Pressure-washing keeps mildew off homes

Mold and mildew are recurring problems for owners and occupiers of island homes, because of the prevalence of moisture and humidity in the air.

Local experts say pressure-washing the house at least once a year gets rid of mold and mildew that can be damaging to the exterior, and keeps the home looking clean.

What happens without some level of cleaning is that mold and mildew will grow onto the sides of the house, on wood surfaces or drywall, and eventually destroy the surfaces they grow on, local experts said.

Because it rains quite a bit here on the island, and it does get humid at times, there’s not a lot we can do to completely keep mold and mildew from coming back, but pressure-washing prevents that from happening, or at least slows down mold and mildew growth rates.

A pressure washer sprays a mixture of chemical agents, usually the mildew killer Jomax and bleach water, onto the house at a strong force that washes the mold and mildew away.

“Pressure-washing will get rid of all the mold and mildew that grow on the sides of the house,” said the owner of Carvalho Painting, David Carvalho.

“Pressure-washing is also good because it helps you find out if the wood is rotten or if the windows are not sealed properly. Sometimes you wash the home, you’ll see if the windows are leaking.” Carvalho suggests you should pressure- wash your home at least once.

“The way I see it, I tell people it’s like washing your car,” said the owner of Coast Power Cleaning, Brian Sullivan, who has been specializing in pressure-washing island homes on Kaua‘i for nearly 20 years.

“It keeps your house looking nice, and keeps the value of your home up.” Having an averaged-sized home of three bedrooms and two bathrooms pressure-washed will cost anywhere from $300 to $600, and take anywhere from two to six hours to complete.

“You can see (the mold) disappear before your eyes,” said Sullivan.

Here are some tips on pressure-washing your home yourself:

• Wear the proper protection for your body. “(The bleach) is very hazardous to the body, so it’s important to protect your body,” Carvalho said. He suggests wearing rubber gloves, protective eyewear and a painting respirator. “Wear a respirator like the painters do so that you don’t smell all the (chemicals). With the mask you don’t smell anything that will irritate you,” Carvalho said;

• Wear a rain jacket and rain pants. Wearing a rain jacket and paints will protect you if the mixture your pressure- washing your with back-splashes on you. Carvalho also suggested rubbing Vaseline on your face. “If you put Vaseline (petroleum jelly) on C1your face, if anything gets on your face, it will just run off,” Carvalho said;

• When ready to pressure- wash your home, keep the spray nozzle about eight inches to a foot away from the surface you are washing.

When renting a pressure washer from the hardware store, follow the instructions that come with the pressure washer, and refer to the manual or any pressure-washing professional with any questions.

Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or


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