Do's and Don'ts of DIY Pressure Cleaning

Posted On Friday, 23 October 2020 15:10

Pressure cleaning can be an efficient and satisfying way of cleaning everything from patios to cars. However, there are certain dos and don’ts that you should be wary of if you’re not hiring a professional company to do it for you. Here are just some important dos and don’ts for those that want to give DIY pressure cleaning a try.

Do invest in a high quality pressure washer

When buying high pressure washers, it’s important to make sure that you’re buying from a trusted source. In the last ten years, pressure washers have come in a long way in terms of safety and quality. If you’re buying a very old second-hand pressure washer of a mate, you might want to be wary of the fact that it might not have modern safety features or may be more prone to damage. Buying a new (or newish) pressure washer from a trusted company can be a much better option.

Do practice

When pressure cleaning an area, it’s worth practicing on a small part to get an idea of the power.  This can prevent you causing noticeable damage to the surface. You can also work out a comfortable way of holding the pressure washer. Make sure to read the instruction thoroughly when using a machine for the first time so that you’re aware of what all the parts and switches do.

Don’t point at animals or people

This one is a little obvious. Unlike a garden hose, a pressure washer is not a toy for having water fights with. Neither should you use it for scaring away the neighbour’s cat. Pressure washers can deliver a considerable amount of power that can be enough to carve through skin. Pointing them at an animal or a person could lead to a very nasty injury. Treat a pressure cleaner as you would any other power tool – something not to be played with.

Don’t pressure wash your windows

If you’re pressure washing the side of your house or your car, avoid pressure washing the windows at all costs. A high pressure washer could end up shattering the windows. If this doesn’t happen, then there’s still a major risk of damaging the seals around the windows. Any material that could be soft and brittle should not be cleaned with a pressure washer.

Do consider the type of nozzle

With many pressure washers, you have the option to change the nozzle. This can affect the pressure and could be important to consider when cleaning certain surfaces. For instance, you likely don’t want to use a concentrated 0-degree nozzle on your car or siding as it could cause damage – a 25-degree nozzle could be a lot safer. Adjustable nozzles may be capable of multiple settings simply by twisting them. This could be an alternative option to buying interchangeable nozzles. When buying nozzles, make sure that the part is built to fit your machine.  

Do consider using a detergent

Applying a detergent to a surface before cleaning can help to loosen up the dirt and lead to much more effective results. There are different detergents out there for patio paving, vinyl siding and other surfaces – make sure to buy the right detergent for the job to avoid unnecessary chemical damage. There are bio-friendly detergent options out there for those that want to avoid environmental damage.

Do sweep the area first

In the case of dirty paving, concrete or decking, it could be worth sweeping the area first before you start cleaning. Just like you might sweep a floor before mopping, this can help to get rid of any debris and loose dirt that might get in the way. If you’re cleaning the side of your house or your roof, you might similarly want to clean away any cobwebs or loose debris first.

Don’t forget to check the hose for clogs and kinks

Clogs and kinks will prevent the hose from delivering the necessary pressure. Always check the hose before you start cleaning to ensure that there are no obvious knots or entangled parts. If you notice that the pressure is coming out unusually low and there doesn’t seem to be any obvious problems with the hose, you might want to consider taking the machine in for repairs.

Don’t use hot water in a cold water pressure washer

You can buy hot water pressure washers and cold water pressure washers. When using the latter, only ever use cold water. Putting hot water into a cold water pressure washer could potentially melt seals within the pump and overheat the unit. If you feel that you need to use hot water to get the results that you need, only ever use a hot water pressure washer that is designed to deal with hotter temperatures.  

Don’t use a gas pressure washer in an enclosed space

Gas pressure washers use combustion engines. As a result, they can emit carbon monoxide, which can be deadly if breathed in. Consequently, you should only ever use gas pressure washers outdoors. If you do need a pressure washer for an indoor job, an electric pressure washer is a better option.

Don’t use a pressure washer on a ladder

Due to the tremendous force that pressure washers deliver, it is not advised that you use these tools when on a ladder. The kickback could push you off the ladder and lead to an injury. There are extension wands on the market that you can use for reaching high surfaces – these are a much safer option than climbing a ladder.

Do consider wearing safety equipment

It’s possible to cause injury to yourself when pressure cleaning – especially when working with hot water and higher pressures. As a result, you should consider wearing safety equipment to protect yourself. Make sure that you’re wearing sturdy shoes – avoid open-toe shoes such as sandals or flip flops that offer no protection to your feet. Safety goggles can meanwhile prevent any debris from flying up and hitting you in the eyes. Wearing gloves can meanwhile protect your hands.

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