Pressure Washing Tips Professionals Want You to Know

There are many responsibilities when it comes to owning a home, and the last thing you want on your plate is the exterior of your home looking dingy. The reality is that anything you have outside will look weathered over time, but getting them back to shape is easier than you think. 

We gathered pressure washing professionals to share their tips on the best techniques, advice and what to avoid when pressure washing your fences, roofs and whatever you want looking new again. So whether you are washing your driveway in Toronto, CA, or washing your exterior brick in Phoenix, AZ, they’ve got you covered.

Pressure Washing Tips Professionals Want You to Know - Driveway

Where to start

If instant gratification is your thing, pressure washing your home will clean and beautify your home immediately! Be sure to wear ear and eye protection as pressure washing units are loud and powerful. Happy pressure washing! Generator Mart 

Develop a cleaning strategy: Never start your pressure washing project without proper planning and strategy. Determine what and how you want to clean areas on the exterior of your property. Some areas require a little preparation before using a pressure washer to clean your property. Proper planning ensures proper cleaning and safety throughout your cleaning project. –Magic Wand Pros

Before you start washing your home you need to always prep the home beforehand. It’s always best to tape off any electrical outlets, lights, cameras etc. otherwise it could cause big problems and possibly even burn your house down. You always want to use low pressure (softwash) when washing your home so that the high pressure doesn’t damage the surface. Safety should always be first before you start washing. LookExterior

Things to consider when pressure washing

The words (Power Washing) should be an eye-opener. Most of our requests for services are for power washing, but in reality, we rarely use a power washer other than for cleaning concrete driveways. The word (power) in power washing can represent up to 5000 psi for homeowner units with most commercial power washers being used in the 3000 to 3500 psi range.  That’s 3000 pounds of pressure per square inch. In comparison, a Honda Civic weighs around 3000 pounds. Needless to say, a power washer can cause some serious damages to many structures and severe personal injuries. When the outside of your home becomes dirty, it’s important to know what it actually is we’re trying to remove and the material it’s being removed from. Most of the time it’s a combination of algae, dirt, spiderwebs, grime etc. These can usually be safely removed with special detergents and algaecides with low pressure. This process is known as softwashing and uses dedicated low pressure pumps to apply and remove. –Clean by Gene

When hiring an exterior cleaning company, I would recommend not hiring based only on price. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of damage on properties caused by uneducated companies. There’s a lot more to washing than simply buying a pressure washer and spraying away. –GreenWay Pressure Washing

With the limited time we all have, we also recommend hiring a professional to clean your property from roof to curb if you are preparing to list your home on the market. However, if you are thinking about going the DIY route to pressure wash your property before selling, it will be very time consuming, so you will want to focus on areas that will receive the homes first impressions- such as the front entryway, or the areas where people and families tend to gather such as an outdoor living area or a patio. To be as efficient as possible, you will want to use a rotary nozzle or a surface cleaner to get the job done efficiently with clean and even results. –Puget Power Washing 

When it comes to washing your roof or home. It is best to use a softwash method with special soaps for a couple of reasons. First soap will help break down dirt and grime allowing very light pressure to remove. (Think of laundry,  you wouldn’t wash clothes without detergent). Also, it prevents damage from using very high pressure allowing to clean in a much less aggressive way. Another Benefit of soft washing is it allows for your roof or home to be clean longer because our detergents attack grime at the root and do not just clean the top layer, it cleans deep down in the pores of the surface of your home or roof. Oleyn’s Pressure Washing

For the best results, try to overlap at least 25%-50% of the previous pass. In case you miss a spot in the previous pass, you will still have gone over the whole surface area in the end. US Janitorial Services

Pressure washing can help fight allergies – because it removes common allergens such as mold, mildew and pollen. Washing your house’s exterior on a regular basis will remove these substances that might otherwise accumulate and cause health problems. If you live in a region known for high pollen counts and has a climate conducive to the growth of mold and mildew, consider hiring a professional service to regularly wash your home. –Hydro Solutions

