Spring has just arrived.

Are you ready to get your outdoor area looking great again?

Spring is pressure washing season and people are going nuts looking for the best one to buy. Just take a look at the data:

Google Trends Data for Popular Pressure Washer Keywords

Best Pressure Washer Google Trends

This chart shows us the 5-year history of the keywords ‘pressure washer reviews’ and ‘best pressure washer’. It is indicative of the pressure washing on-season and off-season. As you would expect the off-season is winter and on-season is Spring and Summer.

Let’s look at the best things to pressure wash to kick-off the Spring cleaning season:

1. Concrete and Brick Driveways

Your driveway is one of the most important factors in giving your home curb appeal. A nice clean driveway makes it look new.

My parents recently put in a brand-new driveway and it cost them $7,000 for a driveway that can comfortably fit 4 cars (500 sq-ft).

A medium-duty pressure washer to make your old driveway look new will only cost $300. Not a bad investment if you ask me.

2. Wood Decks

Do you like to entertain in the Summer?

Backyard BBQs?

Cleaning your wood deck or back patio is essential before inviting friends and family over.

Why?

Because the Winter has probably made the wood look dark and aged and it now has some moss and mildew on it which needs to be cleaned off to make it less slippery and more fresh looking.

With a pressure washer and the right soap (don’t use bleach) you can quickly pressure wash your wood deck without damaging it.

Once you have your new pressure washer you can also take care of the grill, patio furniture and house siding this Spring season.

Not bad.

3. Vehicles

Have you ever gone to a car wash just because it was easier than sponge and bucket of soap?

I know I have.

But with a pressure washer you can use less water and get the same effortless clean of a car wash. Here’s our how-to guide for cars and trucks. The gist is you want to use the right nozzle and start by holding the spray a few feet from the car moving closer to remove dirt.

Who knows you might even start thinking cleaning your car is fun.

Here we take you behind the scenes of Revive Power Washing – A professional power washing company located 61 miles North of Philadelphia.

Jon Owner of Revive Power WashingThere’s a series I love on lifehacker.com called How I Work. They interview writers, founders, designers and programmers, and focus on how they work. Everything from their computer setup to if they listen to music while working…

…I decided to create the same thing but for power washing contractors.

Revive Power Washing is one of our recommended pressure washing contractors in Pennsylvania. Jon, Owner at Revive, was excited to be the first power washing contractor featured in our version of how I work: How I Clean.

Below are his written answers (links added by me) to the questions we will ask in every How I Clean interview moving forward.

Jon’s answer to “What would your dream power washing setup be?” is my favorite.

WebsiteRevivePowerWash.com
Location: Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Services: All types of residential and commercial pressure cleaning.
Work Truck:
Revive Power Washing Work Truck

Tell us how you became a professional power washing contractor and business owner?

I used to be a construction manager for a large commercial general contractor. The industry lost its appeal to me when the economy fell so I was looking for something to start on my own. I was actually looking into the carpet cleaning industry, and came across power washing through my research. I found a local contractor who was selling a complete commercial set up, hot water machine, water thank, hose reels, and guns, all mounted in a box truck. I stopped by and talked to him about the business and I heard lots of potential. I purchased the truck and equipment and since then have built a successful business.

What’s your power washing equipment and go to accessories (pics would be awesome)? How did you decide on these?

This is an ever changing topic and sometimes depends on the type of job we are doing. We have 3 different machines in our fleet currently, 1 Hot water Landa machine @ 5.5GPM and 3000psi. A cold water belt drive pressure pro machine @ 8GPM and 3000psi. And a cold water direct drive machine @ 5.5GPM and 3000psi.

  • The hot water Landa machine is needed for doing any commercial concrete cleaning. The water is heated up to 180 degrees through the diesel fired burner. The hot water helps cut through food grease, oils, and safely melts away bubble gum. This is our go to machine for commercial flat work.

Revive Power Washing Hot Water Landa Machine

  • The 8GPM pressure pro cold water machine is great for building washing or house washing. The high volume of water helps speed up the entire washing process. This machine is also used for concrete sidewalks when there is not the presence of food grease, oils, or bubble gum. Again, the high flow volume allows us to work faster.
  • The 5.5 GPM cold water unit is great for residential house washes. The machine is compact and can be fit in the bed of a pick up truck with room for a water thank, hose reels, and anything else you would need like chemical containers and buckets. We did like using the 8GPM machine for residential, but found in our area that most homes do not have enough water flow to keep our water tank full when using 8 GPM of water. This is why we use the 5.5 GPM for residential.

Revive Power Washing Direct Drive Machine

  • Accessories: We have 2 surface cleaners: A 20” whisper wash classic, and a 24” A+ surface cleaner. Both are great machines. There is a rule of thumb when purchasing a surface cleaner, you do not want to go TOO BIG! It is best to go 4”of surface cleaner for every GPM of your machine, so for example: 8GPM machine x 4”/GPM = 32” max surface cleaner. Anything larger than this will spin too slow and you will actually loose productivity. So if you have a 3 GPM machine, do not purchase a 30” surface cleaner and expect to be productive. Match your accessories to your machines.
  • Hose reels: I love Titan brand reels. They are constructed of aluminum or stainless steel. They are on the higher price point, but they will not rust away to nothing on you like steel ones. Remember, we are working with lots of water and sometimes corrosive chemicals.

What about the work truck or van… Do you have a water tank that comes with you job to job and is your power washer – truck mounted or in a van (pics would be awesome)?

