Wet & Forget Cleans Mildew Stain Off Historical Landmark

Built 80 years ago, Bok Tower Gardens, a National Historic Landmark located in Lake Wales, Florida., was created by the late Edward Bok—editor of “Ladies’ Home Journal” and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. With a host of beautiful landscapes, the Bok Tower Gardens is home to the 205-foot Neo-Gothic and art deco Singing Tower carillon, one of the world’s finest carillons or bell tower.

Exterior Cleaning Poses Damage Risk

The Visitor Center was originally built in 1996. The 50,000 square-foot roof hadn’t been cleaned since it was constructed 11 years ago and had accumulated significant mildew stain build up. With such a sprawling space to clean, Christopher Lutton, facility manager of BokTower Gardens was faced with a roof cleaning challenge.


Just Wet It & Forget It

After extensive research, Lutton came across an environmentally gentle, non-abrasive exterior cleaning solution called Wet & Forget, which had been used in Australia and New Zealand for the last 30 years. The first Wet & Forget test was conducted in 2007 on a 15’ x 15’ roof patch using a one-gallon pump sprayer. Lutton said he did not revisit this part of the roof for four months, and was surprised to find the test area so clean and free of mildew stains. “This is what peaked my interest in the product,” said Lutton. “I was impressed so much time had passed and the test area was still clean.”

Bok Tower Gardens placed its first order for Wet & Forget in 2008 and applied the solution to the entire Visitor Center roof in sections, using a 30-gallon tank to mix the solution with a 12-volt battery operated pump, as well as 100 feet of 3/8” tubing that would not abrade the roof tiles. Initial application was at a 1:3 concentration because of the 11 years of mildew stain accumulation.

Lutton also used the product to clean the mildew stains on the vertical walls throughout the grounds, as well as the river stone sidewalk. “This is a flat, stoned area particularly difficult to clean because the stones get wet regularly and are situated next to plant beds that slow the water runoff,” said Lutton. “To our pleasant surprise, the sidewalk became brighter after application and there was no damage to surrounding plants.” A section of rough concrete parking lot curbs was tested and they are also significantly brighter.

Since initial use, Lutton now only needs to clean the roof annually, which has helped to lower overall maintenance costs. He particularly likes that he can easily clean the roof during hours of operation without worry of disturbing visitors with unwanted noise. “Plus, the roof stays clean longer, which allows us to focus on other maintenance issues. With the next application, we plan to decrease the concentration ratio to 1:5, cutting the product cost almost in half. Additionally, Wet & Forget reduces water usage. For instance, in a power washer application such as the Bok Tower Gardens application, it would take approximately an hour to efficiently clean a 500 square foot area at 2.4 gpm, using 108 to 144 gallons of water. Wet & Forget saves approximately 106 to 142 gallons of water respectively in comparison to pressure washers.

Lutton plans to use the product on Pinewood House, a historic mansion located on the grounds, because from the structure is covered with colored stucco. “This material is known to be hard to clean and can potentially be damaged when using corrosive chemicals, making Wet & Forget a good candidate for the job.”

Wet & Forget: 30 Years of Cleaning Experience

Used for more than 30 years in both New Zealand and Australia, Wet & Forget is an environmentally gentle, scrub-free; non-caustic, non-acidic cleaner that safely removes mold, moss, mildew and algae stains from a wide range of outdoor surfaces. Its bleach-free, biodegradable formula has a pH level close to neutral, making it safe to use on virtually any outdoor surface. Wet & Forget is applied as a single application using a simple pump garden sprayer. It requires no scrubbing, rinsing or pressure washing. Once applied, the wind and rain take care of the rest.

“I knew I needed a solution that would help me easily clean the entire roof,” said Lutton. “Naturally, I thought we were going to have to invest in expensive equipment or hire someone to manually clean the mildew stains. After an initial investigation, both options proved to be somewhat costly so I continued my search.”

Article courtesy of Wet & Forget