Depending on the type of surface, different levels of PSI are recommended: 1)Vehicles – 1500 PSI, 2)Trucks, trailers, tractors – 1800 PSI, 3)Platforms, walls, fences – 2000 PSI and 4)Large surfaces, patios, concrete – 3000/3500 PSI. –Vericlean Services

How to avoid damaging your home

How far you hold your nozzle from what you’re pressuring washing makes a difference. Make sure you’re close enough that it’s clean but far enough away that it’s not causing damage or leaving streaks. –Hutson

Hydrate all the plants and grass around your home to protect them from the cleaning agent. A thin coat of water fills the cells on the surface of leaves reducing exposure to the cleaner. If left unprotected, direct exposure to cleaning agents may burn leaves and grasses. Neptune Clean

Understanding power washer pressure and GPM – When choosing or considering a pressure washer for a project a certain amount of pressure will be needed to be able to clean a surface. However, pressure above the amount required is not beneficial and can actually be harmful creating damage to the surface. If you have the correct minimum pressure for the surface you’re cleaning, the GPM output of the washer will be the biggest factor that will impact the speed at which the surface gets cleaned. Pittsburgh Spray Equipment Co.

The best technique to clean the exterior of your home is low-pressure washing. Low-pressure washing techniques protect the structure of your home and yet the cleaning detergent is still tough enough to remove the grime, moss, and algae that have built up on your house. Aqua ProWash specializes in low-pressure washing and will use it on most of the cleaning jobs that will be done, so feel confident that your home is protected from any harm that a high-pressure washer could do. –Aqua ProWash

We recommend avoiding windows when pressure washing your home because you run the risk of shattering them and having a bigger problem than you started with. It is possible and actually beneficial to pressure wash windows, but unless you hire a professional or do thorough research, it can be incredibly dangerous. If you decide to research and pressure wash windows on your own, prioritize safety by looking for information on recommended psi and personal protective equipment, and also look into types of cleaners to run through your pressure washer to protect your personal or rented equipment — Pro Tip: always schedule your window cleaning for after your pressure washing projects! –MSNW Group

Pressure Washing Tips Professionals Want You to Know - Deck

How to clean different areas of your exterior

Siding

It’s tempting to use your pressure washer to clean the side of your home, but it’s something I never do as a professional. Siding is only meant to repel rainwater, and using a pressure washer will soak your insulation and lead to mold. Instead use your pressure washer’s foam cannon to apply a mixture of Simple Green and Dawn, which won’t harm your plants. Allow the mixture to dwell for 5 minutes, and then agitate with a soft brush and then gently rinse with the shower setting on your garden hose sprayer in a downward direction to avoid getting water into vented soffit panels. Impulse Power Wash

Roof

Don’t pressure wash composite shingles! The water pressure is far too great for the material and will likely destroy your roof. Instead, stick to gentler options for removing moss such as sweeping and sprays. If you find you don’t want to climb onto the roof yourself, Bayside Exterior Cleaning has proven softwash methods that not only restore shingles but kills organic growth at the underlayment layer where moss is most prevalent. Bayside Exterior Cleaning

Driveways

For oil spills on driveways or in Garages, it is best to immediately soak the spill with an absorbing agent like kitty litter. Crush the kitty litter into the spill and allow it to sit for 20 minutes or more. Once swept up, you can even scrub with a degreaser to improve the stain. Set oil spills cannot be completely removed by pressure washing alone. –Carolina Pressure Pros

Patio

Kill the algae and mildew with professional gentle soft washing. High-pressure washing can do more damage than just your home! Paver patio cleaning, joint sanding and sealing are more in-depth than sweeping in the sand and rolling on a cheap sealer. Quality products and accurate knowledge can save big headaches in the future. –Clear Water Prowash

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