We have an enclosed trailer, 7’ x 14’ with BARN DOORS. Barn doors are key as opposed to a ramp door for ease of access. This houses the hot water landa, cold water pressure pro, 300gal water tank, hose reels, wands, a ladder, and misc tools and fittings. We usually carry about 75-100 gallons of water in our tank from job to job, and hook up to the customers water on the job to provide a constant supply of water until we are finished with the job.

Revive Power Washing Water Tank

If money was no matter what would your dream power washing setup be like?

This depends on what work we are doing. I would probably have 3 separate set ups: 1 for commercial flatwork & buildings, 1 for straight residential work, and 1 for fleet washing. I would prefer a flatbed truck mounted set up for all of these, but it is not ideal in our area because of the colder temperatures we get in the fall and winter.

What does a typical work day look like from waking up to arriving home?

Days when I am in the field working, we arrive at our shop at 7:30am, load up the truck and are on the road by 8:00am. Usually we like to arrive to the job by 8:45 and get started by 9:00. This is so we do not disrupt neighbors with the noise of the machines. For residential days, we can typically get in 3-4 houses depending on the route and size of the homes. So we will return to the shop between 3:30 – 4:00pm, re-fuel machines for the next day, re-stock on any soaps, and make sure the equipment is ready for the next day.

Is there a surface you prefer to clean, a surface you hate cleaning?

I like most everything. One I would say I do not enjoy is wood. This is because I am very picky and there is a process to properly doing a wood deck. I have not been educated on the proper process to restoring wood so we pass on any deck jobs.

I see you are a member of the UAMCC (United Association of Mobile Contract Cleaners) and PWRA (Pressure Washing Resource Association) – do you think it is important for other power washers to be members of these associations? How have these associations helped you?

If you want to be successful in your business, it is critical to be a part of an association. They have been priceless to the growth of our business. The networking alone that these organizations bring is huge. If I am stuck on something, I can literally have an answer within the hour because of the network. The associates don’t just help you with the technical items such as equipment and how to clean certain surfaces, they help you with sales, and how to run and grow a business. I can not say enough about the importance of joining one of these organizations.

Are there yearly convention meetups for these associations? Are they fun events?

Yes, they have multiple events across the country each year and they are packed full of great information, discounts on equipment and supplies, giveaways, and they are SO MUCH FUN!!

Do most people book your service through email/online or through the phone?

Majority is through phone, but we have been seeing an increase in online with our online instant bid feature.

How do you manage your business? Home office…?

It nothing to brag about!!! We run it in our office which is in our bedroom on a tiny desk with a computer, printer/ scanner, and a file cabinet. However, we have systems in place so we don’t need a big fancy office. That is key, build systems into your operations so you don’t need a huge set up. Keeping overhead expenses down helps the bottom line.

What goals do you have for you power washing website?

To be #1 in our service area. We have been working on boosting our SEO and over the past 4 months it has been climbing.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about pressure washing/owning a pressure washing business that might be interesting?

You should determine up front if you want to be an owner operator, or a business owner. You can be successful doing both, but I have heard stories of guys that got started and wanted to be a business owner, but never made the jump. They have been stuck doing the work, along with the sales, bidding, invoicing, accounting, payroll, mechanic, and anything else that comes up. You need to have a system or plan in place to make that jump so you can work ON your business an not get stuck IN your business.

Is there anyone you’d love to see answer these same questions?

I have a guy in Minnesota who I think would enjoy this. He is heading out of town this week but I can give you his info and you can touch base with him. He is on Facebook

Check out Jon’s blog here.

Do you have a stained, grimey, mildew invested driveway?

Would you like to make it look brand new?

All you have to do is this: get a pressure cleaner and spend a few hours this Saturday cleaning your concrete driveway.

Here’s 10 examples what a GOOD power clean can do for your driveway:

1) This driveway may need another go over before it looks new…But the good half does look way BETTER now.

Driveway Cleaning Pressure Washer

Benscottweb

2) The professionals use a rotating surface cleaner.

Driveway Cleaning Power Washing

DusLeJ

3) Brand new or just freshly pressure washed?

Driveway Clean Pressure Clean

rv260

4) After many years you begin to think that is just how the concrete looks (black mildew).

Concrete Cleaning Power Washing

omg_IAMA_GIRL

5) To think you can achieve this within minutes of pressure washing.

Power Cleaned Driveway

HenCarrier

6) Again you can see the power of a surface cleaner to remove grime and mildew. 

Driveway Cleaning Surface Cleaner

Steveyobs

7) So satisfying.

Concrete Surface Cleaning

pubmech

8) This is someone’s driveway in Perth, Australia half power washed.

Clean Driveway

bovrilburger

9) A (half) brand new looking backyard pathway.

Concrete Cleaning

powerwashernoob

10) Half gross, half pressure washed.

Concrete Cleaning

frogslayer

Which Pressure Washer To Use?

The most popular residential pressure washer is the $150 AR Blue Clean. AR stands for Annovi Reverberi – an Italian company that has been making state-of-the-art industrial water pumps since 1958.

Check out the full specs here:

Source and Useful Links

1. H/T to r/powerwashingporn on reddit.com. All the images above were sourced from there. The link to the user that posted each image is listed below each one.

2. If you made it this far then be sure not to miss out on a brand new looking driveway for only the price of pressure cleaner. Here’s the best 6 gas and electric pressure washers on the market.

3. Here’s the instructions how to pressure wash concrete.

Does your car leak oil? Leave stains on your driveway and garage floor? Yes – then you’re in the right place. Here you will learn how to remove those stains with a pressure washer.

Driveway Cleaning With Power Washer

With a Pressure Cleaner

Hard to believe: Coca Cola has acids strong enough to remove oil stains. Luckily not strong enough to burn through your stomach though.

