Power Wash Cleaning Dos and Don’ts

Power washerA power washer is a versatile machine that can help restore sparkle. shine and a new clean look to a variety of surfaces around your home. If you don’t want to invest in your own power washer, they are readily available for rent at home supply or most hardware stores.

However, before you enthusiastically hook up your brand new power washer to the hose and blast every surface in a powerful spray, there are some precautions you should take. A power washer can damage many surfaces in an instant.

                                                                                     Most important:

DO NOT GET TOO CLOSE TO WOOD SURFACES! Do a test spot first!

If you are too close to any wood surface the pressure can and will eat the wood and damage the surface. Start at about six to eight inches away from the wood surface if you see the grains of the wood are being highlighted or tiger stripes appear in the surface you are too close. If it is not damaging the wood at 6 or eight inches you may move the wand closer to the wood surface. This is a good starting point.

 

How to Be Safe When Power Washing

Before you begin any power wash job, it’s important to protect yourself and others from the powerful pressure generated by the power washing machine.

Use Caution, This includes:

  • Wearing the proper protective gear for your face, eyes, and hands.
  • Staying clear of the nozzle and following all of the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines in your owner’s manual.
  • Attaching any accessories before beginning your power wash cleaning the machine should not be running.
  • Never leave the machine unattended or use when children or pets are present.
  • Never point the power wash nozzle at people, animals, or any surface that’s unable to withstand the force of the pressure generated by the washer.
  • Avoid standing on or using ladders if possible. Make sure cords and hoses are away from the ladder if you are using one for the job.

 

Helpful Hints When Power Wash Cleaning:

A power wash cleaning is intended for outside surfaces only. There are some general tips and tricks that can help you use it more efficiently and safely.

  • Work from the top to the bottom of surfaces if possible so you avoid grime running down doesn’t stain a section that you just cleaned.
  • Direct water downward, versus straight on or upward, on the surfaces to be cleaned. This includes siding, brick, or masonry; doing otherwise might force water into cracks or seams and cause you problems. This will allow the water to wash downward keeping what you washed clean.
  • Continue cleaning with the power washer until the surfaces are free of dirt and sparkle like new.
  • Use proper detergents suitable for each surface first, then rinse the area good with a second round with water only. Left over dirt and soap film will wash off.

Some Surfaces That Should Not be Power Washed:

While a power washing is useful for many outdoor surfaces, the pressure from the nozzle might damage fragile items.

  • Wood outdoor furniture are some surfaces that might be protected just enough to endure a gentle power wash cleaning, but if you are in doubt do a test spot first.
  • Outdoor fabric or cushions you should follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper cleaning of such items due to sun exposure and the quality.
  • Outdoor umbrellas are subject to the sun and the power washer can eat away at the fabric and destroy the umbrella.
  • The plastic outdoor furniture construction must be of high quality and the quality of these pieces also determines whether a power wash clean is appropriate. The cheaper and thinner products may fall apart or crack.

Surfaces that are OK to Power Wash and Clean

Always start at 6 to 8 inches away from surfaces that are not fragile or that have not been treated:

  • A power wash cleaning is good for removing accumulated dirt or stains on sidewalks and concrete surfaces; but be careful of any loose or chipped spots, Concrete Sidewalks, driveways, and other concrete surfaces are perfect for a power washing .
  • For a brick home, repair any cracks in mortar and allow to dry thoroughly before cleaning to prevent any further damage.
  • Stamped concrete, you may want to consider concrete sealer to any surfaces that might be subject to moisture damage. The color may be washed off so do a test spot first!
  • Concrete pavers are good to power wash clean and works great to remove moss or get rid of dirt between joints.
  • ANY stone can be damaged if you get too close and it may damage the surface or the mortared joints.
  • Exterior aluminum, wood, and vinyl siding on a home can be washed and for painted surfaces, you might want to use less pressure for a power wash clean.
  • Stucco can be washed but before you power wash clean any stucco surface, make sure you have repaired any cracks or holes first.
  • Wood decks or patios are good to wash if you are going to re-seal or re-stain your deck, a power wash cleaning is a good way to remove dirt and grime and prepare the surface for the new stain. YOU MUST, test an area with lower pressure to make sure you will not cause splintering or cracking to the wood surface and always let the wood dry out good for 48 hours before you stain or seal the wood.
  • Pressure washing is a quick way to clean gutters and soffits and make them look great again
  • Wicker and metal outdoor furniture you should use a low-pressure setting to power wash these items.

“USE COMMON SENSE AT ALL TIMES WHEN OPERATING YOUR POWER WASHER!”

 

Black Hills Professional Home Inspections LLC

Black Hills Thermal Imaging

Black Hills Residential Inspector