How to clean a car with a pressure washer? - The basics
Considerations when buying a pressure washer to clean your car
The most important things to factor in are water pressure (PSI the higher the more powerful a blast of spray from it), water flow (measured in litres per hour) and the pressure washer power in watts (the higher the wattage the more powerful the washer).
Try to find a pressure washer with all three combinations you need to clean your car. To help you out, we've put together a buyers guide to help your find the best pressure washer to clean you car.
You might also want to consider a foam canon as these can be a great way to clean your car with a pressure washer.
Tips for cleaning your car with a pressure washer?
What pressure washer nozzle should you use to clean a car
White head (40 degrees) nozzles are the safest for cleaning your car plus you can reach and rinse a greater area plus it wont damage your paint. I would stay away from green, red and yellow coloured nozzles for cleaning your car.
What PSI is best when cleaning your car with a pressure washer?
Start with a low pressure then slowly turn it up. I recommend choosing a pressure washer with the setting of 1200 to 1900 PSI. It is safe to use on cars, therefore you won’t have to worry about damaging the paint. Always try and go for a pressure washer with the setting of 1.4 to 1.6 GPM.
Things to be careful of when cleaning your car with a pressure washer
Is it safe to use a pressure washer to clean your car?
As long as you choose the pressure washer with the setting of 600 to 1900 PSI and you choose the right nozzle (a white one) It is definitely safe to use a pressure washer on your car and you won’t need to worry about damaging your paint work or your car.
Can pressure washers damaged the paint work on your car?
As long as you don’t choose a pressure washer over 2000 PSI and don’t hold the nozzle too close to the car you will be fine. Always make sure to choose a pressure washer between 600 and 1200 PSI and use the white nozzle.
If you were to use a massively high powered machine and you held it too close to the car, it would definitely take the paint work off your car.
Try the pressure washer on an inconspicuous part fo the paintwork first to check all is ok.
Can I wash my car seats?
Yes, but you want to go with the traditional method of scrubbing the seats with an upholstery cleaner for the best results. Using a pressure washer to clean car seats should not be something you even think about as it could hinder results and possibly make things worse than they were, to begin with. The water is known to just sit in the seat instead of drying properly, causing the seats to stink most times.
How often should cars be washed?
This is completely at your discretion, but it is not uncommon for people to wash their car every week. If you have subjected your car to salt put on the road to help with icy conditions or take a trip where you caught a lot of bugs, this will call for you to wash your car as soon as possible to get rid of it.
In normal conditions though, every couple (2) of weeks is plenty unless you can not wait that long before it starts bugging you. Just make sure you do not wait much longer so that you can ensure that your vehicle is getting treated the way it needs to be to keep it in great shape and catching eyes.
Is 2,000 PSI too much to wash a car?
No, but it is the maximum PSI you should go unless you are certain you can use a more powerful pressure washer without damaging your car. Also, there is no need for anything bigger unless you have other more intense tasks that you are going to end up needing a pressure washer for.
Should I dry my car after washing it?
Absolutely! Make sure to use a microfiber towel as well to prevent any scratches arising from drying your vehicle off. Not only does it give you a more polished look than if you were to air dry your car, but it also prevents damage known to arise from compounds in the water that can degrade the paint.
What PSI is safe for washing cars?
1,200 PSI to 2,000 PSI seems to be the range that most car owners can stick within when it comes to the pressure washers that they use for cleaning their car. Anything more will take a skilled hand, as improper use of the more powerful units could lead up to messing up your paint. The only reason you would want to go higher is if you need a more powerful pressure washer for other projects.