August 23


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How to Use a Pressure Washer

pressure washer beinner's guide

Pressure washers are perfect for those times that require more than just soap and water.

If you need to remove grease, wax, rust, or other similar materials, you need a good pressure washer. If you’ve never used one before, don’t worry because all it takes is a little practice and you’ll be able to clean anything that needs cleaning. In fact, if you have any cleaning surface with stuck-on dirt or grime, a pressure washer will wash it away like it’s nothing.

Basic Do’s and Don’ts of Pressure Washing

For one thing, you never want to use a pressure washer on anything living, and this includes plants, animals, or those neighbors you don’t care for. In fact, even if you’re pressure-washing near plants or animals, it’s recommended that you be extra careful so you don’t accidentally hurt or damage anything.

Next, think of a pressure washer as a tool for large jobs only.

If it takes you longer to set up your pressure washer than it does to complete the cleaning job, you probably would’ve been better off doing it by hand.

Finally, let’s take a look at the two main types of pressure washers: gas-powered and electric. You’ll also need to consider the cleaning power of the pressure washer you choose, and this is determined by two factors:

  • The pounds per square inch, or PSI, which indicates the force of the spray.
  • The gallons of water per minute that pass through the spray wand, or GPM.
how to use a pressure washer on wood

When you first start shopping for a pressure washer, it’s tempting to buy one with big numbers; that is, you can easily find a pressure washer that accommodates 5,000 psi and 5 GPM, but consider whether or not you need this much power.

If you’re going to be using it to wash the car, for example, finding one that is under 2,000 psi and only 2 GPM will suffice. This can also save you a ton of money when you’re out shopping for a pressure washer.

For most homeowners, a pressure washer with 2,000 to 3,200 psi and 2 to 3.2 GPM will accommodate most jobs, and these usually cost under $500. When it comes to learning how to use a pressure washer, you can keep things just as simple.

Before You Start Using Your Pressure Washer

Since you’ll want to be safe while operating your pressure washer, it’s best to go ahead and use eye protection and maybe even ear protection. The latter is especially important if you have a gas-powered pressure washer because they tend to be a bit loud. 

You’ll also need to have a basic understanding of how a pressure washer works. Your garden hose will connect to your pressure washer, and this water goes straight to the pump, where it is pressurized before the water is sent to the spray wand.

how to use a pressure washer on a patio

The garden hose brings water to the pump, and the pump is connected to a high-pressure hose with a spray wand on the end of it. Many pressure washers also have a siphon hose in case you’d like to add some type of detergent to the water, and of course, an electric pressure washer will have a power cord. 

You’ll also notice that there are several color-coded tips that are interchangeable. These are the same for every pressure washer and allow you to customize the angle of the spray so that each job is customized to meet your needs. The colors are as follows:

  • Red (0 degrees)
  • Yellow (15 degrees)
  • Green (25 degrees)
  • White (40 degrees)
  • Black (65 degrees)

Regardless of the tip you start with, it’s a good idea to take a few practice sprays before you start the cleaning process. 

This is especially important if you’re a beginner and will help you get the feel of the pressure washer and how best to handle it to achieve your goals.

There is also a difference between a pressure washer, which uses water at ground temperature, and a power washer, which has a heating element and is used mostly for removing things such as mold. Most homeowners have pressure washers and not power washers.

Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Pressure Washers

Here are some FAQs that will help you learn a little more about pressure washers.

Is it possible to damage concrete when you use a pressure washer?

yes you can damage concrete with a pressure washer

Yes, it is. The main way to avoid this is to start off with a tip that has a wide nozzle, such as the 40-degree white tip. Often, narrow tips such as the red and yellow one will put too much pressure on the concrete and will damage it. Start out with a wide tip and work your way up slowly to a more narrow one.

Should you winterize your pressure washer yearly?

Each brand is different, but winterizing your pressure washer is usually a good idea. Most of the time, you’ll do this by adding fuel stabilizer, clearing out any soap or detergent, and running a pressure washer pump saver through the washer by connecting it to the hose inlet. See your user manual for further instructions.

How do you use soap when using a pressure washer?

Pressure washers have siphon hoses or basins that the soap goes in, and you can usually use any type of detergent or liquid soap that you like. Ensure that the cut-off valves are on before you start using your pressure washer, and always abide by the instructions in your model’s user manual.

Preparing to Use Your Pressure Washer for the First Time

After you’ve taken a few practice sprays, it’s best if you start with smaller and less complicated jobs. You can use the green tip to remove surface-level stains, the yellow tip to degrease something, and the red tip for extra stuck-on dirt and debris

The narrower the tip, the tougher it will work on stains and debris. It’s good to experiment slowly with each of them until you get used to what they can do, and again, practicing first on something you know you can’t harm is the smartest thing to do.

using apressure washer for the first time

Both gas-powered and electric pressure washers will have a certain feel to them, with gas pressure washers being slightly heavier than the electric ones. While the electric pressure washers can be operated for long periods of time without stopping, the gas-powered ones will naturally stop once they run out of gas. 

When you’re a beginner, don’t spend too much time operating your pressure washer because you can experience muscle aches and pains if you do.

The biggest word of advice when you are learning to use a pressure washer is this: take it slow. Practice on smaller jobs, use wider tips so that the pressure isn’t as high-powered, and don’t spend too much time using your pressure washer in the beginning. 

As soon as you learn how it feels to carry around the washer and how it operates, you’ll become more confident and be able to use it for longer periods of time.

In Summary

Pressure washers can be true miracle workers for tons of home-improvement projects, and the more you use them, the more uses you’ll eventually think up for them. It’s also good to know you can get a high-quality pressure for under $500 – usually for around $200 to $300.

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