Safety Tips and Best Practices When Using a Pressure Washer

If you have ever used a pressure washer, you know what these fellas can do. I mean the sheer power to tear down dried-up dirt from your patio is a force to be reckoned with. That’s why I feel obligated to share with you a few safety tips and best practices when dealing with a pressure washer.

man safely using pressure washer

So, without further ado, here they are:

Suit Up, Soldier!

When going to battle against filth, you should know that some of that filth will end up on your clothes. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend using a pressure washer in your best suit.

Now that we have stated the obvious, here are some tips on what to wear during the task:

  • Safety goggles: Because who doesn’t want to look like a mad scientist while they work?
  • Gloves: The perfect accessory to protect your delicate hands from high-pressure water and flying debris.
  • Long pants and long sleeves: Hide those pale legs and arms, not just from the sun but from possible injuries too.
  • Closed-toe shoes: Cinderella didn’t wear glass slippers while cleaning, and neither should you.

Get to Know Your New Best Friend

Anyone who has ever owned at least two pressure washers knows that one is not like the other. Different attachments, hoses, settings, accessories, noise level, power – all that changes with each model. That’s why it’s important to get to know all your new pressure washer has to offer.

  • Know your pressure washer: Familiarize yourself with your pressure washer’s manual, and pay attention to the recommended settings and safety precautions.
  • Choose the right nozzle: Make sure you use the correct nozzle for the job. A 0-degree nozzle is great for chiseling paint but can also chisel away your skin (yikes!). For most jobs, a 15- or 25-degree nozzle will do just fine.

Don’t Get Too Close for Comfort

When using a pressure washer, you don’t want to be that person who gets too close to the surface they’re cleaning. I know, there is always that one friend who just has to…

But never mind that suit of yours, now we are talking about serious damage and injuries that can be caused by using the machine too close to the surface.

  • Maintain a safe distance: Start at a distance of at least 2 feet and move closer as needed. It’s always better to be cautious than end up with a hole in your siding.
  • Never spray people or animals: I mean, this one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people think it’s a good idea to pressure wash their pets or unsuspecting friends.

Spoiler alert: it’s not.

Be a Pressure Washing Picasso

Pressure washing can be considered an art, and like any artist, you need to master your technique. Here are some tips to help you create a masterpiece (or at least not ruin your canvas):

  • Use smooth, even strokes: That means don’t apply too much pressure on one spot. Remember, smooth, even, democratic strokes.
  • Keep the nozzle moving: Letting the nozzle linger in one place is a recipe for disaster. Keep it moving to avoid damage.
  • Wash from top to bottom: Gravity is your friend. Let it help you wash away the grime as you work your way down.

Turn It Off, Unplug It, and Store It

Now that you are finally satisfied with the results, it’s time to put your toy away and go to sleep.

  • Turn off the machine: This is pretty self-explanatory.
  • Release the pressure: Squeeze the trigger to release any remaining pressure in the system.
  • Disconnect the hose and attachments: Carefully disconnect the hoses and attachments, and make sure they’re empty of water before storing them.
  • Clean the equipment: Give your pressure washer a little TLC by cleaning off any dirt or debris. For such a well-done job, your pressure washer deserves it.
  • Store it in a safe place: Put your pressure washer away in a cool, dry area, away from children and pets. It’s not a toy, no matter how fun it was to use.

Parting Words

Now that you know it’s not the best and brightest idea to use a pressure washer in your evening dress or a tailored suit, you are good to, go, and don’t forget – with great power comes great responsibility.