How To Power Wash Exterior Surfaces

Power washing the exterior surfaces of your home can be an effective way to replenish their natural beauty by eradicating the dirt and grime that can build up over time. But not all surfaces are suitable for this type of high-pressure cleaning and if you’re not careful could do more harm than good.

In addition to knowing where it’s safe to spray you should also know how to do the job properly in order to have the most efficacy in accomplishing the task at hand. Homeowners interested in power washing londonberry nh have the option of getting the work done professionally or renting a pressure washing machine from a local home supply or hardware store.

For those who fall into the latter category, here are the things you should know before you plug in the hose and get to work.

Safety First

As always you must take precautions to avoid injuring yourself and others and prevent from damaging fragile portions of the home and surrounding property. The nozzle end of a power washer fires extremely powerful jets of water at around 1,000 lbs of pressure. Therefore, you should never, ever point the nozzle at people or animals.

Keeping that in mind you should also be cognizant of using a power washer on any surfaces that are not strong enough to withstand that kind of pressurized force.

Before you even pick up the nozzle of a power washer you should be wearing adequate protective gear for your eyes and face and gloves for your hands. If you are planning on using any attachments or accessories to do the job be sure to attach them prior to operating your equipment.

Using the Power Washer

Never use your power washer indoors. These powerful units are meant for cleaning exterior surfaces only. When you are operating the machine there are certain methods that are best for ensuring that you are cleaning with efficiency and accuracy.

Always start from the top of any surface and work your way down so you are being careful not to soil an area that has been cleaned already. If you start lower and work your way up, the dirty water will cascade down into the portions that have been washed and you’ll have to do twice the amount of work to get the job done.

When you are spraying your surface, point the water towards a downward angle instead of upward or head on. You’re doing this to prevent from the surface taking the full brunt of the force and keeping the water away from cracks and seams that could become compromised from the impact of the water.

When you are using detergents and similar cleansers through your power washer machine, be sure they are safe for use on the surfaces you are cleaning. After you have cleaned the surface completely rinse the detergents or cleansers away with a second spraying of that surface.

Highly Recommended Washing Tips

When you are pressure washing any area around the home there are some helpful hints you will want to keep in mind to make the task go by easier and more efficiently.


This is a useful way to loosen tough dirt so power washing your surfaces can be more effective. Use low pressure to wet the area and remove caked on grime. Then you can apply the higher pressure spray to clean the surface entirely and use less detergent in the process.

High Temperature

Successful power washing procedures rely on high pressure to clean your exterior surfaces but to get the job done for eradicating all of the dirt with less cleaning solution turn up the heat and use hot water. It’s far more effective than relying on cold water.

Check the Pressure

Be cognizant of the surface you are cleaning and consider if you should be using full pressure on it. Some materials can’t handle getting the full brunt of the power washer nozzle so before you clean any surface, be sure you aren’t about to damage it with a power washer that’s simply just too forceful.

Check the Nozzle

The type of nozzle you use for the job can also have an impact on the efficacy of the task. When you’re selecting a nozzle there are two factors to consider, the spray angle and the size of the hole through which the water is being expelled. Larger nozzles bring decreased psi but that does not affect the flow.

When you’re choosing a spray angle, most nozzles typically offer a range of 25 to 65 degrees and the smaller the angle, the more potential you have for causing damage and leaving streaks behind. Most professional cleaners will favor an angle of around 40 degrees to tackle just about any cleaning job.

Check the Distance

The length of space that exists between you and the surface that you are cleaning can also have a tremendous effect on your ability to remove dirt. While the nozzle and the temperature of the water are both important, your position while you power wash the surface can enhance the impact of both.

When you are located closer to the surface, the pressure is increased and the heat of the water becomes hotter when it makes contact. If you want to reduce the pressure and the heat, stand further away from what you are washing.

Surfaces that are Suitable for Pressure Washing

Most hard exterior surfaces can withstand the force of a pressure washing. The following are safe for cleaning with high pressure spray, but in just about every case, be sure you examine and repair any cracks or fractures in the surface before pointing a high-powered water spray directly towards them. Water damage can result and this can be costly and inconvenient to fix:

  • Brick
  • Concrete (including stamped and pavers)
  • Cut Stone (mortared and unmortared are both suitable)
  • Exterior Siding (this includes wood, aluminum, and vinyl)
  • Stucco
  • Wood (but test the material first so you don’t splinter or chip the type of wood you plan to clean)

You can also use a power washer to clear out your gutters and soffits in addition to using it on your patio furniture made of wicker or metal. Adjust the nozzle to a lower pressure setting.


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