…Below you will learn which chemical/cleaner is best for removing oil stains from concrete. You will also be taken through how to select the best pressure washer and how to prep the driveway for best results.

Here’s 3 steps to removing oil stains from your concrete driveway with a pressure cleaner:

1. Which Pressure Washer?

Power Washing Driveway Before After

Results

There’s 509 different pressure washer options so to save you time here’s the best 6.

On that page are 3 electric and 3 gasoline powered pressure cleaners that are perfect for cleaning your driveway.

Each has different specs so let’s get a bit more concrete driveway cleaning specific.

Gas or Electric?

Verdict: Budget Reliant

Thoughts on Gas:

You could use a gasoline or electric power washer to clean your driveway. Gas is more expensive and more powerful than electric. They have higher flow rate as well so bigger jobs will get done faster. If you are going to buy the cleaner and want to be able to do large jobs with ease (as well as small ones) you’ll be better off in the long run with a gas powered power washer.

Thoughts on Electric:

If you only plan to wash your car, boat and do other odd jobs over the year then electric will perform just fine. And they’re more affordable and don’t require maintenance or trips to the gas station.

Rent or Buy?

Verdict: Buy

For less than $300 you can get a pressure cleaner that will do any cleaning job around your home. And that’s the top end price range. More likely is that you’ll spend $150 and get a medium-duty electric cleaner to clean your car, back deck, fence, boat and driveway. So since power washers have so many uses why not buy one and make good use of it?

On the flip side hiring a pressure washer is $65 upwards to $140 for one day. That’s an electric cleaner bought outright.

What PSI?

Verdict: Doesn’t Matter

You can adjust effective PSI based on the nozzle you use and how far you hold the wand above the surface. In general, a medium duty PSI of 1700 – 2800 is perfect for driveway cleaning.

What GPM?

Verdict: At least 1.5 GPM

GPM is more important to cleaning speed than you might first think. If you double the GPM while keeping PSI the same you double the cleaning ability of the pressure cleaner. With a job as small as a residential driveway, 1.5 GPM to 2.5 GPM is good. Most washers in this range are $100 to $300 (affordable).

Hot or Cold Water?

Verdict: Cold (Because Hot Water Pressure Cleaners Are Expensive)

Choosing hot or cold water is based on your budget. I’ve gone with cold because the most affordable hot water cleaner is about $1000. And, although it will make any cleaning job much more efficient, it’s a lot of money to spend for odd jobs around the home. If you can afford it get a hot water one.

Which Nozzle and Attachment?

Verdict: Surface Cleaner or Rotary Nozzle

A surface cleaner evenly spreads the jet wash over a 12 inch or more area, cleaning that entire area in 1 go. It will speed up the job immensely. A rotary nozzle, also called turbo nozzle, is a high pressure nozzle that will blast away the toughest concrete stains. It shoots water in a circular pattern and makers claim it cleans 40% faster than regular nozzles.

2. Prepping The Concrete Driveway

Check out this video from Karcher North America on driveway cleaning:

Absorb Any Surface Oil

If you’re cleaning a recent oil spill be sure to take a rag and absorb as much oil as you can before it soaks into the concrete.

Remove Cars, Bikes From Driveway

It seems obvious, but I thought it still deserved a mention… Make sure you park your car on the street away from possible flying debris.

Brush Loose Debris Off Driveway

You can use a brush or use the 25 degree nozzle to wash away all the loose dirt before applying the detergent/chemical to the concrete.

3. Removing The Oil Stains And Cleaning Away All The Mildew And Grease

Which Chemical To Use?

Deciding which chemical/product to use to make the clean easiest depends on a few factors. “How long has the stain been there?” is the main factor for deciding how to get rid of it. The longer its been there the stronger a chemical it needs – degreaser will usually be required.

If you act fast you’ll probably get away with using dish soap or Coca Cola.

Let’s look at the different options and how to use them:

  • Degreaser: For the toughest oil stains you’ll need to use a degreaser. A degreaser is an alkaline cleaner that eats away at the oil stain. Follow the instruction on the degreaser container. Usually you’ll mix with water, spray on the stain, scrub it in and then wait for a few hours before pressure cleaning away. You may need to re-apply several times to fully destroy the oil stain.
  • “All-in-One” Pressure Cleaner Detergent Products: Krud Kutter makes one of these that costs $10 for a gallon.
  • Coca Cola: Thanks to Coca Cola’s carbonic and phosphoric acid it works wonders on stains – even oil stains on your concrete driveway. Dump a can or two on the stain and leave it overnight. Pressure wash it away the next day and the majority of the stain should be gone.
  • Dish Soap: Dish soap may work for light-duty stains. Mix the soap with some water and liberally apply it to the concrete. Scrub it in with a brush, leave for a little while and then pressure clean.
  • Be sure to check out this in-depth guide on concrete cleaners.

Pressure Cleaning Technique

(Always be sure to read pressure washer User’s Manual before use)

  1. Cover/block off street storm drain so you’re not polluting your state’s waters.
  2. Connect home water supply to power cleaner.
  3. Place unit away from the job so it doesn’t get in the way. Use the hose length to your advantage.
  4. Connect surface cleaner or rotary nozzle.
  5. Turn pressure washer on.
  6. Begin cleaning.
  7. Complete job safely making note of hazards.

Two Bonus Tips:

  1. Wait 48 hours before assessing if the stain is removed. There may remain a bit of shading on the concrete where the oil stain once was. Wait 48 hours to see if that goes away. Oftentimes it will slowly disappear over 1 day or 2 as the concrete fully dries.
  2. Charge other people money for you to clean their driveways with your new pressure washer. Once you have a brand new looking driveway you could make a sign just like real estate agents do advertising your pressure cleaning driveways service to your neighbours. Providing a great service at a fair price is always a great way to make money.

