DIY Pressure Washing: Safety Tips

Winter can be brutal on your outdoor spaces. Everything from your driveway to your patio can accumulate grime from the colder months, and the summer sun only highlights the buildup. Pressure washing is a great way to blast away built-up dirt and grime without the tiresome task of scrubbing. Pressure washing can really amp up curb appeal, if done properly, and can have your outdoor space looking freshly remodeled. With the right skin protection and cleaning solution, power washing is fast and easy. Read up on these DIY pressure washing safety tips and tricks to master this valuable cleaning method.

 

Pressure Washing Tips & Tricks
1. Choose a Stable Surface

2. Protect Your Eyes and Ears

3. Cover Your Skin

4. Choose the Right Cleaner

5. Avoid Windows & Vents

6. Cover Up Power Sources

 

Choose a Stable Surface

Stand on a surface with solid footing. Pressure washers can have some kickback, so be sure that you are on a surface that will not cause you to lose your footing when things get wet.

 

Protect Your Eyes and Ears

Pressure washing involves shooting pressurized water at a surface, which loosens dirt and debris. This dirt and debris can break into small pieces and shoot several feet away, causing a potential hazard to eyes and ears. Invest in a proper set of protective goggles, as well as ear protection. If someone will be helping you, ensure that they have the same protective gear as you. Also, if you have pets or little ones, get them safely indoors before you begin pressure washing.

 

Cover Your Skin

It’s important to protect your skin. Wear a thick set of gloves, as well as a water-resistant jacket to protect your skin from excessive amounts of water and cleaning solvents. You should also wear boots that will grip the surface you're standing on. We don’t want you to slip and fall! Sunscreen, preferably a water-resistant sunscreen, is also a good idea, as you may be outdoors for a while.

 

Choose the Right Cleaner

One important tip to remember is that soap and detergent are two different things. Pressure washer soaps often use more natural ingredients, such as fats or oils to break down dirt and grime. Detergents are completely man-made, and chemically based.

 

In this instance, one may lean toward the more natural route, especially if children, animals, or pets are in the picture. However, some argue that soaps tend to leave calcium deposits and hard water stains if not properly rinsed, while detergents are designed to avoid this. Nevertheless, there are more natural additives like vinegar and ammonia that some homeowners prefer in order to avoid harsh chemicals altogether.

 

Some of our favorite soaps and detergents to get your outdoor space sparkling include:

  • Simple Green 18202 Concrete and Driveway

  • Krud Kutter House and Siding

  • Simple Green Heavy Duty Cleaner

  • Krud Kutter Deck and Fence

 

Avoid Windows and Vents

Keep high pressure spray away from windows and exterior vents. The force of the pressurized water is liable to shatter windows if sprayed directly. Speaking of pressure, it is also important to understand which nozzle will give you the proper pressure for the area you are cleaning. You can find a resource to understand the different nozzles and their functions here.  Similarly, exterior vents designed to vent air downward may compromise your homes HVAC or venting systems with an upward spray of water. Flooding vents could cause potential mold, mildew, or premature rotting of essential wood to your home.

 

Cover Up Power Sources

Unsurprisingly, electricity and water don’t mix very well. If the area you are pressure washing contains unprotected electrical outlets or fixtures, cover them with plastic. This results in both your safety and prevents you from having to replace any outlets that would short circuit from water exposure.

 

Pro Trick: For Gentle Cleaning

Not every surface of your home is suitable for pressure washing, such as places where cement is cracked or brick surfaces need a little more TLC. For a gentler cleaning, use a sturdy bristled brush and a gentle cleaning solution that will not harm the surface of the area. Equal parts of vinegar and water tend to be favorite for those who prefer to avoid harsh chemicals. Spot test your solution in a small, inconspicuous area before initiating the cleaning process. Use your solution to scrub away dirt and grime to return the luster to your home!

 

There you have it! With this easy guide, you can be well on your way to cleaning your outdoor space safely and effectively with a pressure washer. And, if there is any surface that needs repair, check out some of our helpful guides on cleaning exterior brick or repairing concrete cracks.

 

Contributed to Your Home blog by Joshlin Grayson

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