in homesteading •  last month  (edited)

I hired a painter to come power wash our house and gazebo and then paint it. I was very clear in informing him that we grow organic food all around and the gardens up against the house are medicine gardens, and although they look wild, they are there for a purpose and that I did not want any chemicals in the power washer. He said he puts just a very very small amount of Clorox. I asked him if he could use just a very small amount of vinegar or peroxide instead but he insisted it was just a small amount of Clorox and would not do any damage to the plants and he uses this for all his clients and has never had an issue. They power washed about 5 days ago. I was inside the house when he started. It was only a few minutes in that I got a strong scent of bleach. At this point, he was already spraying the front of the house and I couldn't open the door as he was spraying right at it. Needless to say, he used SO much bleach and near half a bottle of soap to fill his container. Today, my plants look near dead. It rained hard the day after they power washed so I hoped that was enough to wash it out but now I fear it just soaked it into the roots. I'm hoping if I cut things back to a nub that some things will be able to regrow. I'm so terribly sad. :( Has anyone else experienced this?? Did your plants recover? Any suggestions??




You can see the larger plant in this one is developing the burns now too. :( This plant was gifted to me by a friend. As I walked her garden I smelled something so amazing and familiar it brought me to tears. I asked her what that smell was and told her it reminded me of my grandma as she wore a perfume of that scent. I forgot the name of this plant but she so graciously pulled a baby up from her garden and gave it to me so I planted it right in the very front of my house just under the window so I could smell it whenever it bloomed.

It's looking pretty bad and it's all getting worse each day despite me washing it down after and a very heavy rainfall. I think the damage is done at this point. The question is, will any of this recover.

I'm praying my beautiful rosemary bush that is in that same bed that I've brought with me to NC from my TX homestead survives. I've had that bush for a long time and cherish it.

I think it is time for me to invest in my own power washer. Some of the herbs I have in that garden upfront are perennials so I wonder if I cut them down to allow the roots to focus on recovery vs growth if they will recover?? The annuals I'll just cut down and start again. They look AWFUL. Yellowing, brown spots, etc. and they were all very vibrant and healthy prior. There is a clear brown area in the grass around the perimeter of the house too where the grass is even near dead so I know for sure the power washer did it. :( Some of the overspray got on a watermelon plant further away from the gazebo and it's showing the same signs. There are still some large melons on it....do you think they are safe to eat??

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I hope they grow back ok. Maybe some natural co.post or feed to help them along.

I like you only use vinegar or bleach on occasions. I just do it all on my own now. The smell of chemicals is so horrid I'd rather smell vinegar anyday

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Yes and he assured me he was only using a very small amount but once he started spraying the ONLY thing I could smell was a VERY STRONG bleach smell. He used way more then just a little. :(

I feel for you. Hopefully wont happen again now though.

It surely won't. I'm getting my own power washer. I'll never hire someone to do it again.

If you think you've got a case, you could estimate the size of this season's harvest and price replacement at someplace like Mountain Rose and ask him to compensate for it. Might even figure up the cost of replacement plants for next year.

As for whether or not they're still usable, I can't guess.

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Something to consider. Thank you.

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Well the good news is....I cut everything back, and we got two more heavy rains. The plants appear to be regrowing and doing okay! I won't eat them any time soon. I'll likely do another good pruning once they get back to full size and then maybe then I'll consume them. I know I'm a bit picky but it's just me....what can I say?? lol

That really is the pits! We invested in our own powerwasher years ago, even though we had little money. We use it often each year and it was worth the investment.

Chlorine will evaporate. But I don't know what the soap was and that might be a problem...

Just reading about this, and seeing the damage upsets me, I'd have told the guy, that he's not getting paid since the smell alone is a sign that he used a lot of chemicals when requested not to, and that, he'll be lucky if damages aren't sought in court.

I would also be cautious about eating the produce from the plants, since there's no telling the soap he used. Time and effort in tending to that garden, just for an inconsiderate person to waste, because they cared more about routine.

Yeah it was quite frustrating. We ended up cutting everything back in that bed down to a nub. Some stuff we pulled all together. The stuff we cut back is already coming back to life and doing fine. We sadly tossed all the clippings because I was just not comfortable with consuming it. We work hard to ensure we grow everything naturally here, no store bought fertilizers, no pesticides, etc etc. Anyway, at this point I've moved passed it and don't even want to give it any more of energy. It was upsetting, but it was a lesson I had to learn. Thanks for stopping by!!