How to Remove Paint With a Pressure Washer

Pressure washers aren't just for washing. These handy tools can force mildew from stone, rust from metal, and force paint from wood. If you have a deck or other outdoor structure with peeling paint, renting a pressure washer is probably the easiest way to do it. They come in different pressure ratings and different nozzle angles; the lower the angle number, the sharper the stream.

Remove Paint With a Pressure Washer
  1. Make sure the area to be sprayed isn't near any electrical outlets or wires, and doesn't contain any glass or delicate fixtures that might be damaged by the high pressure spray.

  2. Set up your spray washer according to its instructions, hooking up your garden hose and affixing the 15-degree nozzle.

  3. Hold the nozzle about a foot from the area to be sprayed, at a slight forward angle. Pull the trigger on the sprayer to start the stream.

  4. Move the nozzle closer to the surface, just until you see the paint starting to come off. Use slow, steady forward strokes to remove the paint, pushing the stream forward as if you were pushing a solid scraper. If the surface is wood, stay with the grain of the wood. Move the nozzle back if you see any sign that the surface is being gouged.

  5. After the entire surface is stripped, allow several days of drying in the sun before repainting.


  • Pressure sprayers can hurt you as badly as a sharp piece of metal; never point one at a person.
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