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Dos and Don’ts of Pressure Washing

Posted by Josh Kennedy

Jan 12, 2017 8:13:54 AM

Pressure washing is one of those chores that can be hugely satisfying or frustrating and downright dangerous.  Use our list of “dos and don’ts” to make sure your DIY pressure washing job is indeed successful, satisfying, and perhaps even fun!


  • Practice using the pressure washer in a safe location.  It takes some time to get used to the way the equipment handles, and you might not want your first stroke to be across the middle of your home’s siding.
  • Test the nozzle tip and pressure in a small, inconspicuous area of the surface you’ll be cleaning to make sure it doesn’t etch or damage it.
  • If you have flowers or vegetation near the areas you’ll be cleaning with bleach (or other cleaning solutions), douse them with plain water so that the cleaning solutions won’t stick to them as easily.
  • Clear breakable items out of your work area.
  • If you have outdoor electronics, unplug them, cover or move them, and tape over the outlets with painter’s tape.
  • Start with the lowest pressure and work your way up.  For pressure washers, power is gauged in pounds per square inch (PSI).  Many DIY pressure washers are capable of as much as 3,000 or 4,000 PSI, which is enough to dent siding, erode cement, and strip paint from surfaces.  Start with only a few hundred PSI, and work your way up.  
  • Use gentle cleaning solutions.  The best pressure washing jobs utilize low pressure and gentle cleaning agents to clean the surface.  
  • Begin pressure washing several feet away from the item you’re cleaning, and move in closer (up to 1-2 feet away) slowly and only as needed.
  • When applying the cleaning solution, start along the base of the fence, deck, or siding, and work your way up.  Then, when rinsing, begin at the top and work your way down.
  • Use sweeping strokes, and lift each stroke up and away from the surface to avoid making streaks or marks.  Keep your swing and the spray of the water in motion to avoid leaving marks.
  • Always note what’s on the other side of the item you’re cleaning.  For example, if you’re pressure washing your fence, be sure the neighbor’s pet isn’t on the other side of the fence.
  • Wear non-slip footwear.  The mixture of soap and water can make hard surfaces slick.  If you are pressure washing your roof, be sure you’re anchored.


  • Don’t underestimate the power of  your pressure washer!  The speed and force that make this tool useful also make it dangerous.
  • Don’t point the nozzle at people or animals.
  • Don’t bring the nozzle closer than 1-2 feet from the item being cleaned.
  • Don’t use one nozzle tip for every job.  Nozzle tips are available in wide-spray fan patterns and narrow targeted streams, all in varying levels of pressure, so find the tip that’s right for your project.
  • Don’t use hot water.  (In most cases, you can, but there is no need.)
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals, or else your landscaping may get damaged.
  • Don’t pressure wash your windows. You can damage the seals under the pressure.  Instead, plan to clean the windows by hand after the pressure washing is finished, or hire a great professional window cleaning company to do so.  (There will be overspray from the pressure washing, so your windows will certainly need some attention.)

Perhaps our best recommendation is this: DO hire a great professional pressure washing company so that you DON’T have to do the work yourself!  Pressure washing is wet, slippery, cumbersome work that not many homeowners enjoy.  Find a highly rated power washing company and trust the work to the professionals.  Trained pressure washing technicians know what PSI to use on what surface, how to thoroughly clean away all stains from any surface, and how to do it safely.  For Northeast Florida homeowners in Mandarin, Riverside, Ortega, San Marco, and throughout Jacksonville, First Coast Home Pros is the best pressure washing service and the team to trust with your home.  Let our team of specialists restore your deck, dock, fence, siding, walkways and more with thorough and high quality pressure washing job.  You’ll love what we do!

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