Safety, Safety, Safety

High pressure water is no joke. Be sure you read the safety section in the pressure washer User Manual. Be sure to wear closed in shoes, safety glasses, long pants and hearing protection if you’re using a gasoline powered washer.

Sources And Useful Links

1. The power washing article on cleaning a concrete driveway in the landscaping section of Answers.com was reviewed during the research phase.

2. There’s some drawbacks to pressure washing your concrete driveway and Cement.org does a good job explaining them in this article.

3. HGTV’s article on power washing a driveway was helpful in clarifying a few steps. Check out the article here.

4. eHow’s 7 step process is simple and clear. I used it in the initial stages to help create my article outline.

5. Driveway before after image credit: User Kaffein on Reddit.

Let that wood shine!

Here’s 17 photos of freshly pressure cleaned wood surfaces that’ll make you drool… And hopefully motivate you to pressure wash your wood deck or fence this weekend…

…Pressure cleaning your wood deck or fence is easy – Here’s my wood pressure washing guide.

A wood factoid!

  • Did you know balsa wood has a strength-to-weight ratio 2x titanium & stainless steel, and 1/5 carbon fiber? It’s an impressive material, and its Mother Nature’s invention.

And it’s oh. So. Pretty… When clean – My favorite are #5 and #16.

1) “Landlord wouldn’t wash the deck, so I did.”

Wood Pressure Washing 1

Source: wh1pp3d

2) “Didn’t think my deck was too dirty. I couldn’t have been more wrong.”

Wood Pressure Washing 2

Source: nights0223

3) “The highlight of my pre-easter cleaning.”

Wood Power Washing 3

Source: life_gave_me_leptons

4) “Let that cedar shine.”

Wood Power Cleaning 4

Source: OldManKamps

5) “Cleaned my fence this summer.”

Wood Fence Power Washing 5

Source: SixgunSaint

6) “The deck is next!”

Wood Chairs Pressure Washing 6

Source: l1v32r1d3BmX

7) “First time power washing the deck since it was built in 2002!”

Wood Washing 7

Source: MessyJeese

8) “Just moved in. I have some cleaning to do!”

Wooden Deck Cleaning Washing 8

Source: _NonSumQualisEram_

9) “Pressure washed my 12 year old deck for the first time.”

Wood Washing 9

Source: EvensonRDS

10) “My deck – before and during [pressure washing]”

Wood Power Washing 10

Source: MikeGayner

11) “Long overdue.”

Wood Power Cleaning 11

Source: UnrustledJimmie

12) “Been living in this rental property for 2 years I couldn’t stand the dirty wood out back anymore.”

Wood Pressure Washing 12

Source: mages011

13) “They had to tell me to “Stop cleaning stuff!”

Wood Washing 13

Source: dawiyo

14) “My friend owns a power washing business. Most of his clients own log homes.”

Log House Pressure Cleaning 14

Source: cgsf

15) “Power washing my buddy’s deck…satisfaction.”

Wood Post Power Washing 15

Source: P50

16) “After putting this off for 6 years, finally got around to it just in time to move. Still very satisfying.”

Wood Deck Pressure Washing 16

Source: KeepCalmCurryOn

17) “It *badly* needed to be cleaned 4 years ago when I moved in. Today I finally got around to it.”

Wood Washing Surface Cleaner 17

Source: blboppie

(H/T r/powerwashingporn)

There you have it! That’s some oddly satisfying power washing porn, hey?

Share this with your friends!

Useful Links

1. Mechanical Properties of Wood. I used this PDF to compare different woods’ mechanical properties with steel.

2. Wood Preservation.

Here you’ll learn why pressure cleaning your wood deck is smart, and how to do it without damaging it. We’ll look at what equipment to use, how to use it and how to future-proof your deck.

How to Pressure Clean Your Deck

With a Pressure Washer

According to the National Association of Home Builders, 25% of all US homes built between 1995 and 2005 had decks.

If you include wood porches – the number spikes to 75%…

…And, according to Consumer Reports research, your deck is a top 3 value adding feature when it comes time to sell.

So it makes sense to invest in maintaining your deck – cleaning is maintenance 101.

It will remove environmental pollutants like mold, mildew & algae and clean any hamburger grease or Coca-Cola spill stains. (Not to mention make it shine like Mother Nature intended.)

Here’s the 6 steps for max results with minimal time, effort and cash.

1. Picking the Correct Pressure Cleaner

Cleaning Back Deck

Results

With the correct pressure washer you’re results will look the good half of this:

With the wrong pressure cleaner you could damage the wood – partially ruing your deck’s future value.

Things to consider:

  • Rent or buy the pressure washer?
  • Electric of gas powered?
  • What pressure (pounds per square inch: PSI) should it be?
  • What flow rate (gallons per minute: GPM)?
  • Hot or cold water?

To buy or rent?

Verdict: Buy

You can buy a pressure cleaner for your deck cleaning for less than $150. It’ll cost at least $50 to rent one for 4 hours.

And you could use the washer you bought for your car, your boat and other cleaning jobs around your home. And you’ll probably want to wash your deck with it once every 2 years or so.

It’s really a budget thing. It may cost a bit more to buy one outright – but it’s probably worth it in the long run.

Electric or gas?

Verdict: Medium-duty electric

Electric units are more affordable but less powerful than gas. They’re also limited in range by their electric cord. Generally though you don’t need the gas power for a deck.

