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Water fall cleaning

Rob Coats

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A client has a 2-story high "water wall" feature that is rather large. She called to have me clean it because it smells like mildew.
She started cleaning it with Borax and white vinegar, but it's too much. She soaks, scrubs, rinses, and repeats - says it's working but takes too long.
I need to offer her a faster more effective way to clean it (without bleach because it has colored grout). I don't know how long it's going to take or how to charge for it.

Any ideas? Has anyone here cleaned one before?
 

Todd the Cleaner

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I’ve cleaned a rock pond before with a similar problem. I drained all the water then pressure washed it. I would guess a pressure washer will be your best bet too.

Post some pictures so we can see what you are working with.
 
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Rob Coats

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I’ve cleaned a rock pond before with a similar problem. I drained all the water then pressure washed it. I would guess a pressure washer will be your best bet too.

Post some pictures so we can see what you are working with.

Unfortunately it’s indoors next to a stair and pressure washing will be really messy.
 

Mama Fen

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If she's willing to turn off water flow for a few days, you can clean it with a pole-mounted brush and a dilute bleach solution (no more than 1/2 cup to a gallon of water) with just a drop or two of dish detergent - this would be enough to kill off the mildew smell and remove biofilm without harming the grout, I'd think. If she's worried about bleaching the grout you can switch to something like thymol.

Let the entire thing dry COMPLETELY before turning it back on, and it'd be a very good idea to purge the pump system completely - in other words, drain out all of the water - and re-prime it rather than re-using the old water (which is more than likely the source of the biofilm).

A few tablespoons of bleach added to the new water might help prevent the slime buildup for longer, but let her know NOT to "keep adding bleach" as over time it will build up to the point that it might discolor the grout.

In the aquarium/pond industry, we dealt with pumps and water features a lot, and invariably the problem is biological material building up in the water. Total cleaning and (in cases like this where there are no fish to worry about) fresh water replacement is really the best way to go. Anything else will likely result in the schmoo coming back just as bad as ever very quickly.
 
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Rob Coats

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Thymol... looks perfect! Which product do you recommend?

Also I am thinking of using a pump sprayer on a small area, scrub then spray rinse, moving down to the next area... then after cleaning the pond add a few oz to the water?


It is heavy textured concrete designed to humidify the air as the water runs down.
 

PistolPete

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Get a pool test kit and maintain chlorine at 1-3ppm.
Use softened water if water hardness is an issue.
Not at zero grains but 3-5 is ideal.
Or buy the expensive algaecide treatments.
 

deriols

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What is the best way to wash a car - in a car wash or on your own? There is no single answer to this question. Each car owner chooses the option that is more convenient for him. It’s easier for some to come to the experts and put their iron horse in their hands, while others prefer to do everything themselves. I am the second type and I want to find a good product for car washing. Do you know anything about this https://cleanhomeguide.com/shine-armor-fortify-quick-coat-review/?
 

Scott W

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If the surface being cleaned is ceramic tile, I would turn off the water; clean with an acid side tile cleaner such as Viper Renew; apply a disinfectant such as Benefect; let everything dry before turning back on.

Here is one that was done inside a dentist office. This was slate tile.
slate restoration park city dentiistry 005.JPG
slate restoration park city dentiistry.JPG