Understanding House Wash Detergents


There are a lot of great threads to read if you want to learn more about house washing and detergents, this might keep you from making huge mistakes, keep you from damaging property and making yourself look bad.

There are some good threads about the different detergents, what people use, what to avoid, what not to mix together, etc...... Read all you want, it will help you learn more about the business.

Guy Blackmon

Roundtable Host 2009
Don't think Jomax is vinegar that's acidic and should never be mixed with bleach...big time no no.

Bleach + Acid = chlorine gas

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For those that have actually looked at the Jomax msds, it does have acetic acid (vinegar for those without chemical knowledge).

Sometimes it is better to say you don't know.

Here is a link to the Jomax msds for those that don't have a clue or want to learn more:

There are realistic warnings and concerns about mixing chemicals together that are opposites so this manufacturer has done it's research so that it does not sell anything that will harm consumers, it would be a huge lawsuit for the vendors selling the product besides the manufacturer if something bad happened.

This does not say to start mixing chemicals not thinking something bad will not happen, this is one out of hundreds of thousands where you won't see a huge violent reaction when mixing chemicals.

Always be careful when mixing chemicals, even when it is supposed to be safe, you need the proper ppe also.


New member
Sorry I am so long getting to this party guys. I will try to start at the begging of the post and comment on all the points that were brought up as I go along.

Yes an MSDS only has to list what is deemed hazardous by the US government over certain amounts. That is why there may be slightly different MSDS for the same product in another country. When a product doesn't have anything hazardous in a high enough quantity a company can put words such as pritory, trade secret, etc. and not have to list ingredients. But it there was a high enough amount no trade secret would be able NOT to be listed.

Soap #1 with Sodium Tripolyphospate STPP. A great cleaner but what the EPA wants to do away with all together also with Trisodium Phosphate called TSP. That is why you can't find it in dish soaps any more. It allows surfactants to work much better. STPP is also used as a food preservative.

Soap #2 with Sodium Metasilicate is a common ingredient because it is a good cleaner while not being a phosphate (what most governments want to get away from). This also reduced the amount of phosphate they used in this product. It is a base that reacts with fatty acids to form soap that can be rinsed away from a surface. It can also be listed on MSDS in similar forms; Disodium Metasilicate, Disodium Monosilicate, etc.

Soap #3 with Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether is one of the butyls used for degreasing. There are quite a number of them. And some are better than others. And also some washes add salts like this one as a filler.

Most Alkaline soaps, pH of 9 or higher will be bleach stable. Bleach is disastrous with acid products (vinegar). So if you do not know for sure or does not say it is safe on the label don't try it.

All of our products are phosphate free and is a great thing to be able to tell your customers.

There are plenty of other ingredients in washes that since they are not hazardous never have to be listed and some of these can also be the reason you have mineral or spotting on glass. Most soaps have some amount of water softeners in them to aid in the cleaning and rinsing of the product to stop spotting. Adding additional softeners your self can improve a marginal soaps performance in some cases.

No soap should be allowed to dry on a surface especially glass. Once it has dried the chemical make up must be completely rehydrated for removal to occur and that is why with cold water it makes it that much harder.

The warmer the water the better any soap will work and the less you will have to use. But too hot of water can damage surfaces so you need to balance soap dilution with temp for best performance.

Bleach or sodium hypochlorite can be mixed with many soaps including our butyl based products. The bleach does the mold and algae killing and the butyl or other soap products do the real cleaning. Remember if only using bleach and water, bleach just changes the color of the dirt, only the water pressure, temp and agitation are doing any of the cleaning. That is why using a real soap in addition to bleach is best for house washing.

Now to caustics on vinyl. Yes caustics in too high of concentration will scratch and damage smooth vinyl but some washes with just a little caustic are what work great for black streaks on gutters, and other problems. I was wondering Chad what gutter cleaner you used to "get the stains out" from the deck washed vinyl siding that was not itself a caustic?

About Jomax, it depends on which Jomax product you are using. If it is the plain Jomax house wash that has you add bleach to it to work, that is fine. If it is another Jomax House cleaner and mildew killer #60101 than that one has Acetic Acid 64-19-7 10 ppm 10 ppm and should NOT be used with bleach since it is an acid with a pH of 3.0-3.5.

I haven't been able to find an MSDS for F-13 so I have no idea if it doesn't have some type of caustic in it, which I would be very surprised if it didn't. Products like Gutter Zap have caustic (< 5% sodium hydroxide) and < 9 % butyl and even our Mighty Max plus which is 10% butyl and 1% sodium hydroxide caustic.