You’ll be able to use either (as long as you use the correct nozzle and technique) to clean your deck.

So if you’re renting it doesn’t matter. If you’re buying only to use for small jobs then get electric. Get gas if you want to use it for more than just your deck.

What PSI?

Verdict: Any residential pressure cleaner will do.

With wood you want to be careful. Too much pressure and you’ll damage it.

With the right nozzle and technique the rated PSI of the washer doesn’t matter.

An example: Using a pressure washer is intuitive. You’ll naturally move closer to the surface with the wand as you judge more pressure is needed. A 1,500 PSI pressure washer focused on 1 square inch of wood equals 1,500 pounds – easily enough to damage the wood. But, with a 40 degree nozzle 1 metre away from the deck is only 52.5 pounds (same as a garden hose). This works because the nozzle now spread the same PSI over 28.7 square inches.

What GPM?

Verdict: 1.5 to 2.3 GPM

Light-duty and medium-duty washer are the ones you’ll want to clean your deck. Their GPM range is 1.5 GPM to 2.3 GPM.

Hot or cold?

Verdict: Cold water

You should use cold water for wood surfaces. Hot water will expand the wood trapping any detergents etc.

2. Using the Correct Nozzle

Verdict: 40 degree nozzle

Briggs and Stratton 6177 Second Story Nozzle Kit

Nozzles are named based on the width of water stream they create. The 40 degree nozzle creates the widest stream of water. From 1 metre a 40 degree nozzle will spread the water to 28.7 inches…

…Compare that with a 0 degree nozzle which will focus the entire pressure of the water on 1 inch by 1 inch of the surface.

Use a 40 degree nozzle to clean your deck. No matter what pressure cleaner you’re using test on the underside of the deck to ensure it doesn’t damage the wood.

3. Should I Use Chemicals?

Verdict: Yes

Different chemicals have different purposes. Let’s look at the most common for deck cleaning:

Bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite)

Bleach will brighten your deck and kill mold and mildew, but will not do a great job cleaning deep. Out of all the chemicals you can use bleach gives the most instant results – your deck will look clean.

Since wood’s pH is acidic and bleach is basic, you’ll need to rinse the wood with a slightly acidic solution of oxalic or citralic acid to avoid long term damage to the wood.

Caustic Cleaners (Sodium Hydroxide)

Caustic soda solutions, commonly used in detergents and drain cleaners, will be your go-to chemical for removing the sealant from a previously sealed deck.

You’ll need to neutralize after use to return the wood to its natural pH.

Caustic cleaners are the strongest cleaners used on wood decks and you would probably not even need a pressure cleaner to do more than just wash it all away. However, caustic cleaners are corrosive and will burn your skin if left untreated.

Detergents (eg: TriSodium Phosphate and water)

A detergents is a mixture of ingredients in water that work together to “loosen” dirt and grease from a surface allowing for it to be easily washed away. Detergents work best when combined with bleach because bleach is much better at killing the mold and mildew.

There are many detergents on the market for everything from cleaning your clothes to cleaning your driveway and deck. Detergents are safe and affordable and a great option for residential use.

“All-in-One” Products

These are proprietary combinations of chemicals that work to clean a specific surface. Companies can easily market these as “deck cleaner” or “driveway cleaner” to use in combination with a pressure cleaner.

They’re the best option for the DIYer. Professional will tend to use combinations of the above chemicals, but for most people these “All-in-One” products work great. Examples: Krud KutterKarcher Multi-Purpose Cleaner.

4. Preparing the Deck

  • Sealed or unsealed deck, doesn’t matter, your first step is removing everything from it – table, BBQ, flower pots etc.

Unsealed Deck Preparation

  1. Sweep or blow all dirt and leaves and other loose debris from the deck.
  2. Wet surface with garden hose.
  3. Apply detergent or all-in-one cleaner with a sprayer.
  4. Wait 10 – 15 minutes. (the hotter the day  the less time you wait).
  5. Power clean with 40 degree nozzle and medium-duty electric cleaner.
  6. Repeat in 10′ x 10′ areas until deck complete.
  7. Repeat steps 3 to 6 with a brightener (bleach).
  8. Wash down entire deck with light acidic solution to return wood to original pH.

Sealed Deck Prep

  1. Cover off surrounding painted areas and windows to ensure protected from caustic cleaners.
  2. Clean loose debris from deck.
  3. Water down deck and deck surroundings.
  4. Apply caustic cleaning solution with a sprayer.
  5. Follow steps 7 and 8 above.

Sanding After Pressure Washing Wood Deck?

The bleaches and caustic chemicals (if used) will cause the wood fibres to appear loose. You’ll want to sand the deck once dry to ensure surface is safe for barefoot walking. If you’re going to seal it after sanding make sure not to go finer than 140 grit sand paper cause the sealant won’t be able to absorb properly..

5. What’s the Correct Pressure Washing Technique?

  • Work in manageable areas to ensure the chemical doesn’t dry before getting to that part of the deck. An area 10 ft x 10 ft is good.
  • Wash with the grain not against it.
  • Adjust how high pressure wand is above deck as you go – you’ll see it working.

6. Future-Proofing Your Deck

Cleaning your deck is a great way to ensure it remains functional. Repeat the process every 2 years to ensure maximum deck health.

Since the sun and water damage the wood covering your deck with a roof can protect it. But given the cost and effort cleaning is a much better option for a back deck.

