Pressure Washing Tips For Beginners

Pressure Washing Your Santa Barbara Home

When your property is clean it makes you proud and also makes the environment safer and healthier to live in. Regular cleaning by hand with chemicals isn’t always the best option. Pressure washing is the best alternative to regular cleaning.

If you don’t see the dirt and grime on the exterior of your home doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Since your home is always exposed to the elements, dirt will naturally build up over time.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do to clean your beautiful home. You can use a pressure washer to remove years of built up dirt to bring your home’s exterior back to life.

The only problem is that pressure washers can cause damage if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s important to at least understand some basics before getting started.

We will share:

  • Different kinds of pressure washers – Gas and Electric
  • The type of power washer you’ll need for your job
  • Which type of nozzle you should use
  • General power washing safety tips
  • How to power wash wood
  • How to power wash concrete
  • How to power wash siding

Electric or Gas Pressure Washer?

Pressure washers are designed to pump water through the attached hose and the pump can be powered by gas or by electricity.

There are pros and cons to both options.

Gas Pressure Washers

Pressure washers are designed to pump water through the attached hose and the pump can be powered by gas or by electricity.

There are pros and cons to both options.

Pros of Gas Pressure Washers

Gas pressure washers produce a wide range of PSI and GPM levels. They clean faster and more efficiently than electric pressure washers and they have more options.

Gas pressure washers are also cordless. You won’t need to worry about a power cord and if you’re not near an outlet, you can still work.

Cons of Gas Pressure Washers

Gasoline engines require more maintenance. You’ll need to change the oil and also use the proper fuel additives. Gasoline pressure washers are louder than electric engines and they produce emissions. If you’re working indoors or covered space you should never use a gas-powered pressure washer.

Electric Pressure Washers

Electric pressure washers can be more convenient than gas-powered in certain circumstances and there are no gas fumes.

Pros of Electric Pressure Washers

Electric pressure washers do not produce emissions. If needed you could use one indoors, but you would need to make sure there is a way for the water to escape.

An electric pressure washer doesn’t require any maintenance.

Cons of Electric Pressure Washers

An electric pressure washer doesn’t produce the same power of a gas-powered model. If you need to clean a large or very dirty area, an electric pressure washer will take much longer to complete the job.

What Size Pressure Washer is Best?

Once you decide the type of pressure washer you’re going to use you need to decide the size of the engine. The size of the engine will determine how much water pressure you will have. The higher the water pressure the better and faster the job will be.

There are different engine categories.

Light-Duty Pressure Washers

If you only plan to clean the occasional outdoor household item, a small deck, or a patio, a light-duty electric pressure washer will be just fine. They produce water pressure levels under 2,000 PSI.

Medium-Duty Pressure Washers

If you have a bigger job like a driveway or your entire side of your house or a big fence you should have a medium-duty pressure washer that produces water pressure levels between 2,000 and 2,800 PSI.

Heavy-Duty Pressure Washers

If you need to reach a second story or have a really large concrete area, a heavy-duty pressure washer is a good idea. Heavy-duty pressure washers reach pressure levels of between 2,900 and 3,300 PSI.

Professional Pressure Washers

If you have a really big job you might want a professional-grade extra-heavy-duty pressure washer designed to handle big jobs that take many hours to complete. These power washers produce water pressure levels of 3,300 PSI and higher.

Which Pressure Washing Nozzle is Best for Your Job?

The size of the pressure washer’s engine is the determining factor for how much power, but the different nozzles determine the angle and strength of the water stream.

The angle of the nozzle affects what the water stream can do. A narrow-angle spray is more powerful than a large-angle spray.

Pressure Washing Nozzle Coding

The good thing about nozzles is that they have a universal color-code.

Red Nozzles

A red tip nozzle has the narrowest angle of zero degrees. You need to be careful of this tip, it can create a lot of damage. It is the most powerful and, but does not clean very big areas quickly. Don’t use this nozzle up close.

Yellow Nozzles

Yellow tip nozzles create a spray with a 15-degree angle. This nozzle works great when you need to pressure wash concrete around at your home.

Green Nozzles

A green tip creates a 25-degree spray. This is a great general household pressure washing. This nozzle is useful to clean mildew or a deck or patio furniture.

White Nozzles

The white nozzle has a 40-degree spray and is very user-friendly. If you need to clean the outside of your home like the windows and siding this is a good nozzle to use.

Black Nozzles

The most gentle nozzle has a spray angle of 65 degrees. This spray is so light that it doesn’t really remove dirt or stains.

Specialized Nozzles & Attachments

For more efficient cleaning, you can use an attachment that was designed more specifically for the job. Here are some popular pressure washer attachments.

Surface Cleaner

A surface cleaner uses a spinning bar to distribute the high-pressure stream of water over a larger surface area than a single spray. This speciality cleaner is helpful for cleaning large sections of concrete, like a driveway.

Rotary Nozzle

A rotary nozzle is also called a turbo nozzle, a rotary tip produces a spinning zero-degree water stream designed to remove difficult stains.

Pressure Washing Broom

This tool is similar to a surface cleaner attachment that divides a single water jet into two or three jets for more power and a larger cleaning area.

