How To Use Your Pressure Washer Effectively
Like any other piece of high-pressured equipment, pressure washers should be used carefully and with the correct amount of preparation. Here are some tips to help you know-how.
1. Remove The Movable
Your pressure washer is a high-powered piece of kit that will obliterate anything flimsy which is in the way. If you’re planning to pressure wash your driveway or decking, first remove things like potted plants, light furniture, children’s toys, and ensure that all relevant windows and vents are sealed.
2. Buy Or Rent?
If you’re wanting to engage in industrial-strength pressure washing for things like removing oil stains from a driveway or chewing gum from your sidewalk, then you might want to rent a gas-powered pressure washer, but take care, it really packs a punch. For lighter tasks involving decking (wood), BBQ grill, or painted surfaces including your car, you’d probably be better off purchasing your own electric pressure washer, since you’ll likely be using it on a fairly regular basis.
3. Protect Yourself
You would be shocked to see a welder welding without eye goggles, but a pressure washer can have equally devastating consequences if your eyes aren’t sufficiently protected. Debris can spatter back into you, and the power of the water itself can be injurious. Keep the spray tip 18 inches away from the surface you’re cleaning. You might also want to put on some sturdy ear protectors, and consider protecting your more sensitive areas, just in case.
This is probably the most common use of pressure washers. Paving slabs and concrete driveways can be rejuvenated and rendered brand-new just through the power of water! But first, ensure that you’re using the right nozzle; the narrow setting or nozzle will be the most effective one for this task. Sometimes stains seem to be deeply ingrained and won’t budge. If this is the case, add a bit of soap to the internal pressure washer reservoir, and change the nozzle’s setting accordingly. Buy a little bit quick-dry cement to re-seal those inevitable flakes of cement that will become dislodged when cleaning paving slabs.
5. Nozzle Up
There are many different types of nozzles and they all have different pros and cons. The narrower the angle the more powerful the spray; thankfully pressure washer nozzles are color-coded as standard so red will always be the narrowest angle, which is zero degrees. There are other colors, and you can also affix a rotary nozzle, sometimes called a turbo nozzle, which can be very useful when trying to remove difficult stains and ingrained, deep discoloration. An expandable wand is also very handy if you want to get those high up areas, and don’t want to risk using a ladder.
6. Preserve Wood
It is tempting to blast your fence and rid it of all that unwanted algae. However, you can end up stripping the wood more than is healthy, because it is usually made from quite soft woods, like cedar or pine. Ensure you keep the pressure washer moving in an up-and-down motion. Don’t be too zealous, and after 24 hours consider sealing the wood to guard against rot and decay.
7. After The Wash
Rinse your washer, using the widest spray (black nozzle). Ensure all the water has completely drained from the machine. Before detaching the hoses, turn off the machine, and squeeze the spray wand trigger to release all the remaining water pressure in the system. Engage the safety lock whenever the machine is not being used, and in winter months store it indoors, even using car anti-freeze if it’s particularly cold in your part of the world.