Spring Cleaning: The Perfect Time for Pressure Washing

With warmer weather, we spend more and more time outdoors. After a long winter, it’s natural for your outdoor spaces to not be as sparkling clean as they once were. Everything needs a little bit of TLC. But no need to go chasing waterfalls, a pressure washer will do just fine!

Spring is the perfect time to make full use of a pressure washer and transform tired, dirty sidewalks and decks into spaces that look like new again.

But many pressure washers are incredibly powerful. Some can reach 4,000 pounds per square inch—or more—making them a force to be reckoned with in your own yard. Take a look at the outdoor spaces that can benefit from the careful use of a pressure washer to renew their appearance and blast away grime this spring.  

Pressure Washing a Fence or Deck Before Staining

If your fence or deck is due for new stain, it’s wise to pressure wash it first. The pressure washer will help remove old stain, dirt, and grit before laying down the stain on freshly cleaned wood. 

Without pressure washing, the new stain will simply sit atop the existing layer of stain and will be more susceptible to peeling off prematurely instead of soaking into the wood. Additionally, the pressure washer will remove any debris that’s collected between pieces of wood, which can allow mold or fungus to grow. To prevent this microbial growth, a thorough pressure wash is a necessary first step. 

Be sure to avoid using too much pressure or placing the tip of the pressure washer too close to the wood to prevent etching the wood or causing the fibers to splinter. 

Clearing Off Your Concrete Sidewalk, Driveway, or Patio

Concrete can accumulate all kinds of stubborn stains, and a pressure washer is the best way to clean it so it looks new again. 

This 28-inch surface cleaner is ideal for cleaning large surfaces like decks, patios, sidewalks, driveways, pool decks, parking lots, and many other horizontal surfaces because it cleans large areas faster and easier than a standard, narrow cleaning nozzle. You can see it in action here.

It’s important to remember that every concrete surface is different. If a concrete surface is older, has been stamped, or has been treated with a stain, it may react differently to a powerful stream of water. When pressure washing concrete, it’s a good idea to test any pressure washer first in an inconspicuous area. (Your living room is not an inconspicuous area, trust us.)

Most contractors believe that any pressure washer above 3,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) can handle most concrete cleaning jobs. 

You can also use a pressure washer on your concrete garage floor. For unsightly oil spots, start by using the pressure washer to apply a degreasing solution at a lower pressure, let it sit for a few minutes, then follow up with a higher setting to rinse the solution—and the grease—away.

Outdoor Furniture and Cushions

Life is usually more fun when you’re outdoors, like on a patio, but patio furniture can collect dirt, pollen, and other kinds of grime. You can use a pressure washer on most composite wood, mesh, plastic, and wood. Start by spot cleaning stubborn stains with soapy water and a brush or rag, then finish by using a pressure washer with a 40-degree tip and working from top to bottom. 

Like cleaning concrete, it’s wise to start in a less visible spot on your furniture in case it starts to peel back the paint. 

Dusty, pollen-filled outdoor cushions with heavy-duty fabric can also benefit from a session with a power washer, as long as you hold your sprayer at least 16 inches away. 

Other Surfaces to Pressure Wash

What else can you clean using a professional-grade pressure washer?

  • Garbage cans
  • Garden pathways
  • Bikes and outdoor toys
  • Children’s play equipment such as playsets, jungle gyms, slides, and wagons
  • Drains and ducts
  • Pools

Which Pressure Washer Should You Use?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all pressure washer to handle every job. Some jobs need a bit more power than others. So, which pressure washer is right for which job?

Pressure washers between 2,000 and 3,000 PSI like this 2700 PSI Pressure Washer are great for common jobs like deck driveway, and pavement cleaning, and can also be used on sidewalks, some siding, and tougher stains. 

For industrial cleaning, users should take advantage of a stronger pressure, something between 3,000 and 4,000 or more PSI like the 4,200 PSI Pressure Washer, which can be used for industrial cleaning, concrete, pavement, paint stripping (in certain situations), graffiti removal, stubborn stains, and mold and mildew removal.

A Few Reminders and Precautions

As you see the power of pressure washers in action, it can be tempting to want to apply its deep-cleaning properties to everything in sight. However, not every surface can withstand the force of a pressure washer. 

Pressure washers are a fast, effective way to clean all kinds of surfaces, but the following are surfaces to avoid:

  • Windows: The intense power of a pressure washer can actually break your windows!
  • Wood siding: It is possible to pressure wash wood siding correctly, but it’s better to avoid doing so. Using too much pressure can send water up under the siding and into the insulation, which can get moldy when wet. 
  • Vinyl or aluminum siding: A high-powered stream from a pressure washer can dent or damage your siding. You can use a pressure washer carefully, and at a low setting, carefully following recommendations and specifications so as not to damage the siding. 
  • Electrical panels and meters: These boxes are made to withstand powerful rainstorms and other natural forces, but a pressure washer can shoot water into cracks and cause expensive repairs.
  • Asphalt shingles: The water pressure from a pressure washer can strip away the asphalt granules that keep your roof protected.
  • Air conditioners: Your A/C unit has lots of delicate fins and coils that could be affected by a powerful stream, limiting airflow.
  • Lead paint: Lead paint needs to be carefully contained when it is being removed, and should not be blasted into the air or onto nearby surfaces where it could pose a threat. 
  • Old mortar: Loose mortar can get blasted away by a strong spray of water. 
  • Living things: Pressure washers are powerful. They can cause injury to living things, penetrating the skin, and damaging plants. Users should always wear safety goggles and protective clothing and footwear when operating a power washer. 

Other surfaces to avoid washing with a pressure washer?

  • Cars
  • Gutters
  • Outdoor light fixtures
  • Pets
  • Children

Also? Never use a pressure washer on a ladder. The powerful recoil on the sprayer could throw you off balance and you could easily fall.

At Northside Tool Rental, we understand that you don’t need to hang onto a different tool for every season and every purpose under the sun. 

Come spring, when you’re ready to clean off the surfaces of your home’s exterior with a high-quality pressure washer, we have the professional tools you need available to rent—all at a fraction of the cost of purchasing the tools outright. Plus, instead of finding shelf space in your garage for a new pressure washer you might only use once per year, you can just return it when you’re done and rent the tools you need for your next project. To learn more, contact us today!