. We use it to kill weeds and pesky plants. In high concentrations it is very effective. Bleach does have a significant amount of salt in it. And because of this plants will react to the salt by dropping their leaves. When they intake through their roots, they will react similarly. It dehydrates the plant and constricts their pathways to transfer nutrients and water throughout the system. This is 9/10 times a temporary reaction, and based on the amount of exposure the plant had to bleach, it will almost always bounce back with regular watering.
Soil Bacteria Is A Lot Like Gut Bacteria
Let’s look at the soil now! If the solution we use to kill organic growth drops onto plants and then goes into the soil, that means it also can sterilize the microbes in the soil. Unfortunately, plants depend heavily on microbes in the soil. These microbes are called aerobic bacteria, or beneficial bacteria. It is like the relationship of microbes living on and within our own bodies. The root systems of plants have nodules on them that look like large knots. This beneficial bacteria lives in and around these nodules. They keep the nodules clean so that they can draw in nutrients by eating the unhealthy growth around it. Think of the little birds that pick the food out of the mouth of an alligator. This is a symbiotic relationship. When we sterilize the soil we kill that beneficial bacteria, and that’s not good. This is why it is important to not only saturate plants with water before exposure to bleach, but also during and then afterwards.
Three D’s: DIVERT, DILUTE, DECONTAMINATE
Champion SoftWash has a system for protecting our customer’s plants. The system revolves around 3 actions that all start with the letter D. We Divert, Dilute and Decontaminate. Divert means we divert the run-off of solution by seeing where it’s going and moving it around any delicate plants. We use gutter extenders to do this. We can also divert it to collect it, after which we can dilute it. Dilute is the next action. This means we moisten the landscape before, during and after cleaning which we have covered. The last action is Decontaminate and this means to remove and neutralize a dangerous substance like salt from a system. In our case the salt must be removed and the bleach must be neutralized. This is our main form of protecting plants and is performed after we are done servicing.
The Secret Weapon
Our secret weapon in protecting our customer’s plants and flowers through decontamination is a proprietary solution we use. When we rinse using water, we apply 1 ounce per gallon of our solution that does four wonderful things: It neutralizes bleach residue completely, it liquid feeds the plant through leaves, it provides a buffer to the leaves to protect against further exposure that may fall on top of the plant, and then it re-establishes the good and beneficial bacteria in the soil. Our customers have mentioned that their plants looked better after we left than before. That’s because not only do we baby them, but we feed them too!
We take incredible measures to make sure nothing happens to your plants. We clean, we sanitize, and we protect! Be sure to check our Facebook and seem awesome before and after photos we’re always posting! And follow us on Instagram too!