Ok, what is butyl. This is a chemical degreaser that shows up in many forms on an MSDS; 2 butoxyethanol, Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, butylene glycol, and others. I think I saw one comment in these posts that they thought butyl was in some foods they eat but I think they are mistaking butylhydroxytoluene which is a fat soluble organic compound from phenol that is a food additive and antioxidant. NOT the same kind of stuff. Or it was in reference back up to STTP.

Well I think I covered everything that was brought up. If I missed anything just shout back at me.


New member
Linda do you have your own formulas or do you guys just rebadge someones elses.Some of the stuff in your above post is a little off.I dont think you have worked with a chemist working hand in hand with your own formulas please correct me if i am wrong.
Chris, you mentioned that Sodium Metasilicate-based soaps aren't as good on windows. I this a widely known fact? This would be a big issue with me. Thanks!
It is all in how products are formulated. Sodium Metasilicate is in Citracleen and it has a long track record. The key is using the proper concentrations. I used Rinse Aid, Foamer and Wet Wax in my mix and had no problems with windows. I used a X-Jet and have the right amounts calculated to obtain good results. One thing to consider is the hardness of the water, it varies. Hard water will cause problems on windows, that is where the Rinse Aid comes in. The Wet Wax has a drying agent in it and will stop the spotting. As mentioned do not apply chemicals to the whole house at one time.
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Brenton Graber

New member
Im hearing a lot of different chemicals and mixes. Im just getting started and Im going to be using BioPower with a foamer bottle. According to my local distributor, its plant safe and will work on pretty much everything.

Not sure whats in it and I was just curious if anybody else has heard of the stuff.


Never heard of that soap, there are some great soaps talked about throughout PWI here in the soap and house washing threads going from current to back 10 years or longer.

If you try that soap and it is a waste of money (like what a lot of local vendors try to sell you, not talking about the vendors here on PWI of course), you have an idea of what the person sold you thinks about your business and will probably try to sell you more garbage.

Listen to what excuses they tell you when you tell them that the stuff did not work, even when you followed their instructions.

Another sign of bogus chemicals is when they try to B.S. you about ratios like it will work great at 100:1 all the way up to 300:1 and even have it on the label. I have been lied to about ratios a lot and don't hardly listen when they start talking about ratios because most vendors out there never washed so they have no clue of what works in the real world, they are just repeating what the manufacturer told them to put on their re-packaged product label.


New member
Panel Bright from Russ Johnson will out clean f-13 any day of the week at 1/2 the price.Any takers or nonbelivers?

Ron Musgraves

Exterior Restoration Specialist
Staff member
Great Post David
I am curious enough to ask some of the veterans and distributors about the chemical makeup of their house wash mix and why they choose that particular mix. In order to understand the chemicals in the soap, I am posting the MSDS hazardous materials from 3 of the popular detergents below that are used in the residential cleaning market. The name of each soap and the distributor do not need to be mentioned as these are just 3 of the popular examples.

Soap #1: Sodium Tripolyphosphate <70% in weight

Soap #2: Sodium Metasilicate <70%

Sodium Dodceylbenzene Sulfonate <10%

Sodium Tripolyphosphate <30%

Soap #3: Sodium Tripolyphosphate <70%

NTA Trisodium salt, monohydrate <13%

Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether <7%

For you guys that have tried just about everything in your many years in business, what are the pros and cons of the sample detergents above. All the distributors claim the above soaps to be “bleach stable.” Does the popular “Sodium Tripolyphosphate” have an advantage over the other popular “Sodium Metasilicate?” Is there an advantage or disadvantage to one adding a little butyl into their mix like soap #3? Would one work better on a particular surface while another one is better at not spotting windows? Is one safer for the surrounding plants?

Recently, I had a customer that wanted to know what I was going to spray on her house and asked to see an MSDS—this was a first for me. After that, I wanted to understand what I was using so that I may put clients minds at ease while working on their property—especially regarding any labeled hazardous materials.

As far as I have seen, all the house mixes include either the “base or builder” Sodium Tripolyphosphate or Sodium Metasilicate (with one soap having a combination of both). I have only used one of the soap mix above and it works well for me, but I am sure they all work just fine. I am just curious if I am missing out on any advantages of not using one type “base” over another or having some other ingredient like butyl included. Thanks!

Doug Rucker

Roundtable Host 2009
Im hearing a lot of different chemicals and mixes. Im just getting started and Im going to be using BioPower with a foamer bottle. According to my local distributor, its plant safe and will work on pretty much everything.

Not sure whats in it and I was just curious if anybody else has heard of the stuff.

It's always a good idea to know whats in what you are using. Your local distributor should be able to tell you. If they can't, don't use it.