John Peters

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TCHEM Projects: Keys To A Successful Commercial Cleaning Job

In today’s pressure washing project, we’re going to look at a new construction apartment complex. New construction comes with a whole different world of opportunity and issues as opposed to just residential cleaning. So let’s look at a couple of things that you’re considering when you get into construction cleanup:

  • How much square footage are you dealing with?
  • Where in the process of the construction is the job currently?
  • How many stories?
  • Is red mud present?
  • Are there mortar tags?
  • Is there sheet rock, mud, concrete, or mortar on the flat surfaces?

These are just a few things that you’re looking for. There are several substrates to clean, and we are going to walk you through the entire process.


The number one thing with any pressure washing project is the pre-planning stage. How and with what are you going to clean each surface before you start cleaning any substrate? This means selecting the right tools and chemicals. We highly recommend testing. If you just test a small portion of each surface with the chemicals you plan on using, then you’re truly gonna understand how much chemical you’re going to need and how much dwell time is needed. And if it’s actually going to clean that surface. This particular project did not require any testing as the cleaning was fairly routine.

Upper-Level Breezeways

First thing in this pressure washing project, was starting in the breezeways. First thing Donny did was using a blower just to blow off any loose sediment, any loose trash, anything out of the breezeways. All this before he actually started cleaning with water. Remember to wet all surfaces down with water, allowing them to cool and accept any chemical that you might be using.

The Steps

  1. After wetting everything down, he spot-spray mortar tags, concrete tags, sheetrock mud, and anything else on the flat surfaces that needed to be loosened using an acid based cleaner.
  2. Once that had enough dwell time, he went back and physically scraped those areas with a scraper blade.
  3. Then he moved on to the vertical surfaces. All the vertical surfaces in this project were vinyl siding. To clean these surfaces, Donny used a J rod with a wide fan spray on medium pressure just to get a good rinse. Removing any cobwebs and construction dust.
  4. On the upper floors lightweight concrete is present. This substrate is not like your normal driveway and to keep from damaging the concrete you don’t really want to use chemical. The suggestion is to use a low-pressure wide fan spray to clean the surface, rid of any red mud, any other construction dust and give it a good clean over top of the surface.


The Stairways

Once we reached the stairwells a little bit heavier duty concrete, we decided to use a rotary nozzle attachment on the pressure washer. The rotary nozzle is an effective way to clean concentrate in the corners and other areas to help loosen mortar tags or any heavy-duty sediment that had built up.

Lower Level

When it was time to move to the lower level we were able to change tactics and work towards a deeper clean.

The Steps

  1. First we used the same rotary nozzle to clean in the corners and along all the walls.
  2. Then we were able to spay some chemical, prepping the surface to be able to use the surface cleaner. Next we went back over everything with a 19 inch wishful wash, classic surface cleaner. Surface cleaners are not required but they can save you valuable time cleaning. This is especially true on larger projects.
  3. Finally a good rinse is needed to finish everything off and leave things at the project clean looking.

Now that you’ve watched this, you might be thinking, how can I do commercial work? I’ll tell you what we’re going to give you three tips to help you secure commercial jobs.

Commercial Pressure Washing Job Tips

  1. Make sure you physically walk the property. This will help you gain a true understanding of how much area there is to clean.
  2. When bidding commercial properties, you still need to use the square foot model, but make sure to adjust to a realistic price that fits the project. Just remember, you’re not going to use the same amount of chemical you use on residential projects.
  3. Last tip, but also one of the most important, is to be flexible. Large construction projects have a lot of contractors at once. You may have to adjust your cleaning schedule, but remember you ultimately want this job.

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