Soap/Detergent Reservoir

A soap/detergent reservoir attaches to the pressure washer and adds cleaning solution into the water jet. Make sure you use the right nozzle because a water stream that’s too strong can cause damage.

How to Pressure Wash

Pressure washing can be a messy job and dangerous to your property or to yourself. Make sure to prepare properly and take our time.

Pressure Washing Safety Tips

Here are a few safety tips recommended for the best results in.

Eye And Hearing Protection

The high pressure of the water causes debris and water to spray back toward you so you should wear eye protection. Pressure washers are also loud so we recommend using hearing protection.

Use Both Hands

Make sure to use both hands so the spraying hose won’t fly out of your hand. At least use both hands until you have practiced for a while.

Don't Get Too Close

When you are spraying, keep the tip approximately 18 inches away from the surface to reduce the risk of damage.

What Shouldn't You Pressure Wash

If you’re thinking about power washing siding (or any other painted surface) that was painted before 1978, don’t do it, it’s not worth the risk.

You should contact a professional cleaning service because old paint can flake off when pressure washed. Paint from before 1978 may also contain lead. Lead paint chips and dust are very dangerous if you inhale it.

Make sure you’re keeping yourself, your family, and your pets safe, first and foremost.

Cleaning Wood With a Pressure Washer

If your wood deck or fence is looking old and weathered then pressure washing is a great option to make everything look great again. The best part is that it should only take a weekend of work. If you don’t want to spend your weekend then you can call Southern Coast Janitorial professional cleaning services.

If this it’s your first time pressure washing, we recommend you test it in a small section that is as hidden as possible before doing everything right away. Most decks and fences are built from relatively soft woods, like pine or cedar. It’s easy to strip off more of the surface than you planned.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A pressure washer (we recommend gas-powered pressure washer)
  • The green nozzle with a 25-degree spray
  • A good wood sealer

Here is what you need to get the best results:

  • Move the pressure washer’s wand in an even, side to side motion.
  • For the most even cleaning, try to move steady and not stay in the same place for too long. As you’re getting used to it, you can make a couple of passes over the same place.
  • Don’t stop spraying in the middle of a board. Wait until you’re at the top or bottom.
  • Don’t start spraying in the middle of a board either.
  • Use overlapping strokes to avoid visible lines.
  • Once you’ve finished pressure washing, and you have let the wood dry, it is best to seal the wood to protect.

Cleaning Concrete With a Pressure Washer

Obvious stains and mildewed areas on concrete are easy to see, but everyday dirt buildup sometimes goes unnoticed. You probably have no idea how dirty your concrete is until you start to pressure wash it.

If you would like to hire a professional janitorial services company we would love to help and we can provide a quick free quote. If you’d like to pressure wash your own concrete driveway, walkway or patio.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A high-GPM (gallons of water per minute) pressure washer
  • A 15-degree spray yellow-tipped nozzle
  • Cleaning solution specially formulated for use on concrete
  • A scrubbing brush with stiff bristles
    Protective gear—At least goggles and maybe gloves
  • Concrete sealer
  • You’ll need a very high-pressure stream of water to clean concrete, so it’s important to protect yourself from any flying debris (including possible pieces of concrete)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sweep and brush off the surface before you start.
  • If your driveway has been stained by motor oil, pretreat those areas by using a stiff brush to scrub the stains with concrete cleaning solution.
  • When you’re ready to pressure wash the surface with a narrow nozzle to clean faster.
  • Extra tough stains may need a few passes with the pressure washer. Once everything is looking clean, let the concrete dry completely before applying a sealer.

You don’t need to use the sealer if you don’t want to, but it will help keep your concrete looking good for much longer.

Cleaning Siding With a Pressure Washer

Siding tends to dull and grow mildew and the best way to brighten your home’s exterior is a thorough pressure washing.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A gas-powered pressure washer
  • A green-tipped nozzle or white-tipped nozzle
  • A soapy nozzle
  • A long-handled, stiff-bristle brush
  • House exterior cleaning solution

When you get started, make sure to look closely at the outside of your home. Look for loose pieces of siding, any cracks, and other places that could allow water in during the cleaning process.

Any problem areas should be fixed before you start pressure washing.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Attach the soaping nozzle to the pressure washer’s wand and fill the detergent reservoir.
  • Use the pressure washer to apply soap to the siding.
  • Switch to the green-tipped nozzle – or white-tipped nozzle to rinse the siding. Both of these nozzles produce a strong, higher-pressure stream, so rinsing away the dirt and clearing any tough stains should be much easier.

Depending on the weather and other environmental factors, you will most likely need to wash your siding every couple of years.

Bottom Line

Pressure washing can be very fulfilling because it provides instant gratification, because in just a weekend you can greatly brighten up your home.

If you think pressure washing is too much of a hassle, that’s okay! Because it’s a dirty job. If you’d rather let someone else take care of the pressure washing, contact a professional services expert like Southern Coast Janitorial.

At Southern Coast Janitorial, we make sure your concrete, deck, wood fence or siding is cleaned properly and safely. Quickly fill out the form for a free quote and let our trusted team of professional cleaners in Santa Barbara take over.

Besides pressure washing Southern Coast Janitorial provides every professional cleaning services needed like: Carpet cleaning, window cleaning, upholstery cleaning, restroom cleaning, office cleaning, house cleaning, hauling services, etc.


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