Safety Tips

  • Take 5 and Think About the “Swiss Cheese” Dangers: This exercise gets you to visualize the task to ensure things like removing trip hazards is done. Swiss cheese dangers are one’s where multiple things line up to create an unexpected but catastrophic result (multiple slices of swiss cheese line up to create a pathway through them). These are things like your cat running into the pressure water stream getting a fright and jumping up to scratch your eyes so you fall backwards off the deck. Avoid these by being aware they are possible – lock the cat inside and be sure you’re always aware of your surroundings.
  • Use Eye Protection: Always use eye protection. They’ll protect you from flying debris. Sunglasses work fine.
  • Use Hearing Protection (Gas Powered): If you use a gas powered pressure washer use hearing protection. If you’ve used a lawn mower then you know how loud a small gasoline engine can be.
  • Read Pressure Washer User Manual: Always read the User’s Manual of all the equipment you use. Tips and instruction for startup, use and shutdown will all be well laid out in the manual.
  • Read Any Chemical’s Used MSDS Sheets: Always read the MSDS sheet of chemicals used. Be sure you know what not to mix it with and what you’re supposed to do if ingested.

Sources and Useful Links

1. How to Clean Your Wood Deck. A great article by SealRX.com, a wood and concrete sealant company.

2. Deck Cleaning and Sealing. Powerwash.com produced a great article about deck cleaning with a pressure washer. Much of the article is dedicated to what detergent to use and is geared more for contractors. Regardless, a useful resource.

3. Pressure cleaning back deck image credit. Image sourced from user Motown89 on reddit.com.

4. Using a Pressure Washer to Clean a Deck. Decks.com article on proper things to consider when cleaning your wood deck.

5. Video on youtube.com was used as a starting point for researching this article. This video is produced by Lowes and is very focused on the sealing part of the deck cleaning process.

6. Characteristics of New Single Family Homes. Article from 2006 on the National Associates of Home Builders website. Page contains many useful stats on homes built in the USA between 1995 and 2005.

7. The 5 Best-and 5 Worst Home Improvement Project for The Money. Article on USnews.com that compiles stats from Consumer Reports on the future value of wooden decks for home sellers.

Disclaimer: Although much time has been spent ensuring its accuracy – this article should be thought of as no more than a starting point for your deck cleaning with a pressure washer research. PressureCleanerReviews.com claims no responsibility for any damage done to your deck, or any other property or person as a result of pressure washing your deck based on advice from this article.

It’s amazing what 80 years of soot coming from Pittsburgh steel mills does to a building. Here’s what it did to the 2nd tallest educational building in the world. But it was no match for the power washing crew…

Below are pics of the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh. The building’s construction began in 1926 and has not been washed since.

It was pressure washed over several weeks in 2006. Here are some before and after pics of the building:

1) I think it looks pretty cool dirty. You?

Power Washed Building Pittsburgh Before 1

2) It looks heavenly clean, though.

Power Washed Building Pittsburgh After 1

3) You can see how dirty it really is from this shot.

Power Washed Building Pittsburgh Before 2

4) Oh, the power of some high pressure water.

Power Washed Building Pittsburgh After 2

All pics sourced from Ryan_Cheesburger.

Recommended Links:

1. These pressure washers are the best for cleaning your house. They’re not commercial, like would’ve been used to this building, but they’ll do the trick around your home. Check them out.

2. If you’re more serious about pressure washing and want to wash some mates houses, driveways or simply enjoy owning a pressure washer with more power than you need – check out these commercial power cleaners.

I received a great question and thought it deserved an entire post to answer.

The question:

I’m looking for a power washer around 3000 psi for general around the house work. I will occasionally use it to clean vinyl siding and will use it weekly or so to wash the cars. Mostly I want it for the summer to keep things clean around a pool we own.

My big concern is getting a machine that is too powerful for washing cars. I’m afraid of damaging the cars but want a machine that is powerful enough to keep a large concrete driveway clean.

Is there a way of dialing down the pressure from 3000 to say 2000 or lower when using it to wash cars. I’ve never owned a power washer before so I would appreciate your advice. Thanks.

Thanks Patrick for the q.

The gist: You can adjust the force hitting the surface by using different nozzles. Only the $3,000+ commercial pressure washers will have a dial that you can turn to adjust pressure. For a washer around the home you have to use nozzles, which is affordable and simple.

You can definitely have a 3,000 PSI pressure cleaner wash your car – as long as you use the right nozzle.

I’d recommend one of these gas power washers. The Generac 2,700 PSI is the most affordable gas powered, and should easily manage the jobs you want to do with it.

Let’s take a look at the effective pressures for each nozzle:

Nozzles

Nozzles are termed as 0 degrees, 15 degrees, 25 degrees and 40 degrees. The 0 degree nozzle shoots a direct jet of water. The 15 degree nozzle spreads out the water creating more of a sheet of water and so on… With the 40 degree one creating the biggest sheet.

If you’re standing with the tip of your pressure washer wand 1 metre from your house and you’re using a 3000 PSI pressure washer here are the corresponding forces for the different nozzles (assuming no losses over the 1 metre):

  •  0 degree nozzle: house feels 3000 pounds of force or 50 times the force of a garden hose.
  • 15 degree nozzle: house feels 289 pounds of force or 4.8 times the force of a garden hose.
  • 40 degree nozzle: house feels 105 pounds of force or 1.75 times the force of a garden hose.

So if you’re using the 40 degree nozzle and you stand 1 metre from your car you’re only washing your car with about 2 garden hoses of pressure, which is fine and won’t damage it.

Things to Consider

  1. The closer you are to the surface the more effective force. Since the GPM out the nozzle is the same if you’re using the 40 degree nozzle but standing with the nozzle less than 1 inch from the surface – the surface feels the full PSI of the washer.

