How to properly use your pressure washer?

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A pressure washer is a great device that can effectively clean various surfaces.

However, to take full advantage of it, some details may be essential, mainly if you have never used this type of device.

Above all, as its name suggests, it is a device with pressurized water, which can be dangerous if misused.

It is, therefore, essential to observe certain precautions.

In addition, it is essential to adapt according to the surface to be treated.

Indeed, we do not use the same power to clean garden furniture and a concrete wall!

Here is our complete guide to the proper use of a pressure washer.

Inspect the surface to be treated

Depending on the work to be done, you will need to study the surface to be cleaned.

This is the first step!

So, if you want to clean a wall, make sure it is in good condition: if, for example, the paint is chipped, cleaning with strong pressure may remove the paint.

Or, water under pressure on a windshield with an impact can make it worse, and a tile with a crack can split completely.

In these cases, you will have to adjust the pressure or carry out repair or replacement work beforehand.

Equip yourself accordingly

Since you are working with a powerful jet, and possibly detergent, it is important to protect yourself.

Here is the equipment you are advised to wear when using a high-pressure cleaner:

– Protective goggles

– Gloves

– Appropriate clothing: work clothes or coveralls

– If possible, solid shoes such as construction boots.

Equip yourself accordingly


Water supply

Regardless of the model, you must supply water to the appliance for it to operate.

In any case, it is advisable to use a water filter (this is usually included).

Connecting to the tap

The simplest way to proceed is to simply connect the hose to a cold water tap.

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If your tap also supplies hot water, you can choose between hot and cold water.

Hot water is especially recommended for treating grease or oil stains, for which cold water is less effective.

Other options

– Another option is to connect the device to another water source, such as a rainwater tank for example.

In this case, you will need an adapter ; note, however, that some devices have a self-priming function that allows you to use any water source.

– Some models, in particular thermal pressure washers, may have an integrated water tank.

It is then advisable to fill this tank well before use.

Power supply

There are two main categories of high pressure cleaners, which correspond to two different power supply modes.

Electric models

If you have an electric pressure washer, then you will need to plug it into a power outlet.

Ideally, it is advisable not to use an extension cord, for safety reasons.

If you really need an extension, use only a reel and unwind its cable as much as possible.

When connecting, also take the opportunity to check the condition of the power cable (a damaged and wet cable… hello damage!!).

Thermal models

In the case of thermal models, you just need to make sure that the fuel tank as well as the oil tank are properly filled.

Thermal models
Pressure Washer Cleaning Time. Men Cleaning Outside House Stairs with Power High Pressured Cleaner. Ceramic Stairs and Home Entrance. Closeup Photo.


For some tasks, some additions are possible to obtain a better result.


To better remove dirt, it is possible to add detergent to the dedicated tank of the high-pressure cleaner.

Do n’t opt ​​for just any detergent: while some are quite versatile, some surfaces require a specific product.

For example, a detergent for steel and one for wood will be very different.

On the other hand, make sure that the chosen detergent is compatible with your appliance.

Note that in general detergents should be used at low pressure.

On most models with detergent tank, a setting exists to choose between single water spray or water/detergent mix.

On some devices, a foam cannon can be fitted at the end of the lance: this looks like a tank dedicated to spraying detergent.

The sandblasting kit

This addition consists of an accessory which is connected to the jet at one end, and which is immersed in a tank containing sand at the other end.

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This treatment makes it possible to take advantage of the abrasive side of the sand by projecting wet sand on the area to be cleaned: this treatment is particularly intended for metal surfaces.

Note that if you use this addition, it is strongly advised to wear a breathing mask.

Choosing the Right Jet

The final phase of assembling your device is usually to attach the lance to the end of the gun.

Most models offer adjustable nozzles to obtain several types of jets, or several lances, depending on the needs, or even accessories such as the soft brush.

It should be noted that the use of this or that water jet must be used with a specific pressure.

Low pressure jet

For fragile surfaces.

It is also a very useful jet for rinsing.

Flat jet

To cover a larger area.

It is particularly well suited to surfaces such as wood or plaster, with low pressure.

Pencil jet

To condense the jet and obtain better water pressure.

This jet is the number one choice for cleaning foams and is used with medium pressure.

Rotating nozzle (or dirt blaster)

For the toughest jobs.

This is an “enhanced” pencil jet; it is well suited to hard exterior surfaces such as facades, driveways or terraces.

It is used with high pressure.

Soft brush / rotating brush

For fragile surfaces such as car bodies.

It is used with low pressure.

The difference with the low pressure jet is that it allows the area to be brushed, with fibers that do not scratch.

Adjusting the power

Besides choosing the right jet, there are several other ways to adjust the performance of your device according to the task at hand.

To adjust the power of the jet, there are above all the settings specific to the pressure washer you are using.

Do not hesitate to consult the manual in case of doubt.

You can make these adjustments before you start, or adjust them along the way if you think it’s necessary:

  • ​​If the dirt is tougher than expected, increase the pressure.
  • For tasks that occupy a large area, a higher water flow will be a great help.

The angle and distance

The distance can vary according to the work done and the desired intensity: in fact, the closer you are, the stronger the pressure applied will be.

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In any case, allow a minimum distance of 30 cm between the lance and the surface to be treated.

Be careful never to aim at animals or other people!

And if you’re not working on a large area, but on an object that the jet can pass through, like a motorcycle or a grill, make sure there’s no one behind the object to be cleaned.

Also, never direct the jet at a power source.

Finally, the angle can be important, especially if you are cleaning a roof: if you clean the tiles from below with strong pressure, they may come off easily.

The angle and distance
Pressure Washer Cleaning in Front of the House. Caucasian Men in His 30s Washing Concrete Bricks Driveway in Sunny Summer Day. Cleaning Around the House Concept.

Let’s go!

Did you complete all the above steps correctly?

Then it’s time to start!

It’s very simple to do this:


  1. -up If you have connected the high-pressure cleaner to a tap, open it completely.
  2. Turn on the pressure washer.


  1. Pick up the gun with both hands.
  2. Point the lance at the spot to be cleaned.
  3. Squeeze the trigger to release the water.

Start with a short pull on the trigger to get used to the pressure, then continue with a steady pull on the trigger.


If you have a car, above all take advantage of low-pressure water to soften the dirt.

If you use a detergent, spray it, then let it act for a few moments.

In the case of car cleaning, you can use the soft brush for optimal cleaning.

For other surfaces, adapt your jet according to the surface to be cleaned and its degree of dirt.

If you used detergent, rinse the product with the flat jet.

In general, the work with the pressure washer should not exceed one hour.

Once the work is finished

Once the cleaning has been carried out and the result obtained is satisfactory, the device still needs to be stored properly.

  1. Turn off the water supply.
  2. Squeeze the trigger until the residual water runs out.
  3. Turn off the pressure washer.
  4. In the case of an electric pressure washer, unplug it.
  5. Disassemble the various removable parts such as the spear.
  6. You can now store the device until the next use.
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