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Safety and Cleaning Tips for a Pressure Washer

Updated on August 3, 2017

Photos of Pressure Washing

Pressure washing steps is easy but, watch your toes because a pressure washer with a strong PSI can peel skin right off your feet.
Pressure washing steps is easy but, watch your toes because a pressure washer with a strong PSI can peel skin right off your feet. | Source
Power washing a deck requires a tip that omits light pressure so that the wood does not get split and splinter off.
Power washing a deck requires a tip that omits light pressure so that the wood does not get split and splinter off.
Be sure to use the correct tip for the correct job. Using the wrong top can be disasterous and destroy wood and siding.
Be sure to use the correct tip for the correct job. Using the wrong top can be disasterous and destroy wood and siding. | Source
It is important to have the correct power washer for each job. Also, make sure to use the correct tips for each job.
It is important to have the correct power washer for each job. Also, make sure to use the correct tips for each job. | Source

Cleaning Tips

Some windows will require a second application. There are some things that may be obvious when using a pressure washer but, there are some things that you just need to know so that you don't hurt yourself.

1. Bleach: Never put bleach of any kind in your pump. Pouring a little bleach directly on a tough spot on concrete is good idea. Keep a push broom with quality bristles ready to scrub the hard to get dirt or stains off of concrete. When working with bleach, always use goggles. The bleach can splash you in the eye and it has the possibility to bleach your eye. If the bleach gets into your eyes and you won't be able to see.

2. Wood: When cleaning wood, such as decks and fences, make sure and keep the sprayer at least three feet from the surface to prevent the wood from splitting. Also, use a weaker tip on your wand and spray a small inconspicuous area of the surface your are going to clean to make sure you have the right tip and water pressure before doing the entire job. Always wear goggles just in case the wood splinters off the tree. The splinters can easily hit you in the eyes.

3. Windows: When cleaning windows never use a hot pressure washer on them. This would be true especially during the colder months because, you will risk cracking a window. When cleaning a window spray it down first with the black tip and soap first.

4. Concrete: When cleaning concrete make sure the washer is at least 3,000psi and pumps at least four gallons a minute. Also, when cleaning concrete, a hot water cleaner is better for the tougher stains such as oil or grease. Using the correct chemical for the job is also helpful when cleaning this type of surface. Remember, there will be little rocks that can come off the concrete when you are spraying. You might want to wear blue jeans or old work pants and closed toe shoes. Once again, don't forget the goggles to protect your eyes.

5. Run Water First: Do not turn on or attempt to use a gas pressure washer without first turning on the water. This running water, will keep you from ruining your pump. Also, you will need to press the wand in before you crank the pressure washer so, that it doesn't ruin the pressure washer. It is ideal to have one person crank the pressure washer while the other one engages the sprayer.

6. Low Power Pressure Washer: Use a low pressure power washer when cleaning siding on a house. It is amazing how much better a home will shine after being pressure washed.

7. Remove shutters: Remove all shutters when cleaning a home so, that you can get rid of mildew and any nests that may have formed. Wasps and yellow jackets love to nest behind shutters.

8. Gutter Extension: Use a gutter cleaning extension, it makes cleaning out gutters a cinch. It has a curve in it so, all you have to do is walk along the gutter and watch the leaves and dirt fly.

9. Avoid spraying plants, flowers, mailboxes or any lighting fixtures. Also, use plastic such as painter plastic to cover bushes, plants and things that you wish to keep away from chemicals. You will especially want to cover bushes and plants if you are pressure washing for a customer.

10. When spraying a house, spray the chemicals from bottom to the top then wash it off at the top and spray it downward. This will help prevent streaking and also allow the dirt and grime to flow downward and off of the house. The surfaces will look cleaner when they dry. Then, if there's rain in the near future that's even better, it can wash the dirt even further away.

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Safety Tips

1. Never Aim The Wand Near Anyone-Always keep the wand pointed downward until you see how hard the pressure is going to be. Also, please watch out for animals and small children while you are working. Be sure the tips are properly inserted on the wand because if you shoot one of those tips off the end it could be very dangerous.

2. Changing Tips-When you change pressure washer tips make sure your washer is turned off. A full blast from a strong pressure washer can rip the skin off your bones

3. Safety Boots & Safety Goggles & Gloves-Safety boots are always a good idea to have one just in case you were to spray your foot. The power of a pressure washer can go through a tennis shoe. Goggles are a no brainer.-When you are pressure washing with such high power, there will be debris flying. You want to wear goggles to protect them.Wearing gloves is not "mandatory", I would say but, they would be nice to have on if the wand somehow get away from you and you have to grab it with your hands. It's just added protection that is just a good idea.

4. Electrical Outlets-Always make sure that you keep your water away from fuse boxes and power lines. Cover up the fuse boxes before power washing.

5. Sharing Outlets-To prevent electrical hazards from happening, be sure your pressure cleaner is the only thing plugged into the socket being used.

6. Engine Off-When filling the oil or gas make sure the engine is turned to the off position.

7. Protect your Equipment/Investment-During the colder, winter months you may want to store your washer in a warm place and maybe even wrap it in a few blankets. Run a mixture of 50% antifreeze and 50% water through your pump.

8. Gas Pressure Washer-Gas pressure washers are never safe to use indoors. Never have smoke or fire near your pressure washer.

9. Equipment Check-Make sure all hoses are connected properly. Also very important is to check the gas and the oil and make sure they are in the proper tanks.

10. Wands & Tips-It is safer, if you have to climb really high, to use a tip or a wand to allow you to clean faster with a different tip and able to reach farther with a wand extension. Extension wands can be helpful in that they can be used in place of a ladder in some occasions.

* The number one safety tip with a power washer is common sense. Use good judgement and you should be fine and able to avoid any injuries from this heavy equipment.

Pressure Washing Tips

Tips for Power Washing

© 2012 Buster Johnson

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    • Jack Nolan profile image

      Jack Nolan 2 weeks ago from Orland Park

      Great article on the best practices for a pressure washer! I would recommend a surface cleaner for wood decks and concrete sidewalks, driveways, and garage floors as it will clean these flat surfaces faster and more thoroughly. You can even use a surface cleaner on a wood fence! Some are pretty inexpensive but you will save time and money on water with a surface cleaner. Check some out at https://www.pressurewashersdirect.com/power/surfac...

    • lesliebyars profile image
      Author

      Buster Johnson 2 years ago from Alabama

      I am glad you enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      Dom RIchards 2 years ago

      Great article, I borrowed my brother in laws karcher last week to clean the roof of my house and this article proved very helpful. You cant be too safe with high pressure units!

    • profile image

      Jeff Powell 3 years ago

      Great tips - will tweet this on our Jetbusters twitter account

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 5 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Very Interesting and Useful!!! We borrow my mother-in-law's power washer a few times a year to clean the house, deck, and driveway. Definitely Great Tips and Warnings for those that have never used one!! Thanks for sharing!!!