Are you thinking about buying a pressure washer, or maybe received one as a gift and aren’t sure how to use it around the house? You’ve come to the right place! This article will review all the things you can use a pressure washer on. We’ll go over what makes sense to use it on, and maybe some things you didn’t know you could use it on!
What are things you can pressure wash around the house? You can wash a variety of things. You can wash your:
- Home Exteriors
- Outdoor gear
- Outdoor Furniture
These are just a few examples of what you can power wash around your house.
Pressure washing items around your home can speed up the cleaning process compared to washing with a hose or by hand. There are ways that you need to wash these items safely with your power washer, though. Read further in this article to learn how to wash them properly as well as what power washers are best for the task and your home.
Pressure Washing Projects
So, you’ve got yourself a pressure washer – now what? First, decide on the project you’d like to take on. We’ll discuss three examples with various pressure washing levels. There are light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty pressure washers that are helpful for different tasks. Read on to see how you can use each one around your house!
- Lawn Furniture: Use a light-duty pressure washer if you are washing your car or lawn furniture. Light-duty pressure washers are also gentle, so you don’t need to worry about chipping paint or breaking furniture. Simply plug the cord in, connect your hose, and start spraying. It will cut your cleaning time in half and save water. Wash from top to bottom!
- Fence: Use a medium-duty pressure washer for cleaning your fence or driveway. It has more power to get rid of dirt and debris than the light-duty, but not too much that it can cause any damage. It also does a better job at getting stubborn dirt that the light-duty pressure washer couldn’t get off. Connect your hose and wash top to bottom on all items!
- House Siding: For house siding, you may need to use a heavy-duty pressure washer. They are the strongest and the most dangerous to use on your own or without safety equipment.
Due to the sheer power of these washers, it is hard to control the stream. These are good for big jobs like pressure washing your entire house or getting off tough paint like graffiti. Make sure to keep these away from windows though!
About Pressure Washing
There are multiple ways to pressure wash items around the house. The way you use the pressure wash will vary depending on what you’re using it for, how delicate the item is, and how dirty the item is.
Be mindful of the power setting if you are cleaning multiple things at one time. You need a max setting for siding to get all the gunk out, but a lighter setting if you are going to pressure wash windows next, or else you’ll have a bunch of broken glass and unwanted water in and outside your home.
You can put various attachments on your pressure washer to help with cleaning items. A simply brush attachment can help get pesky mud or stains off your car that the pressure washer alone wouldn’t get off. There are often different cleaning solutions that will work great for a car, but not so great on your siding. Be wary of those as well.
One of the most important things to know when using a pressure washer is how to use it safely. Pressure washing doesn’t seem like it would be a dangerous activity, but if you aren’t careful, they are powerful enough to cause injury or damage. You need to make sure you have the right machine for the job, the right attachments, and safety equipment.
- Safety Goggles: One key element is eye protection. Always wear safety goggles to keep your eyes safe from flying debris or dirt.
- Full Body Protection: If you’re using a high power spray, you’ll need full body protection. That means gloves, boots, long pants, and even hearing protection to withstand the power. Also, don’t point the sprayer at ANYONE or any living thing. It can damage siding and concrete; it will hurt a person, a pet, or a beloved plant.
- Prepare Your Surroundings: For your safety as well as the safety of your items, make sure you take the time to prepare your surroundings.
- If you are going to be walking with your pressure washer turned on, make sure you walk a clear path. You don’t want to have any items you could trip over in your path.
- Unplug any electrical circuits that could get wet and avoid wetting electrical outlets.
- Weather: Pressure washing is fine in the Fall, Summer, or Spring since the weather is still warm or hot in most areas. Water will evaporate with little issue as long as it is warm enough and not overly humid. However, if there will be freezing conditions within a day or even a week of your pressure washing, the leftover water can freeze and expand. This will damage whatever you just cleaned.
Outdoor Gear to Pressure Wash
Next, we’ll move into what you can pressure wash outdoors. First, let’s focus on outdoor equipment. If you want to pressure wash your outdoor gear, make sure your pressure washer is on the right setting for each item. The power setting you use to pressure wash your boat is different than the setting you would use to pressure wash your lawnmower.
The cleaning solution you choose will be different for a boat compared to a lawnmower as well. A boat needs a biodegradable cleaning solution rather than an ammonia type which can damage your boat.
If you have outdoor furniture that needs to be cleaned, you can pressure wash that as well. The only difference with that compared to pressure washing a boat is that you need a low pressure spray nozzle to control the water a bit. If you use too much pressure you can damage or even break your furniture. You also want to wash furniture top down.
Lastly, to clean your siding, you will need a powerful pressure washer. Using a more powerful pressure washer will decrease the amount of time it takes, and do a better job getting off grime and dirt.
Getting an extension wand will help reach the top of your home as well. DO NOT get on a ladder with your pressure washer. It’s unsafe, and you could damage parts of your home if the pressure is too high.
