Pressure Washing Delight: My Notes

TLDR: From my recent pressure washing session this Spring, a collection of notes to help anyone else achieve success. And why pressure washing is fun and a form of therapy IMHO.


Pressure washing is fun, productive, and builds confidence.

While a bit manual intensive, the reward or gratification is only three hours away. You must take before and after pictures: for yourself, for reference, and to feed the Internet.

My recent work:

Notes and Tips

  • Rental
    • Research what you need for your job: power washer (high pressure heated water) or pressure washer (no heat)
    • For driveways or brick, you really need 3000 psi or more (gas powered pressure washer)
      • For reference, I used 3600 psi for my brick patio
    • Rent for minimum 4 hours, and you will fit in 90 minutes of actual washing time
    • Buy a gas can, and fill it up the day before. Don’t waste valuable ‘rental’ time
      • Some engines require E10 (ethanol) or lower, here’s a map to find gas stations which sell ethanol free gas
  • Preparation
    • You will get drenched and muddy. Wear the right clothes, and have cleanup plan.
    • Prime the line before starting the engine: connect the hose, turn on the water, and pull the trigger on the pressure washer to ensure the line is full of water.
    • Take mental note which part of the engine gets hot (exhaust). After washing for an hour it’s easy to lose focus and put your hand somewhere where it shouldn’t be.
  • The Engine is Running
    • Let it warm up for a few minutes before turning on full power.
    • Manage the line, any kinks in either the water line or pressurized line will reduce pressure.
  • Now you’re washing!
    • Mind the (pressurized) stream, don’t hit any hosing, machinery, or anything that would not hold up to 3k+ PSI. Plants.
    • Use the distance; get the nozzle head close (like 2″) when it’s tough, otherwise find your normal operating distance and keep consistent
    • Sweep back and forth while walking forward, then do the same area at a different angle.
      • It’s never going to be perfect!, but this technique can help mitigate ‘patterns’ emerging
    • Halfway into your job, you’ll realize how to actually wash. Anticipate going back to the first half to ‘touch it up’.
    • Define ‘done’, otherwise you will get distracted and try to wash anything and everything.
      • “Well, since I have the washer now I’ll just do these 4 other things real quick…”. It won’t be quick, and it will not turn out well.
    • With all the blast of the pressure washer, there will be small bits of dirt. The next rain storm will wash away small patches, don’t chase small stuff.
  • Wrap up
    • Budget for cooldown time, 10 minutes at least so you’re not trying to transport a hot machine back to the rental shop

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