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Power Washing Tips and Tricks

Keep these power washing tips in mind while you tackle the project and your home will be like new in no time at all.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that my husband Richard and I love to do labor intensive projects that really make a difference in the look of our home and yard.

Our latest project is a full power wash of the siding and brick on our house.

If you want to get the most out of a pressure power washer, you will need to keep a few things in mind.

Used properly, a good power washer can erase years of grime and dirt from a home and greatly add to its curb appeal and home value.Man with a power washing hose and words 12 power washing tips.

Note: Power tools, electricity, and water can be dangerous unless used properly and with adequate precautions, including safety protection. Please use extreme caution when using power tools and electricity near water. Always wear protective equipment, and learn to use your tools before you start any project.

Get your House Sparkling clean with these Power Washing Tips.

One thing that I discovered recently, while power washing, is that it is HARD on the hands and back. I have minor arthritis in my hands and elbows, and the weight of the nozzles as well as the constant pressure on the trigger meant that my hands would ache.

Keep this in mind as you are working and plan for short breaks.

Ready to see how clean you can get your house? Keep reading for my power washing tips.

Power washing has become more and more popular over recent years. But a power washer is not a wizard’s magic wand. To get the most out of it, you have to use it properly.

1. Know your machines

At the top of my list of power washing tips is choosing the machine you will use. Unless you have a very small home, an electric home power washer probably won’t do a very good job.

Those models will clean a car or boat well, but will be less than optimal for a larger home.

There are stark differences in the ability of the different models. Electric machines operate at 2400 cleaning units.

Gas power washing machines are better and can get up to 6000 cleaning units or so, and professional machines can operate at 16,000 cleaning units.

The more cleaning units, the more effective the way your job will look when it is done. Opt for at least a gas model, if you can’t get the professional one.

Gas power washer on a deck.2. Choose the right nozzle

One nozzle does not fit all. Both the size of the nozzle opening and the angle of the spray makes a difference during the job. Small machines often have only one nozzle which will adjust the spray.  Professional machines offer the ability to switch over the nozzles depending on the power washing task.

We used a gas model for our power washing job, and the nozzle was adjustable for the strength of the spray. This worked very well for getting different blasts of pressure. It would have been nice to have had some difference in the angle at times during the job though.

Adjustable nozzle for a power washer.

3. Be safe

Remember that water and electricity don’t mix well. Cover exterior lights and cable boxes with plastic. Check for over head electrical wires.

You will be standing in water most of the time that you are power washing so be safe. We removed this light fitting and covered the wires in plastic for our job.

Light on a blue shutter background.

4. Water supply

Your hose will need to deliver a certain amount of gallons per minute that is specified by the machine you choose. You can test this to see how long it takes to fill a 5 gallon pail, and then compare it to the gallons per minute that the machine needs.

Also, be sure to use a garden hose no more than 50 feet long, and it is best if it is kink free.

Long hose with a nozzle.

5. Starting up

This is the order of things to do to start the machine:

  • Be sure all your hose connections are tight, so no air can enter the lines.
  • Set the spray wand to low.
  • Turn the water at the tap on full force.
  • Squeeze trigger to remove air from the system and prime the pump.
  • Start the washer.

man checking a power washer.

6. Protect plants

Be sure to lay down tarps to cover delicate plants.

We have a new garden bed that was just planted recently and wanted to make sure that the spray and cleaner did not harm the plants.Blue tarp over plants.


7. Vary the spray

We found that we had to keep adjusting the spray depending on what areas we were cleaning. For the toughest stains we used a narrow spray, but for general cleaning, the wider spray worked best and was easier on our brick work.

A wide footed stance worked best too. The blast from a power washer is quite strong and you can easily fall over if not careful.

Man power washing a house with plants covered by a blue tarp.

8. Work in small areas

My power washing tips were made easier by sharing the load. My husband and I took breaks by taking turns on the cleaning. We cleaned the brick work as well as the steps and walkway.

I found it easier, when it was my turn, to work in a small area at a time. Also to prevent streaks, and keep track of what you have done, work from one side to the other.

There is something oddly satisfying about power washing. Seeing that patio go from dirty to clean was something else!

Power washing a walkway.

9. Don’t spray windows

We cleaned our window trim and windows with a normal cleaning nozzle. The high burst of a power washer can break windows, so you have to be careful around them.

Man washing windows with a hose nozzle.


10. Be careful with siding

If you are not careful, the force of the spray can get behind the siding and cause moisture problems later on.

If you use the power washer on vinyl siding, be sure to hold the nozzle at an angle and use an extender wand for the higher areas. You want the spray to hit the siding above and at an angle, not below. White siding, window with lace curtain and blue shutter.


11. Choose your cleaner carefully

This is one the most important power washing tips to me. My main concern for our project was that the cleaner that we used was safe for my plants. I have garden beds all around our home, planted with perennials.

If you have garden plants near your house, be sure to choose a cleaner that is easy on the plants and also does a great job on the really dirty areas too. There are many products that will do this for you.
My husband and I worked as a team for the steps, walkway and small patio. It was easy for me to scrub the cleaner on the steps while my husband worked on another area. This gave the cleaner a chance to do its job well.Cleaning steps in front of house.

You will not believe how well this all turned out. I will put together a second post, soon, showing lots of images to show what a difference power washing the front of your house can make. Be sure to check back soon to see my before and after photos.

For more household tips, be sure to visit my Pinterest Board.  It is loaded with ideas to make your life easier.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."