March 30

How to Clean Exterior Surfaces With A Pressure Washer


A pressure washer, also known as a power washer, makes fast work of blasting through dirt and grime that builds up on outdoor surfaces. So what exactly is a pressure washer, and how do you use it to keep your exterior surfaces looking their best? Keep reading for some helpful information and tips.

A pressure washer turns the water flow from a regular garden hose into a powerful spray. Whether you’re preparing your home for a fresh coat of paint or washing away built-up dirt and grime, a pressure washer can make the chore faster and easier. With some practice, a pressure washer will help you keep a variety of surfaces around your home’s exterior clean and longer-lasting. However, the powerful spray from a pressure washer can also easily cause surface damage if not used correctly, so preparation and practice are essential. Never use a power washer to clean a surface that has lead paint. Having your paint tested is vital if the surface you’re cleaning was painted before 1978.


Items You’ll Need:

  • Personal safety equipment, including eyewear and closed-toed shoes
  • Tarps, duct tape, plastic coverings
  • Pressure washer and nozzles
  • Garden Hose (longer ones are the handiest)
  • Pressure washer extension wand
  • Cleaning agents, detergent, and protective gloves
  • Fuel if using a gas-powered pressure washer
  • Extra fuel and oil 


Before Cleaning:

  • Read the machine’s directions: Before starting your project, you must know the safety precautions and instructions for its use.
  • Protect Yourself: Wearing protective eyewear and closed-toed shoes is vital to protect yourself from splashback and ricocheting debris. Never use a power washer wearing sandals or barefoot, as accidentally sweeping your feet with the powerful jet of water can injure your feet and toes.
  • Always test a small area: Select the largest nozzle for the least pressure required to clean the area.
  • Practice and perfect your techniques: A good first project would be a concrete driveway or sidewalk. Give yourself time to get accustomed to working with a pressure washer before tackling large projects.
  • Divide projects: Break large tasks into sections that you can easily manage. You may not be able to clean all your exterior surfaces in a day, so don’t overdo it. 
  • Maintain a Safe Work Area: Keep children and pets away while using a pressure washer to avoid accidental injuries. Be aware of power lines and any trip hazards.
  • Know What Surfaces To Avoid: While it is safe to pressure wash many surfaces, some, like fiber cement siding, are not typically recommended to be cleaned with a pressure washer. Some manufacturers may void a product warranty if their cleaning instructions are not followed. It’s also best to avoid pressure washing painted surfaces and fragile surfaces such as old brick, wood, or stucco. 


Prepare The Area:

  • Start by removing items like potted plants, outdoor furniture, and other items from the area you will be cleaning. 
  • Sweep away large debris, such as rocks and twigs, when cleaning pathways and driveways that can become projectiles when sprayed. 
  • Protect landscaping with a heavy plastic tarp, and cover outdoor lights, sound systems, and other features that cannot be relocated if they could receive water spray. 
  • Close windows and doors, and cover electrical outlets, doorbells, light fixtures, and air conditioning units. 
  • Shut off the electricity to exterior outlets in areas being pressure washed if possible. Water and electricity are a very dangerous combination, so taking precautions before starting to clean is essential. 
  • Never use a pressure washer around electric meters, satellites, cable boxes, power lines, or other nearby utilities.


For Best Results:

  • Check the Weather: Avoid pressure washing in high temperatures and direct sunlight. Choose a day with mild weather where the sun won’t be so intense it causes your detergents to dry before rinsing them off.
  • Keep the spray moving: Overlap strokes for even cleaning, and don’t linger on one spot to prevent damaging the material.
  • Repeat the soaping and washing as necessary: Make sure to rinse away all dirt and cleaning residue with plenty of water to avoid streaks.
  • Use Cleaning Solution If Needed: The high pressure of water can damage surfaces, especially when attempting to remove stubborn stains. When cleaning areas with a heavy build-up of dirt, mold, or stains, a cleaning solution will boost the pressure washer’s effectiveness. There are many cleaning products specific to the type of surface and build-up that’s present. Most cleaners can be applied to problem areas before power washing. However, reading and following directions are important for the best results.


Hire a Professional Painting Company

Walla Painting is a locally owned business that specializes in residential painting. Our fully insured, bonded, and skilled painters can handle any project. Our first step before painting your home’s exterior will be to power wash the outside of the building. Then we fully inspect and assess the surfaces of the building to ensure all the necessary prep-work is completed before any paint is applied. After that, we scrape off any loose paint. There is no need to remove old paint if it is secure. We caulk all gaps and cracks in the trim before we paint, which is just as important as painting. Painting without proper caulking will lead to moisture getting into gaps and cause damage to your home’s exterior. Finally, after these important preparation steps, we will apply your new, top quality exterior paint.

We are proud to have received Angie’s List Super Service Award 10 years in a row for our customer service and detailed workmanship.

Walla Painting serves Carmel, Westfield, Zionsville, Noblesville, Fishers, and McCordsville homeowners. We offer residential interior and exterior painting and cabinet and trim painting. Contact us online or at (317) 505-0894 for a free estimate.


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