Pressure Washing Techniques for Different Surfaces | Tips & Tricks

In case you just got your very first pressure washer, let me congratulate you. You are going to have a lot of fun with the machine. One way or another.

pressure washer techniques

However, before you go all crazy on your driveway or patio, there are certain steps and techniques on how to make the best use of your pressure washer, without wasting all the water from your neighborhood.

How To Correctly Use a Pressure Washer

Below you can find various techniques on how to use a pressure washer. One is not like the other because each is meant for a different surface.

Now I know what you might think – am I an idiot? I know how to use a pressure washer. Don’t worry, my intention is not to insult your intelligence, but rather show you some effective strategies. What you do with that knowledge is completely up to you.

1) Concrete: A Hard Surface with Soft Feelings

Let’s start with concrete. For example, your driveway. It’s one of the most common things to clean with a pressure washer.

  • Step 1: Don’t let the tough exterior fool you. Concrete can be a sensitive soul. Start with a low pressure (around 1500 PSI) and work your way up if needed. Your concrete will thank you for it.
  • Step 2: Sweep or blow away any loose debris. Nothing ruins a pressure-washing party like a rogue pebble to the face.
  • Step 3: Apply detergent. Just like your favorite shampoo commercial, lather, rinse, and repeat. But seriously, let the detergent sit for 5-10 minutes to break down stains and grime.
  • Step 4: Use a 15-degree nozzle and work in a consistent, overlapping pattern. Remember, slow and steady wins the race (and leaves your concrete looking fabulous).

2) Wood: Splinters and Slivers and Dirt

The next candidate on our list is wood, which requires a slightly different approach. This can be used for example for a patio or wooden fence.

  • Step 1: For the love of all things holy, use low pressure (500-600 PSI) on wood surfaces. You’re cleaning your deck, not sandblasting it.
  • Step 2: Spray with the grain of the wood. It’s not a maze, people. Follow the lines.
  • Step 3: Use a detergent specifically designed for wood surfaces. You wouldn’t wash your hair with dish soap, would you?
  • Step 4: Give the detergent time to work its magic. Patience is a virtue, and it’s one that will leave your wood surfaces looking pristine.

3) Brick: The Strong, Silent Type

We are talking about uncovered, solid brick. For example, certain house walls, a brick shed, etc.

  • Step 1: Starting at low pressure (around 1000 PSI) is key. Brick may be strong, but it’s not invincible.
  • Step 2: Inspect your brick surface for any cracks or loose mortar. Pressure washing can turn a small problem into a big one if you’re not careful.
  • Step 3: Apply detergent specifically designed for brick. You don’t want to damage the surface or cause discoloration.
  • Step 4: Use a 25-degree nozzle and work in a sweeping motion, moving from top to bottom. This will prevent streaking and keep your bricks looking fabulous.

4) Vinyl Siding: Because Your Home Deserves a Spa Day, Too

The vinyl siding is most commonly used as a plastic exterior for houses. It can be cleaned pretty easily, if done correctly.

  • Step 1: Low pressure is your friend when it comes to vinyl siding (around 1000 PSI). Too much pressure can damage the siding or force water behind it, which is a big no-no.
  • Step 2: Start by rinsing the siding with water. A simple hose will do. No need for a fire hydrant.
  • Step 3: Apply a siding-safe detergent. Your home is your castle, so treat it right.
  • Step 4: Use a wide-angle nozzle (like the 40-degree white one) and work from the top down. Gravity: it’s not just a suggestion, it’s the law.

5) A Few Final Tips: Pressure Washing Proverbs

Here is a bonus addition, four more tips for all the readers who made it to the very end.

  • Safety first: Wear eye protection, closed-toe shoes, and ear protection if your pressure washer is loud. You’re not a superhero, so protect yourself.
  • Test a small area: Before going all in, test a small, inconspicuous area to make sure you’re using the right pressure and detergent. Better safe than sorry.
  • Keep it moving: Don’t linger too long in one spot or you might damage the surface. Treat it like a hot stove – touch and go.
  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Respect the power of the pressure washer. It’s not a toy, and it can cause serious injury if misused. Save the water fights for the sprinklers.

The Bottom Line

Well, that’s all she wrote. While there is definitely an infinite number of objects and things that you can clean with a pressure washer, I feel like these are the most common and quite different surfaces that can be encountered.

Now that you are armed with the knowledge from above, go grab that powerful machine of mass destru- I mean cleanliness- and get to work. Your driveway deserves some love too.