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Will Pressure Washing With Bleach Kill Grass?

Pressure washing with bleach can be an effective method for cleaning various outdoor surfaces, but it's essential to consider its potential impact on surrounding vegetation, particularly grass. While bleach is a potent disinfectant and can effectively remove stains, mold, mildew, and algae, its use around grass requires caution. In this article, we will cover how to safely pressure wash if using bleach to avoid killing grass.

Note: Bleach is the term we are using here for searchability online. Sodium Hypochlorite is more commonly used for pressure-washing applications. Bleach sometimes contains sodium hypochlorite and the two can be used in place of each other if needed. All information in this article still applies to sodium hypochlorite application.

Bleach, in its concentrated form, is highly toxic to plants and can cause damage if not applied carefully. When pressure washing with bleach near grass, there's a risk of overspray or runoff coming into contact with the grass blades, roots, or soil. This contact can lead to discoloration, burning, or even the death of the grass.

To minimize the risk of harm to grass when pressure washing with bleach, several precautions should be taken:

pressure washing extension wand
Sodium Hypochlorite (a similar chemical to bleach) being applied in Waukesha, WI

Dilution: Dilute bleach with water to create a milder solution. A typical mixture for outdoor cleaning might consist of one part bleach to nine parts water. This dilution reduces the concentration of bleach and lessens its potential impact on vegetation.

Preparation: Before applying bleach near grassy areas, wet the grass thoroughly with plain water. This preemptive measure helps to dilute any bleach that may accidentally come into contact with the grass, reducing its harmful effects. Plants will absorb some fluid through their leaves and if water is absorbed the bleach solution will absorb less readily and minimize plant damage.

Targeted Application: Use precision when applying the bleach solution, directing the spray away from grassy areas as much as possible. Adjust the nozzle to control the spray pattern and minimize overspray.

Rinsing: After cleaning the intended surface with bleach, thoroughly rinse the area with water. This rinsing process helps to remove any residual bleach from nearby grass, further reducing the risk of damage.

Timing: Avoid pressure washing with bleach during hot, dry periods when grass is already stressed. Opt for cooler, overcast days when the grass is actively growing and better able to recover from any potential damage. The wind is also a consideration as the bleach solution can drift toward the grass on a windy day.

pressure washing extension wand
Pressure Washing near grass in Oshkosh, WI

For more info on pressure washing, read our guide to pressure washing.

While pressure washing with bleach can be an effective cleaning solution, it's crucial to prioritize the health and well-being of surrounding vegetation, including grass. By following these precautions and exercising care during application, it's possible to minimize the risk of harm to grass while still achieving the desired cleaning results.

At EcoWash, we have had very few problems ever with killing grass or plants during our pressure washing services. While we do not use bleach in our treatments, sodium hypochlorite is used quite often and can have a similar effect to bleach. For more information on pressure washing or to get a free house washing estimate, reach out to EcoWash today.


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