Everyone loves the idea of being able to give something a very thorough cleaning, but without having to put a lot of effort into it. This is particularly true when you need to do something like clean the siding on your home, a deck or patio, a fence, or a driveway. Since these sorts of things spend a lot of time being exposed to the elements, they can really accumulate a lot of dirt and they’re definitely not small enough to want to wash by hand.
For these sorts of chores, power washers can be very helpful. The results they can give can be so awesome, you might be tempted to use a power washer for as many chores as you possibly can. However, remember that power washers are, indeed, powerful, and can cause damage or injury if they aren’t used correctly.
First of all, remember that not everything should being cleaned using a power washer. Water from a power washer has the potential to injure people, so it certainly can damage other things as well. To give you an idea of how strong power washers can be, a lighter power power washer typically has a higher water pressure than you get by using the hose provided at a car wash.
Although many people love to use power washers to clean their home’s siding, power washers do have the potential to damage vinyl and aluminum siding if you aren’t careful. Decks made of wood, a composite wood, or PVC have also been known to be damaged by power washers. Do not use power washers to clean things like outdoor umbrellas, plastic furniture, or cushions for outdoor furniture. Generally speaking, stick to using power washers on materials that are naturally very sturdy like concrete, brick, and stone. If you aren’t sure if something is good to use a power washer on, try testing it on a small spot that’s not very visible. To prevent damage, try to keep your pressure washer set between 1,500 PSI and 1,800 PSI, use the wide stream nozzle, and keep the nozzle at least 2 feet away from your target.
Before you start cleaning, make sure everything that could be damaged has been removed from the area and be sure there aren’t any young kids or animals nearby. Kids in particular might not realize that a power washer is a lot more powerful than a regular garden hose and could think it would be fun to play with it. Don’t forget to wear safety goggles, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants to help protect yourself from any debris that might go flying. Boots with rubber soles will also help you keep you from slipping and falling on a wet surface.
Once you start cleaning, keep the nozzle at a 45 degree angle and keep it moving in a side-to-side motion. If you need to apply a detergent, apply it starting from the bottom and work your way up. To rinse your detergent, rinse starting at the top and working your way down. If you’re using a power washer to clean your siding, do not use the power washer while standing on a ladder. Use your power washer’s extension wand to reach those areas that are a little harder to get to.
When you’re all done, don’t forget to flush your power washer to get rid of any detergent you used. Check the user’s manual for more information on how to do that.
Used correctly, a power washer can help take a lot of work out of even the most daunting outdoor chores. By following these steps, your yard will be looking fantastic in no time!