How to Pressure Wash

A pressure washer is an excellent tool to get your siding or decks cleaned and looking like new. Many companies rent pressure washers so that you can do the job yourself without having to buy one. There are a few important things you should know when using a pressure washer.

Pressure washer.
  1. Rent a pressure washer. It should cost you about $50. Pick up some detergent also. There is a special detergent for pressure washers. Ask the employee who rents the equipment to show you where it is.

  2. Scrub any mildew spots with a scrub brush before you use the pressure washer.

  3. Add water and detergent to the pressure washer. The amount of detergent depends on the brand you bought. The instructions on the product will tell you how much to add.

  4. Choose your tip and place it on the end of the pressure wand. The tip you choose depends on how much pressure you need to clean your surface. Typically, a 25 percent tip to a 60 percent tip will do the job. A 0 percent tip is really harsh, while a 75 percent tip is only a step up from the pressure you get out of your garden hose.

  5. Cover any plants or furniture to protect them from the power-wash detergent. The power may be too hard on some plants, and it could kill them. Cover them with tarps or the drop cloths that painters use.

  6. Connect the power washer to your outdoor garden hose. Turn the spigot on.

  7. Put on safety goggles, work gloves and some ear muffs for protection.

  8. Set yourself about 3 feet back from whatever you want to pressure wash. You can always move closer if need be, but if you are too close and the pressure is too high, you could damage your surfaces.

  9. Slowly squeeze the handle of the pressure washer so that you get used to the power. Once you have it at the strength you like, aim high.

  10. Start at your highest point on the left and work from left to right in a row. The dirt is going to move downward, so you must start at the top. Keep going from left to right in a row until you get to the bottom.

  11. Watch out for electrical boxes. Be very careful not to get them wet. Cover them with plastic before you begin, just in case some water splashes over.

  12. Rinse off the siding or decks with plain water from your garden hose when you are done pressure washing. This will get the chemicals off so that they don't do any damage.


  • Never stand on a ladder and use a pressure washer. You could fall off and get seriously injured.

About the Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.