Backyard Items to Pressure Wash
Moving right along, you can also pressure wash things in your backyard like patios, decks, or even your fence. Similar to the outdoor gear, you need to make sure you do it correctly to prevent damage or possibly breaking any equipment. Worst case scenario, you injure yourself in the process as well.
Wooden Decks: If you want to wash your patio or wooden deck, invest in a pressure washer with a 40 degree nozzle that can mist over the surface to get it wet but not damage it. You can use either an electric or a gas pressure washer since the power doesn’t need to be as strong as the one you use on the siding of your house.
Fencing: You can clean your fence with a pressure washer to save time instead of washing it by hand or using a garden hose. It also has more power than those latter options, which will get most of the dirt off your fence. Plus, it’ll look nice for the neighbors!
Grills: You can also clean your grill with a pressure washer, just be sure all gadgets are off and the grill isn’t plugged in.
Walkways: Front entrance stairs and walkways are easily cleaned with the pressure washer. It will save you time and get the dirt off better, than scrubbing and hosing down. Plus, it’ll look fantastic from the curb. You’ll want a more powerful pressure washer to get into any cracks or spaces and leave it squeaky clean.
Tricky Things to Pressure Wash
Some trickier things to pressure wash, such as windows, should be handled with care. In these situations, it’s important to know how to handle your pressure washer and all the steps it takes to clean it correctly.
Many professional pressure washers won’t wash your windows with it and prefer to use a squeegee or sponge and hand wash the windows instead.
If you want to use a pressure washer on window to save some time- be careful. Wear eye protection in case the glass shatters or if a strong water stream or debris shoots back in your face.
For windows, use the lowest pressure possible and a pressure washer that can mix in cleaning solution into the water stream. Then rinse off the window with clean water, so the solution doesn’t stick.
Anything painted, like siding or furniture, can be stripped of its paint from the force of a pressure washer. Be sure to use the lower setting, or hire a professional to clean it for you. It’ll be cheaper than paying for damaging your furniture or home. Roofing can also be damaged or even get leaks into your home’s insulations if water gets under it.
Stained wood can also have the stain come completely off when you pressure wash. You do want to strip the stain every few years or so, but can be frustrating if you weren’t expecting it since you’ll have to restain the wood after cleaning it, which is another task added to your to-do list that you might not want to do.
When NOT to Pressure Wash
While we have talked about what you can pressure wash, there are some items you should not pressure wash unless you know what you’re doing or have a professional check first. A perfect example is pressure washing an old home. If you don’t know the makeup of your home, you could cause damage or release harmful chemicals.
Older homes can have different sidings, such as vinyl, brick, or wood. If these were painted with lead paint, it could create a dangerous health situation. Hitting lead paint with a pressure washer could force off chips that could mix with the dirt and potentially get ingested by your kids, your the neighbor’s kids, pets, or wildlife. You should get the paint on your home tested, and any lead paint should be properly removed first.
Older homes are also more likely to have materials that have been weakened by normal wear and tear and the passage of time. This means it can be easily damaged if you use a pressure washer that is too powerful. If the materials have any cracks in them, the force of the water hitting them and entering them could cause them to become larger.
The best option for your older home is just to use a garden hose with a spray nozzle to get up to the top of it. It will take longer but will be safer for your house in the long run.
TIP: Don’t paint too soon after pressure washing. If you are painting your house right after cleaning it, give it ample time to dry. If not, the paint will keep the moisture in the walls and can create mold or permanent water damage.
Types of Pressure Washer Nozzles
The nozzle can make all the difference when you are doing a job, whether personal or professional if you own your own pressure washing business. It determines the angle that the water streams out of when you’re cleaning. It can also make or break, literally, the materials you are washing. Using the wrong nozzle can either do nothing or do too much.
The nozzles follow a universal color coding system, so you know which color stands for what angle and power each nozzle provides to you. Here are the types of nozzles you can use with your pressure washer:
- Red: This nozzle has no angle, so the stream comes out the strongest with this nozzle. Use it on bigger jobs that need more power to clean off. Also, don’t hold this close to any surface, since you’ll most likely damage it.
- Yellow: This spray has a 15 degree angle, which is suited for concrete. Use this on your patio, garage, or driveway when it needs to be cleaned.
- Green: This spray has a 25 degree angle that is more all-purpose compared to the two above. It’s great for washing your car or getting debris off of decks and patio furniture.
- White: This spray has a 40 degree angle, which is the easiest to use, especially for novice pressure washers. It’s great for exterior house cleaning, so use it on house siding or windows.
- Black: This spray has a 65 degree angle, which is the gentlest of all the nozzle options. This won’t get rid of dirt or debris since the stream isn’t strong enough, rather use it to get things wet.
If you aren’t sure which nozzle to use for your job, it is best to start with the one that provides the least strength and work your way up until you find the nozzle that works best.
Pressure Washer Attachments
While the nozzles are important, additional attachments can help for specific jobs that you want to complete around the house. Here are some of the most popular attachments and their uses:
Surface Cleaner: This is a spinning bar that allows you to cover more area instead of just using a single spray. This is great for washing large areas like your driveway.
