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Spring cleaning - power wash the house before painting.

Updated on February 3, 2015

Power wash the house before exterior painting

If you are like me, spring cleaning has everything to do with the outdoor living spaces around our home. After all the exterior of our house is what the neighbors, our friends and family see first when they drive by or visit.

The past several years, we have found ourselves putting off the inevitable. For me, my call to action was when my father in law with his typical kick me in the pants comment, his last and infrequent visit I might add, how about you get off your ass, and do something about that faded paint on the shutters and gutters, that kind of thing makes the whole house look like shit.

Can you say embarrassing?

I quickly concluded, as I believe any self-respecting homeowner would. This year, my spring-cleaning jobs will include power washing the house before giving the exterior a fresh coat of paint.

Power washing a house has it's rewards
Power washing a house has it's rewards

Things you need to power washing a house

Power washing a house

We will need,

Power washer, for the best results in cleaning the exterior of our house before painting, a gas powered pressure washer is the perfect mix of cleaning power and portability. Furthermore, the best size power washer for homeowners washing a house is, between 1500 and 2000 PSI that delivers between two gpm and three gpm.

Helpful tip, to determine how effective a power washer is at cleaning, consider converting psi and gpm into cleaning units. Simply multiply, the psi by gpm, for instance, 2000psi multiplied by 3gpm is 6000 cleaning units. More cleaning unit’s equates to more aggressive cleaning power at your disposal.

Proper water supply

Garden hose, homeowners commonly mistakenly try to use an old leaking garden hose to supply water to a power washer. The problem here is two fold, leaking water not only makes a mess of things, and it wastes a lot of water. As if that was not bad enough, a leaking garden hose also has the potential to starve the power washer of water it needs to operate effectively. Causing the machine to overheat and break down.

Make sure the garden hose you use is at least five eights of and inch in diameter, and has new washers, gaskets or O-rings to eliminate any water leaking unnecessarily.

Most affective power washer cleaner for the money

Power wash using soap & detergent

Cleaning solution, soap, or down stream chemical injection attachments, are all common names used by manufactures that refer to a popular feature used by a power washer to apply the cleaning solution to what ever it is we are power washing.

Cleaning solution attachments mix our preferred cleaning chemicals, be it bleach, a general cleaner like simple green or just your everyday household white vinegar and water solution.

By using the combination of a low pressure, nozzle and its large oblong shape orifice that produces a low pressure, high volume fan shaped water spray. Generally somewhere around 50 psi (pounds per square inch), and the cleaning solution attachment, which siphons the cleaning chemical from its container, be it some sort of gallon jug, or bucket. Making the 15 too one water too cleaning chemical mixture easy to spray, onto what we are power washing, without the need of applying the cleaning chemical in another laborious fashion.

No ladder needed, telescoping pressure washer wand makes power washing eaves and gutters from the ground safe and easy

Things to do before power washing a house

Power washing

Getting ready to power wash a house

Getting ready to power wash the house requires a bit of planning, and organizing. We will need to move all the decorative planters along with all the other decorations on and around the house out of harms way. Oh yeah while we are talking about it, it is time to take down all those Christmas lights you know whom you are.

Removing all the window screens, rain gauge and thermometer is a good idea as well, let us not forget, those hanging baskets, wind chimes, and plants scattered about the place.

Power washer set up, first just let me say, washing the house in direct sunlight is not the best way to go about the task, it is much better to power wash a house in the shade when ever possible. Direct sunlight not only makes it harder to see where we have and have not power washed, it makes any cleaning solutions we use dry before they have had adequate time to loosen the dirt and grime.

Set the pressure washer in a well ventilated area with the gas engine exhaust directed away from any doors, windows, and plantings. Attach one end of the garden hose to the water faucet and run the water hose to where the pressure washer is setting, taking care not to cut, kink the hose on a sharp corner, closing window or door.

Before attaching the hose to the pressure washer inlet fitting, turn the water on and let it run for a couple minutes to flush the hose and shut it off. There is the possibility a foreign object is inside the hose that will clog the inlet screen there by starving the pressure washer pump. This will also purge most of the trapped air inside the hose lessening ware and tear on the pump that occurs while it runs without water running through it keeping all the small parts cool.

Attach the garden hose to the pressure washer inlet fitting taking care to tighten it securely, ensuring it does not leak wasting water and making a big muddy mess in the yard.

Attach the trigger gun and high pressure hose assembly via the quick connects coupler, to the outlet fitting on the pressure washer pump.

Turn the water faucet on wide open and squeeze the trigger on the control handle, allowing the water to run a couple minutes, purging air from the pressure washer pump, unloader valve and hose not forgetting to check for water leaks.

Power washing a house, bottom to top

Power washing a house using a pressure washer

● Step 1, before firing up the ole pressure washer, we should first cover the plants residing close to the house with a lightweight tarp. This is to avoid getting all the dirt and grime washed off the house from ending up covering the foliage of our ornamental trees, shrubs and Hostas. We must remember to remove the cover as soon as we have finished power washing, and rinse the plants with the garden hose, just to ensure our plants are clean, and free of any cleaning solution residue.

● Step 2, turn the water faucet on wide open and check for any major leaks in both the garden hose and high pressure hose. A few small drips is ok, any thing more fix.

● Step 3, Check the fuel and engine oil to ensure all is as it should be. With the engine oil and fuel tank full, follow the engine manufacture’s engine starting instructions and “start your engine”.

● Step 4, begin power washing the house at the bottom, especially when using the cleaning solution attachment with your pressure washer to apply a cleaning chemical.

Start power washing at the bottom of the house, the foundation if you will, working your way up the side of the house. Alternating between the cleaning solution followed by power washing the cleaning chemical, loosened dirt and grime off the house, using a twenty five degree nozzle in the end of the cleaning wand and trigger gun assembly.

Finally rinsing everything from top to bottom will help prevent streaking, and clean the house a whole lot better than the that starting at the top of the house and working down, or somewhere in the middle.

Frugal DIY homeowner

As homeowners, we understand the importance of maintaining our home’s appearance. We also understand spring cleaning requires power washing the house before painting to keep it looking good and withstanding the tests of time. How great would it feel to discover the entire house really only needed a good power washing to bring it back to its original splendor?

Power wash your home and enjoy its beautiy. Mike

The author of this publication, Mike Teddleton owns the copyright to Spring cleaning - power wash the house before painting.. The rights to publish this article in print or online can only be granted by contacting me the author in writing. You may use the intro and link back to the article directing the reader back to my post here at HubPages where they may find the story in its entirety

Favorite Spring Cleaning Pressure Washing Tips, Tricks and Secrets


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    • whitton profile image


      8 years ago

      Great Hub! Power-washing your home definitely makes a difference to the outside of your home to get all the dirt and grime off.

    • Teddletonmr profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Teddleton 

      8 years ago from Midwest USA

      Thanks Pamela99 the wife and I have the same brich home with wood trim. A telescoping wand makes cleaning the gutters and overhang easier to power wash, and is much safer than using a ladder.

      Great to hear from you. Mike

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      We power wash our house in the spring and it looks so much better. We have a brick house but the trim needs repainting periodically. I think this is a very useful hub for home owners.


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