Is it true that your plants can get damaged during your house washing?

Friday, February 3, 2023

Have you ever considered getting your house washed but were concerned about the potential damage it might cause to plants and foliage near or around your home? Oftentimes, plants can be particularly vulnerable to harsh cleaning agents and high-pressure washes that come with a standard house washing service. So, is there any truth to this idea? In this post, we uncover the real story: whether or not it’s true that plants will get damaged during and after a house washing. We explore best practices for ensuring minimal disruption to surrounding greenery as part of a comprehensive spring clean, delivering tips from experienced professionals on how to protect both nature and your property at large.


Is it true? 

Well, the short of it……Yes!  Damage can occur to plants during a cleaning for a variety of reasons. Three of the most common reasons come from salt, oxidation, and trampling. Salt Damage occurs when salt solutions are applied too close to the plants and their roots, often killing them instantly. Oxidation occurs when the solvents used during a cleaning, such as bleach and ammonia, become over-oxidized. This can damage the foliage of some plants. Finally, physical damage can arise if there is a lot of foot traffic in the area you are cleaning, trampling plants that might not be able to survive the additional weight or protruding material on shoes. Taking these elements into account while conducting a cleaning project will help protect your beautiful surrounding flora and fauna.  We will go over each one of these individually here.



Excess salt from cleaners such as bleach, can be a major issue for plants. Damage from salt can occur to the roots and leave plants vulnerable to dehydration, nutrient deficiencies, and other health issues. High levels of salt can make it difficult for water to be absorbed by the plant’s root length, leaving them unable to successfully take up nutrients in the soil. Damage done by too much salt saps plant life of its ability to grow, absorb nutrients and reproduce, as well as increase their susceptibility to disease. Because they are unable to uptake enough water, these same plants often become damaged or die because they are not able to get the adequate amount of hydration they need. It’s important to avoid using fertilizers with high chloride or sulfate concentrations in order to keep salt levels low and reduce risk of damage that could result in unhealthy growth or mortality of your plants.




Oxidation Damage to Plants is a common cleaning detergent issue, and is caused when your plants are damaged due to an abundance of atmospheric oxygen molecules. This can cause the oxidation of organic material, which leads to the destruction of plant cells. Damage resulting from Oxidation Damage to Plants can be identified by looking for premature wilting, yellowing or discoloration of foliage, as well as spotting or black lesions on leaves or stems. Such damage usually has a negative effect on the photosynthesis process and growth rates of plants





This damage happens when a contractor unknowingly steps on plants or shrubs. This type of damage typically breaks the stalks, leaves or sometimes both. This damage always results in loss of part if not all of the plant. Often times this damage can occur from hoses, letters and equipment which is improperly placed, m pulled or tugged.



The good news, taking these four steps can mitigated and avoided plant protection, here’s how!  


  1. Hire a company who has a plan - An environmental plan is not on everybody’s list of protocols, but identifying areas of concern and planning to avoid plant damage is a great place to start.  Does the company you hire have a written plan? Ask to see it. 
  2. Hire a company that has specific training in the science of Sodium Hypochlorite and the cleaning product they use.  Most contractors do not have the proper training on the off the shelf chemicals they use, and most times distribution outlets do not offer follow up instruction or training on the many products they offer.
  3. Water the plants before during and after the cleaning and have your contractor do the same.  This can avoid dehydration and over oxidation of the plants. 
  4. Apply plant food and gypsum to the ground after the cleaning to restore the natural environment of the ground. 
Joseph Pepin 2/3/2023

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