Rotary nozzle: Similar to the red nozzle, this provides a zero degree spray that also spins, hence the name. It is great at getting out stubborn dirt or grime but has a lot of power so be careful when using it.
Pressure washing broom: This is similar to the surface cleaner, which allows for the broom to cover more area rather than use one stream of water. It does offer a softer stream across the area, so this would be great for your car or house.
Expandable wand: This attachment is great for reaching high areas, like the top of your house, without needing a ladder to get you up higher. It eliminates the need to stand on a ladder while using a pressure washer, which is never a good idea.
Soap and/or detergent reservoir: This allows you to mix soap or cleaning solution into the water stream so that you can clean while you clear away dirt and debris. However, only use this with gentler streams, stronger ones will shoot out the soap first, which can damage the item you’re trying to clean.
These are just a few examples of the attachments you can use with your pressure washer. Use the ones that will help make your life easier, as well as actually use. No use buying items you won’t use.
Rent A Pressure Washer
If buying a pressure washer sounds like a waste of money since you’d only use it once or twice a year, renting one is an option as well. You won’t have to worry about keeping up the machine or storing it. Plus it’s cheaper than buying the machine outright. You can also rent a better machine than commercially sold for higher power jobs.
Renting a pressure washer can cost between $35-$144 depending on the type of machine you need to rent for the day. For lighter jobs can use an electric pressure washer for $35 a day. Heavier jobs like siding or driveways need a stronger machine, which can run closer to $144 a day. It really depends on what you’ll use it for, and if the rental price makes more sense.
One of the best things about renting is that you can return the machine once you’re done using it. No need to cram it into a shed or your garage. There are multiple home improvement stores that you can rent from, so you won’t have a hard time finding one.
Renting can also be cheaper than going the professional route. You’ll spend between $150-$300 on hiring a professional to come out with the same equipment you could have rented and done yourself. It can be a manageable task to use a pressure washer if you take the time to learn about it.
What Pressure Washer to Buy
We’ve talked about using different pressure washers depending on what you want cleaned, but which one should you buy? You obviously don’t want to own more than one pressure washer if you don’t need it. Let’s go over the options you can use so you can decide which fits the best with your lifestyle.
This gas powered pressure washer is both powerful and affordable. It is also portable and easy to move around your yard. This will allow you to get multiple jobs done at one time – which is great! It’s much better than having to switch appliances, or spend a bunch of money on equipment that you’ll only use for one job. It has a Honda engine that gives it that power, as well as affordability since it’s retail price is $399.
Moving on to electric pressure washers, this one is the best for your money. It isn’t as powerful as the gas pressure washers, but can still get smaller jobs done. It’s smaller design makes it ideal for storing in the garage or shed, too. It has all the nozzles, plugs and attachments that you’ll need for cleaning your car to washing off your deck or grill.
This last option is another electric pressure washer that is the lightweight option for those who don’t do the big jobs around the house. Maybe you hire people to come clean your siding or don’t mind using the hose on the driveway. This option is for you, since it still works on furniture, fences, stairs, etc. Plus, it’s affordable since it is meant for small jobs.
When To Hire A Professional
We all love to D.I.Y. projects, especially if we hear that it will save us money in the end. Or, we just like to be independent people who don’t need professionals. However, there comes a time when we do need to rely on them. They can be especially helpful for jobs that require more powerful pressure washers that can be dangerous to a novice user.
These jobs, like the ones that use red nozzle power streams, also may need more powerful pressure washers backing them up. Commercially bought machines may not have the same power that professional machines can provide. You can rent these more powerful machines, but they may be older and not well maintained. This will result in poor performance.
You can also hire a professional team if you are not getting the results that you want with your own pressure washer. These can be for jobs that you’ve tried all nozzle types, all power settings, and still haven’t gotten all the dirt or debris out of your project. A professional may know if it’s a power issue, or even a soap or cleaning solution issue.
A professional company will also have the proper safety equipment and knowledge to clean any project you may want done. So you don’t have to only hire them for one project, they can do multiple for you quicker than you could. Most companies offer free estimates based on the size of the space and amount of projects. Find the most affordable one to hire.
Pressure washing can be a manageable task to learn and complete on your own. You can buy, rent, or hire professionals to help depending on the work you need done. Your comfort level handling the pressure washer can also determine whether you use it yourself or hire some help for safety reasons.
There are a variety of items around the house you can clean with the pressure washer. You can clean your home, driveway, and car. Not to mention cleaning your fence, deck, and patio. You can clean your windows, stairs, and walkway with a pressure washer as well. It’s important to know how much power and which attachments to use for each of those tasks.
All in all, do your research on pressure washers before you go out and buy or rent one. Stay safe, both for yourself as well as the safety of the items you are trying to clean. It’s cheaper to practice and learn about pressure washers than it is to repair your house after a failed attempt to clean it on your own. Be careful!