There’s more to a pressure washer than just aiming and shooting. There are a variety of different techniques and skills you can use depending on what you need. Before we jump into these tips, it’s best to get an understanding of how pressure washers work.
How Does a Pressure Washer Work?
Pressure washers are machines that use either electricity or gas to accelerate water, creating a high powered stream to blast away dirt, algae, and other built up gunk on a wide variety of different surfaces, such as siding, cement, and wood, to name a few.
Electric pressure washers are powered by an extension cord and are notable for being considerably smaller, lightweight, and quieter than gas ones. Gas has the advantage of being noticeably more powerful.
What Are Some of the Best Techniques When Pressure Washing?
According to Pressure Washing The Woodlands, a professional power washer company, there are a few different things you can do to clean the surface in question. Some of this is just a matter of how you use the pressure washer gun, while others, such as sandblasting and soda blasting, require extra accessories and chemicals to execute effectively.
Sandblasting requires an attachment that works with a heavy duty pressure washer — think along the lines of 3,000 PSI. This technique involves using fifty pounds of sand over the course of twenty minutes to tear through the toughest gunk and grime.
Soda blasting uses baking soda mixed with water to get up tougher things like graffiti. You need to clean the area thoroughly beforehand, and then start at a low pressure that slowly increases to get rid of the most penetrating paints and stains.
Because it can be dented and marked so easily, it’s best to use care when cleaning wood. When washing, use a lower powered nozzle, while also moving back forth constantly but slowly. If you start to see any puffiness or fraying, you might want to go to a lower powered nozzle.
Does the Type of Tip Influence the Technique?
Absolutely! The most powerful, the 0°, is mostly used for blasting away large chunks, but can actually harm surfaces if you’re not careful. Other types of tips are lower in pressure but do a wider range, with the weakest being typically a black ended nozzle used for dispensing soap.
If you are using your pressure washer for less heavy duty applications, you can invest in an adjustable nozzle, which can cut back considerably on overall washing time. There are also brushing nozzles that work similar to a vacuum in that they clean a set area that you go over while being held like a vacuum.
Typically, adjustable nozzles only work for weaker pressure washers, with the highest PSI typically being around 2400. When using these nozzles, always start at a lower pressure and work your way up; you don’t want to harm whatever surface you are cleaning.
Another options is to use a brush nozzle to easily clean cement and siding. When using these ends, you shouldn’t need to apply too much pressure; in fact, this might make weird indentations if you do. Try gripping the handle with one hand to avoid straining your back.
Can I Use Soap or Chemicals When Pressure Washing?
It’s highly recommended to use some sort of soap when pressure washing. A low pressure tip is required to dispense it, because it avoids the possibility of harming someone. There are different types of soap that specialize in certain surfaces.
When applying soap, make sure to do so liberally, but out of direct sunlight. After the area has soaked for a few minutes, go ahead and blast away what you need to. Make sure to use hot water, as it is a better solvent, and always rinse the detergent away before it dries.
Using chemicals is a matter of your preference. Keep in mind that these chemicals do reduce labor time considerably, so don’t be afraid to apply a generous portion on the area. Also remember that you can only apply these chemicals via the approved black chemical nozzle.
As you can see, the best techniques really depend on what you need to clean. Doing a simple driveway cleaning is a bit different than cleaning your patio. All in all, make sure you have the proper tools, machine, and chemicals for the job to make it easier on you.