Here’s how I came up with those numbers (omitting the trigonometry and assuming no losses over the 1 metre from the nozzle to the surface)

Nozzle Forces

Pressure Washer NewsYour requests have been heard.

Here are the 4 buying guides you requested. They will help you find your pressure washer unit or accessory today.

The Guides:

1. Commercial Pressure Washers

Commercial pressure washers are 4000 PSI and more.

They’re pump is either direct drive or belt driven – depending on if you’ll use it more or less than 4 hrs per day. Get a belt driven if more.

DeWalt and Simpson dominate this corner of the market.

2. DeWalt Brand Pressure Washers

As I touch on in the guide, DeWalt is just a rebadged Simpson. But usually with a better CAT pump than the Simpson AAA brand pump.

The best DeWalt washer for most people is the one that offers best value for the money.

3. Greenworks Pressure Cleaners

Greenworks is a brand manufactured in China. Another brand of pressure washer – Powerworks – is made on the same assembly line.

They’re both affordable and light-duty electric units. Well-suited for home-use on the weekends.

4. Pressure Washer Hoses

It was surprising to see pressure hoses as the fourth most requested guide. It seems like a simple enough accessory choose, right?

Well, there’s a few things to look for in a pressure washer hose. And you need to make sure you know what you’re shopping for.

Pressure Washer PricesEver wonder what a $12,000 pressure washer looks like?

What about a $530 hose?

Below are 8 pressure washer prices categories ranging from below $50 to above $5000.

Within each category is 3 examples what you get in that range.

(Note: The $12,000 washer is at the top and the $530 hose near the bottom)

Pressure Washer Prices: $5000 & Above

 

Shark Hot Water Heavy Duty Truck Skid Mount Power Washer$11,999 – Shark Brand Skid Mounted 3,500 PSI 5.6 GPM Diesel Heated Hot Water 27 HP Gas Powered Engine Belt Driven Pump Industrial Series Pressure Washer

This is one of the most expensive power washers at nearly $12k. There are more expensive ones, but they come on expensive trailers, so you’re really paying heaps for the trailer itself.

You’re paying for industrial quality. It has the best of everything – 27 HP engine, belt driven 5.6 GPM 3500 PSI pump, diesel powered heater and 1-1/4″ powder coated steel frame for vehicle mounting.

The unit is built for commercial all-day-everyday-use.

Dirt Killer 3000 PSI Hot Water Electric Pressure Washer$6,470 – Dirt Killer Hot Water Electric Powered Industrial Power Washer 3,000 PSI 4 GPM

When you combine an electric motor that can move an industrial grade pump to generate 3,000 PSI and 4 GPM with a hot water schedule 80 heating tank/coil you get an expensive pressure cleaner.

For comparison, if you got this spec pressure washer with gas instead of electric powered pump it would cost $2k less.

If you want electric and hot water and need industrial quality this is the premier unit.

Pressure Washer Trailer Mounted$6,199 – Pressure Washer Mounted on Trailer With Water Tank

Here is a 3,500 PSI gas powered cold water pressure cleaner mounted on a trailer with a water tank.

You’re obviously paying about $5k for the trailer, tank and workmanship.

Nonetheless, a great option if you’re a mobile pressure washer and you go to sites with no water supply.

Pressure Washer Prices: $2000 to $5000

 

Shark SGP 3000 PSI Hot Water Pressure Cleaner$4,999 – Shark 3,000 PSI 3.5 GPM Hot Water Gas Powered Commercial Series Power Cleaner

Most of the hot water pressure cleaners live in the $2k to $5k range.

As you saw above, to get out of the $5k range the GPM jumps up above 4 GPM (bigger pump and more hot water heating ability).

Simpson Heavy-duty 5000 PSI Washer$3,999 – Simpson 5,000 PSI 4 GPM Cold Water Belt Driven Gas Pressure Washer

When you remove the hot water capability you can get a lot of cleaning capacity for a decent price.

This Simpson unit is about as powerful you’ll ever need, and comes on wheel cart to move it around the job site as necessary.

Pressure Pro Electric Heavy Duty Washer$2,499 – A Heavy-duty Commercial Grade Electric Powered 3,500 PSI 4 GPM Pressure Washer

This unit has a 10 HP electric motor made for everyday use.

This is the premium you have to pay to get an electric powered commercial quality heavy-duty power cleaner.

Pressure Washer Prices: $1000 to $2000

 

Simpson Mini Brute Hot Water Power Cleaner$1,799 – Simpson Light-duty Gas Hot Water Power Washer

This is the most affordable hot water pressure washer prices. It is extremely light-duty at 1,200 PSI, but with the hot water you should be able to take care of most surfaces easily.

Simpson has just put a light duty electric washer on a cart with the heating coil/tank. The tank absorbs most of the $1,799 cost as the pressure washer would only be about $150.

DeWalt 4200 PSI Power Washer$1,140 – DeWalt 4,200 PSI 4 GPM Direct Drive Gas Power Washer

The same spec electric pressure washer would be 3x the price. So if you want extra heavy-duty it is most affordable to go gas power.

DeWalt equipped this one with a Honda GX engine and direct drive CAT pump, which means commercial quality and extended weekly use (~4 hrs/day).

Pressure Cleaner Prices: $400 to $1000

 

Generac 5997 4000 PSI Commercial Power Washer$889 – Generac Heavy-duty Commercial Gasoline Pressure Cleaners 4,000 PSI 4 GPM

In this price range we start to see the most popular commercial heavy-duty gas power cleaners. Generac and Simpson brands dominate.

This one shown has a 420cc OHV engine made by Generac. It has professional grade everything so it is perfect for 4 hrs/day use around the job site or as a rental pressure cleaner.

