Pressure washers are fantastic tools that breathe life back into neglected surfaces. Even though water is the primary component, a pressure washer is a powerful piece of equipment. However, as tempting as it might be, not every surface or object should be pressure-washed.
While this list isn't exhaustive, here are a few examples of what you should (and shouldn't) have on the business end of the wand.
5 Things You Can Pressure Wash
Concrete, Tile, and Brick Walkways, Patios, and Other Outdoor Surfaces
Your outdoor surfaces get a lot of use. Daily use alongside oil, algae, moss, and mud can turn walkways into dull, overgrown messes. While the rain may wash some grime away, a good pressure washing will have it clean in as little as a single pass. Pressure washing is excellent for concrete, tile, and brick surfaces, penetrating deeply to peel away crud. Just be mindful of old mortar or grout; they can wear away quickly under pressure washing if you're not careful.
Wooden Decks and Fences
Decks are often the centerpiece of your backyard. As such, they deserve only the best in cleaning solutions. Unfortunately, it's common for mildew to give decks a greenish look, which may have your guests thinking it's some exotic grass wood. If this isn't the look you're going for, pressure wash all that natural greeny goodness off. The same goes for fences that have been blasted by grass from the lawnmower a few too many times.
With how many people have dirty grills, you'd think that's just how they're supposed to look. While it may look like a daunting task to scrub away all that muck, a pressure washer can make life so much easier. However, be forewarned that you need to be careful not to damage any of the internal components of the grill. If you're unsure, talk to a professional before you put the blast to your favorite cooking hardware.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the room to store all of their outdoor furniture inside during the off-season. As a result, some of your favorite summer chairs and tables may bear the brunt of mother nature's precipitation. Lucky for you, most outdoor furniture is built to last and can easily take a good pressure washing. However, be careful around glass tables and fabric surfaces like pillows and seating pads as these might be too fragile or soft to tolerate pressurized water.
Garbage Cans, Lawnmowers, and Other Outdoor Items
The idea of washing a garbage can may have already made your nose recoil, but that's all the more reason to. Cleaning your garbage can regularly isn't just good for the smell, but it removes unsanitary conditions where bacteria, viruses, and mold thrive. Ideally, a pressure washing with some cleaner mixed in will give it the best results. Lawnmowers and other landscaping implements are also prime candidates as they can get caked with grass residue.
5 Things You Shouldn't Pressure Wash
Painted or Stained Surfaces
Though a surface may be tough enough not to be damaged by a pressure washer, the paint layer on top of it may not be. You could accidentally end up stripping the paint away from whatever you're blasting. That's not to say it's always impossible. Siding and vehicles, for example, can be pressure washed but not haphazardly. Pay special attention to the pressure settings and angle. If you're unsure, consult a professional before hitting any painted surfaces.
Electrical Panels, Light Fixtures, and Other Equipment
Avoiding electrical fixtures should be a no-brainer. However, you'd be surprised how many people forget water doesn't mix well with electricity. Pressure washers can cause catastrophic damage to any electronics. The pressure can easily snap or break delicate components, which are very difficult to fix without professionals -- not to mention expensive.
It’s tempting to pressure wash in and around your gutters, but cleaning these out requires a softer solution. Because so many gutters are made from thin metal, they're not strong enough to withstand most pressure washers and can break easily when hit with a stream.
It's common to think that because your car windshield can withstand pressure washings, then so can your home windows. Unfortunately, house windows aren't nearly as strong and can easily shatter under that kind of pressure. Soap, a squeegee, and a hose will be your best bet for those.
Plants and Animals
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU PRESSURE WASH LIVING THINGS. You can cause serious harm to animals and destroy plants. So be careful when pressure washing other things to ensure that there isn't anything alive in front of the nozzle.
While pressure washing is great, it's not the right tool for every job. Always do your research or consult a professional if you're unsure. Otherwise, feel free to give us a call and we can do all the hard work for you!
Photo by Matt Benson on Unsplash