Pressure washers bring new meaning to the world ‘clean’ and help save time and effort when it comes to washing cars and deep cleaning outdoor areas. They are incredibly versatile and can be used in a myriad of ways to remove stubborn stains from walls and driveways using the right amount of pressure and techniques. Our guide below will show you how to use a pressure washer like a pro so you can clean any outdoor space with ease.
Gas vs. Electric
People interested in purchasing a pressure washer for their home have two options to choose from. The first option runs on gas and offers higher pressure but requires more water in return. These are the perfect companions for home owners who aim high when it comes to home improvement projects. Cleaning wall cladding and getting rid of stubborn stains from wood are two examples of challenging tasks that are made easy using a pressure washer. Some of them come with long spray wands that allow you to deep clean unreachable corners without using a ladder.
Pressure washers that are powered by electricity are less noisy and more budget friendly. Some models are portable and rechargeable, giving you the freedom to move around while carrying them. They are more suitable for washing cars and cleaning garages. Both pressure washer types are equipped with a pump that is responsible for pressurizing the water and pushing it out via the spray wand.
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Master the Art of Power Cleaning
There are certain techniques that you need to master in order to safely remove dirt and other impurities from your outdoor area of choice, be it the garage or driveway. Using the right amount of water pressure can make or break the cleaning process. If you use too much pressure, you risk breaking a window or injuring yourself. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you experiment with your pressure setting on a discreet corner in your garage or wall before you embark on your cleaning journey.
How to Clean Wall Cladding
There are certain ground rules that you need to follow in order to clean your wall cladding or siding.
- Surrounding the house with heavy duty tarp will save you time post-cleaning and protect your floors from the flood of water, paint and dirt that will come flying off the siding once you begin the washing process.
- The way you hold the wand also matters since it can have an impact on your cleaning. Washing the siding up close can result in the opposite effect, allowing dirt to stick to the surface, especially if you fail to hold the wand at a 45 degree angle. This angle helps you take advantage of the water pressure without damaging the wood or vinyl. Always start from the bottom and work your way upward to avoid leaving a trail of mess and unsightly streaks behind you.
- Divide the cladding into small areas and finish each area before moving on to the next one.
- Avoid cleaning the windows with your pressure washer, especially if you are using the high setting.
Cleaning with Detergents
If your goal is to save time washing your car or soiled driveway, then investing in a premium pressure washer with a detergent tank is the way to go. Washers come with a different set of accessories and recommended detergents for you to choose from. Always use a wide spray pattern when dealing with detergents and avoid using bleach since it can corrode the pump and ruin the machine. In order to fully take advantage of your pressure washer and detergent combo, you will need to get a few things right.
- Choose the high pressure setting and use a medium spray pattern to remove dirt from the surface.
- Apply the cleaning agent using the wide nozzle setting and allow it to soak for a few minutes.
- Using a detergent means that you have to keep the surface of your dirty item or floor wet to avoid damaging it.
- Switch the nozzle to a medium pattern and rinse the surface with water.
- Drain the cleaner and rinse your pressure washer from the inside before adding your second detergent.
Wash Your Car the Right Way
Using a pressure washer to clean your car allows you to save time and cut back on water usage. This machine is all about efficiency and using the right combination of power and water flow can leave your car looking sleek and spotless. Chefs use different knives when dealing with different food items and the same concept can be applied to the washer nozzles that belong to your machine. If you use the wrong nozzle, you risk ruining the paint job. Therefore, it is incredibly important to keep that in mind when choosing a nozzle for your car. Pressure level also matters and the ideal number for car washing is 1200-1900 PSI. Moreover, a flow rate of 1.4 – 1.6 Gallons per Minute or GPM is also recommended.
- Wash your car away from other vehicles and buildings and take advantage of your spacious driveway if you have one to avoid collateral damage.
- Having access to more than one power outlet can help you easily maneuver your electric washer.
- Roll up the windows and make sure that your doors are closed to avoid flooding your seats. Remember to check your trunk as well since the water can seep in through any small opening.
- Test the water pressure before you begin and adjust it accordingly.
- Attach a nozzle with a 25-degree tip. This nozzle produces a fan pattern that can also be used to clean sidewalks and metal furniture.
- Start at a distance of five feet to further test the water pressure before moving closer.
- Begin by rinsing your car to remove stubborn stains and dirt. Spend more time on this step if you have a heavily soiled surface on your hands.
- Pay attention to the wheels, especially if they were muddy due to rainy weather. You can rinse them up close to fully remove dirt from the wheel covers or hub caps.
Most pressure washers are equipped with a tank that was designed for detergent solutions. Others come with two tanks instead of one so you can spend less time on refills. They also come with detergent friendly spray nozzles that allow you to take full advantage of their cleansing properties. Car soaps are specially formulated for washing cars and those will deliver great results without damaging the paintwork.
- Always keep in mind that detergents are strong chemicals that need to be diluted. Mixing the correct amount of clean water and car wash is necessary before you begin.
- Read the instructions written on the bottle and create your solution accordingly.
- Mix the clean water and car detergent together inside a bucket.
- Fill up the pressure washer tank with this diluted mixture. If your machine does not have a special compartment for detergents, you can apply it with a cloth instead.
- Hook up the correct nozzle and change the setting on your pressure washer to detergent mode.
- Switch on the washer and let it do its magic. Spraying should be carried out from top to bottom. You can divide your car into small sections and spend time washing each section separately or you can spray the car as a whole.
- Instead of rinsing the foam right way, allow it to soak for a few minutes. This allows the ingredients to work their magic and condition your car. If you use slippery soap, then allowing it to sit for five minutes will help dirt slide off the surface with little effort on your part.
- Rinsing requires a gentle nozzle and a different washing angle, so attach a 40-degree nozzle and hold it at a 45-degree angle.
- You can use a soft cloth or towel to dry your car afterwards.
Using a pressure washer becomes a piece of cake once you master all the above steps. Just make sure that you use the correct nozzle and pressure levels alongside the correct detergent to avoid damaging your paint job.
Pressure Washer Safety Guidelines
There are certain safety rules that you need to follow in order to protect yourself and others from the hazards of using high water pressure. The following guidelines will help you wash your car, driveway and other outdoor spaces safely and efficiently.
- Wear safety goggles while using the pressure washer.
- Refrain from pointing the washer at other people or animals.
- Avoid placing your hand directly in front of the nozzle.
- Standing on top of a ladder while operating a high water-pressure machine is a recipe for disaster. The powerful pressure resulting from pushing the trigger can disrupt your balance and send you tumbling down the ladder.
- Maintain a distance of six feet while spraying around power lines and outlets.
- Activate the safety lock on the trigger whenever you need to change the nozzle.
- Press the stop button on the washer and turn the water faucet off before you detach the high-pressure hose.