Whirl a Way Stainless Surface Cleaner$619 – 4,000 PSI Capable Stainless Steel 24″ Surface Cleaner

Here is the most expensive pressure cleaning accessory. It is a savoir for professional pressure washers who focus on flat surfaces.

It makes quick work of parking lots, warehouse floors, tennis courts, huge emptied swimming pools and other commercial uses.

Goodyear EP Gauntlet Pressure Washer Hose$537 – Goodyear EP Gauntlet Pressure Washer Hose 1,500 PSI

Here’s the most expensive hose you’ll ever see. The reason for the price is “its nitrile synthetic rubber tube offers maximum resistance to both petroleum-based oils and animal fats.” In other words, this hose won’t break down for nothing.

It works at all temperatures (-20 to +200 F / -29 to +93 C).

Simpson PS3228-S 3200PSI Gas Pressure Washer$499 – Simpson Powershot 3,200 PSI 2.8 GPM Gas Power Washer

This is the price range where the top residential washers meet the lowest power commercial gas pressure washers.

If you’re using all-day-everyday then you should be looking to spend $499 and above. Less than that and you’re getting the designed-for-around-the-home-on-the-weekend cleaners.

Price $200 to $400

 

Genarac 6024 3000PSI Gas Pressure Washer$359 – Generac 6024 3,100 PSI 2.7 GPM Residential Gas Powered

In this price range the most powerful residential power washers appear. They’re meant for use around the home, or job site if not used all-day-everyday.

Perfect for weekend jobs around the home like gutters, driveway, house, car (with the right nozzle) and wood decks.

Electric Pressure Washer$299 – Karcher K5.540 Electric 2000 PSI 1.4 GPM

Here is the most expensive residential electric pressure washer.

Starting at this price range and power most decide to go with gas powered because you get more value for the money.

This one remains popular because it has a water-cooled induction motor to allow it to operate at 2,000 PSI without overheating.

General Pump Telescoping Wand$229 – General Pump 24-foot Telescoping Wand

For the best telescoping wand you’ll pay just more than $200.

It’s 24-foot long and should assist in cleaning your 2nd story gutters from the driveway.

It works with pressure washers up to 3500 PSI.

Price $100 to $200 *Bestselling Power Washer Range*

 

AR383 1900PSI Electric Pressure Washer$151 – AR Blue Clean 1,900 PSI Electric Pressure Cleaner

In the $100 to $200 pressure washer prices range are the most popular electric pressure cleaners. Most people only need one to do seasonal cleans of the driveway and back deck and clean the car each weekend.

The AR Blue brand is the bestselling and this one is medium-duty and only $151.

It comes with a 20-foot hose and 30-foot power cord so you have lots of portability to get to the far-away parts of your yard.

5000 PSI Nozzle$118 – 5000 PSI Orifice Rotating Nozzle

When you’re a professional pressure washer you’ll spend more on nozzles than most people would spend on their pressure cleaner.

This 5000 PSI rotating turbo nozzle will make quick work of any surface.

AR Blue Clean AR112 1600 PSI Electric Pressure Washer$104 – AR Blue Clean AR112 1,600 PSI Electric

The second most popular on the market is the little-brother of the most popular one (shown above for $151).

The AR112 by AR Blue Clean is 1,600 PSI and very lightweight – it could almost be considered handheld.

Price $50 to $100

 

AR Blue Clean Light Duty Electric Pressure Washer$93 – AR Blue Clean AR118 1,500 PSI Hand Carry Electric Pressure Washer

1,500 PSI is still 30x a garden hose. So don’t laugh at how small this handheld washer is. It will easily peel grime off your back deck, driveway and car wheel wells.

It produces 1.5 GPM. So if you’re washing your car with this pressure cleaner instead of a garden hose and soapy water, you’ll use 20% the water – and get the job done faster.

Karcher Surface Cleaner$68 – Karcher Surface Cleaner

Surface cleaners are a useful accessory to your pressure washer. They speed up cleaning of flat surface by many multiples.

This one works with cleaners up to 2650 PSI and clean a 12 inch area at once.

 

Briggs and Stratton Pressure Washer Gun$59 – Briggs and Stratton Pressure Washer Gun

Here is one of the better replacement guns. It is made with stainless steel and brass components.

It will fit onto most pressure washer brands with M22 fitting. It is capable of up to 3,000 PSI.

Price Under $50

 

Briggs and Stratton 6195 Quick Connect Turbo Nozzle

$28 – Briggs and Stratton Turbo Nozzle

Most of the nozzles and accessories for electric pressure washers are in the under $50 category.

This is the most popular turbo nozzle. A turbo nozzle shoots a pin-point jet of water for intense cleaning.

Briggs and Stratton Quick Connect Nozzles$23 – Briggs and Stratton Quick Connect Nozzles

You’ll need different type nozzles for different jobs. The white color nozzle shoots a low impact 40 degree wide sheet of water – perfect for washing windows and cars.

The red nozzle shoots a high impact 0 degree stream to remove the toughest stains.

These connect to any pressure washer and are quick connect style.

Surface Cleaner AR Blue Clean 10 inch$19.99 – AR Blue Clean Surface Cleaner

AR Blue Clean also makes a surface cleaner. This one is for AR Blue Clean brand cleaners. It clean a 10 inch wide area at once and has no splash back.

Get one to speed up flat surface jobs like back deck, driveway and garage.

Sources and Useful Links

1. Brand pages for above equipment: Shark and Dirt Killer.

2. I used PED.com to double check some of the prices of the more expensive pressure washers.