How Do I Pressure Wash?
The easiest way to understand how to pressure wash is to first learn how the pressure washing system works. There are three basic elements needed to clean different types of surfaces; water flow, pressure, and cleaning agents. These three elements are imperative no matter which pressure washing system your are using. Increasing or decreasing one of the above will determine which surface you are attempting to clean; IE concrete, siding, wood, or painted surfaces.
When it comes to residential pressure washing, the number one cleaning project we encounter is siding. We will use this as our example on how the three elements work together. The ultimate goal of pressure washing is to break the bond between a surface and the dirt. One would assume that if a surface won’t come clean then ultimately is time to increase the pressure. WRONG! This is where a cleaning agent comes into play. Cleaning agents act as a buffer and safety net at the point where increasing the pressure will actually destroy the surface you are trying to cleaning. Depending on the cleaner being use with your pressure washer, chances are it will allow you to decrease the pressure needed to break the bond.
Using The Soap Nozzle.
It is always a GREAT idea to pre-wet any surface and surrounding areas you are going to pressure wash to prevent staining or damaging of a dry surface with the cleaning agent (such as plants or other delicate surfaces). Once you have pre-wetted the surrounding areas it is now time to apply the cleaning agent. Most power washers come with soap nozzles (the black ones). These nozzles drop the pressure enough to allow the cleaner/soap for flow from the injector. (When using strong cleaners please wear gloves, eye protection, and other safety devices you feel needed for your protection). It is now time to apply the cleaner to the surface. Always start at the bottom and work your way up. Once the surface is completely covered with the cleaner allow adequate dwell time before your rinse with your power washer.
Rinsing Is So Important!
I can’t stress enough how important rinsing is when power washing. Rinsing is the key to the whole process and if not done properly it can ruin siding, windows and other delicate parts of your home. If cleaners are left on too long it can stain and etch windows or discolor your siding. Always rinse from the top down and start from a distance to decrease your pressure (that is if you only have the nozzles your unit came with (IE: Red, Green, and White Tips/Nozzle). You can buy other nozzle to allow you to soft wash (more about soft washing here), but we will get into that another time. Also make sure you don’t force water behind your siding, this will created dripping from the weep holes and staining can also occur. This happens most often with Carolina bead siding.
Try to rinse in one direction going with the siding where it overlaps the next piece. Remember there is no such thing as over rinsing! Make sure you remove all the dirt, grime, and cleaner from your home but stay away with high pressure near windows, where the siding meet another piece, and under your soffit and facia. Now it is time to start power washingthe other side of your home. Repeat the above process.
What If I Don’t Feel Comfortable Using a Pressure Washer?
There is no shame in hiring a professional contractor to do your dirty work for you! If you live in and around the Lancaster, Pa area you can feel free to contact us (717-330-5386) for your free consultation and estimate. Please take a look at some of our other work here (Lancaster Pressure Washing).