10 Common Mistakes When Doing Pressure Washing

In the world of pressure washing, avoiding common mistakes is crucial to achieving optimal results. This article delves into ten of the most frequently made errors when pressure washing, providing essential insights for both beginners and experienced users.

By highlighting these missteps, readers will gain a deeper understanding of the importance of using the correct pressure settings, testing on small areas, using suitable cleaning solutions, maintaining safety measures, and more.

Discover how to avoid these pitfalls and enhance your pressure washing techniques.

Mistake 1: Not Using the Right Pressure Settings

pressure gauge

One of the most significant errors in pressure washing is the failure to utilize the appropriate pressure settings.

Many people make the mistake of using too much pressure when cleaning surfaces, which can lead to damage and costly repairs.

On the other hand, using too little pressure may not effectively clean the surface and can result in a subpar job.

It is crucial to understand that different surfaces require different pressure settings.

For example, delicate surfaces like wood or glass should be cleaned at a lower pressure to avoid any harm.

Conversely, tougher surfaces like concrete or brick may require higher pressure to remove stubborn stains.

Mistake 2: Neglecting to Test the Pressure Washer on a Small Area First

Before proceeding to pressure wash a large area, it is crucial to test the pressure washer on a small area first to ensure that it is set at the appropriate level and will not cause any damage. Neglecting this important step can result in unintended consequences such as stripping paint, damaging delicate surfaces, or causing etching on certain materials.

By testing the pressure washer on a small, inconspicuous area, you can assess the impact of the water stream and adjust the pressure accordingly. This allows you to find the right balance between effectively removing dirt and grime, while also protecting the surface from harm.

Taking the time to test the pressure washer on a small area first can save you from costly repairs and potential damage to your property.

Mistake 3: Using the Wrong Cleaning Solution or Detergent

cleaning materials for pressure washing

Inadvertently using the wrong cleaning solution or detergent can lead to detrimental effects on the surfaces being pressure washed, potentially causing damage or producing unsatisfactory results.

It is crucial to select the appropriate cleaning solution or detergent based on the specific surface and the type of dirt or grime to be removed. Using the wrong cleaning solution can result in discoloration, fading, or even etching on delicate materials such as wood or painted surfaces.

Additionally, certain cleaning solutions may contain harsh chemicals that can corrode metal surfaces or harm nearby plants and vegetation. To avoid these issues, it is essential to carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions and choose a cleaning solution that is compatible with the surface being cleaned.

Mistake 4: Holding the Pressure Washer Nozzle Too Close to the Surface

A common mistake that many people make when pressure washing is holding the pressure washer nozzle excessively close to the surface. While it may seem like getting the nozzle as close as possible will provide better cleaning results, this can actually cause significant damage.

Holding the nozzle too close can result in etching or gouging the surface, especially if it is a delicate material like wood or soft stone. Additionally, the high-pressure water stream can strip away paint, remove mortar between bricks, or even cause injury if directed towards the body.

It is crucial to maintain a safe distance between the nozzle and the surface being cleaned to prevent any unnecessary damage or accidents.

Mistake 5: Overlooking Protective Gear and Safety Measures

protective gears for pressure washing

One common mistake that individuals often make when pressure washing is disregarding the necessary protective gear and safety measures.

It is crucial to prioritize safety when engaging in any high-pressure cleaning activity. Failure to do so can lead to serious injuries and accidents.

Protective gear such as goggles, gloves, and appropriate footwear should always be worn to protect against debris, chemicals, and potential slip hazards.

Additionally, it is important to follow safety measures in pressure washing such as reading and understanding the manufacturer’s instructions for the pressure washer, maintaining a safe distance from the surface being cleaned, and using the appropriate nozzle for the task at hand.

Mistake 6: Ignoring Proper Technique and Movements

When pressure washing, it is crucial to understand and apply proper technique and movements to achieve optimal results and prevent damage.

Ignoring proper technique and movements can lead to ineffective cleaning or even cause harm to the surface being washed.

One common mistake is using excessive pressure. While it may seem like the logical approach to remove tough stains, using too much pressure can strip away paint, damage wood, or create etching on softer surfaces.

Another mistake is using the wrong nozzle or spray pattern. Different surfaces require different levels of pressure and spray angles. Neglecting to adjust these settings can result in uneven cleaning or even cause surface gouging.

Lastly, improper movement can also lead to unsatisfactory results. Moving the wand too quickly can result in missed spots, while moving too slowly can cause streaking or overexposure to water, leading to damage.

Mistake 7: Neglecting to Clean Hard-To-Reach Areas

hard to find areas for pressure washing

Despite their difficulty, it is essential not to neglect cleaning hard-to-reach areas when pressure washing.

These areas, such as corners, crevices, and high surfaces, often accumulate dirt, grime, and mold over time.

Neglecting to clean these areas not only compromises the overall cleanliness of the surface but also leaves room for further damage and deterioration.

Hard-to-reach areas are often the most vulnerable to the effects of weather and environmental factors.

Mold and mildew can thrive in these neglected areas, leading to potential health hazards and structural issues.

Therefore, it is crucial to invest extra time and effort in reaching and thoroughly cleaning these areas during pressure washing.

Utilizing appropriate tools and techniques, such as extension wands or rotating brushes, can help ensure a thorough and effective cleaning process.

delicate surface area for pressure washing

Mistake 8: Using a Pressure Washer on Delicate Surfaces

Using a pressure washer on delicate surfaces can result in irreversible damage if not handled with caution. Delicate surfaces such as wood, painted surfaces, and certain types of siding require special care when it comes to pressure washing. The high-pressure water can strip away paint, erode wood, and even cause cracks or chips in fragile surfaces.

It is important to adjust the pressure setting on the washer and use the appropriate nozzle to ensure a gentle spray. Additionally, using the correct cleaning solution specifically formulated for delicate surfaces can help protect them during the pressure washing process.

It is also advisable to test a small, inconspicuous area before proceeding to clean the entire surface to avoid any potential damage. By taking these precautions, homeowners can safely clean their delicate surfaces without causing harm.

Mistake 9: Leaving Streaks or Marks on the Cleaned Surface

One of the most common mistakes in pressure washing is failing to properly clean the surface, resulting in streaks or marks that can detract from the overall appearance.

When pressure washing, it is important to ensure that the nozzle is held at the correct angle and distance from the surface. Holding the nozzle too close or at the wrong angle can cause the water to hit the surface unevenly, leading to streaks or marks.

Additionally, using too much pressure can also contribute to streaking. To avoid this issue, it is crucial to use the appropriate pressure settings and to test a small area first before proceeding with the entire surface.

Taking these precautions will help to achieve a clean and streak-free result.

Mistake 10: Failing to Properly Maintain and Store the Pressure Washer

Improper maintenance and storage of the pressure washer can lead to significant damage and decrease its overall lifespan.

Neglecting regular maintenance tasks, such as cleaning the filters, changing the oil, and inspecting the hoses and nozzles, can result in reduced performance and potential breakdowns.

Failure to properly store the pressure washer can also lead to damage from extreme weather conditions or accidental bumps and falls.

It is essential to store the pressure washer in a clean and dry location, away from direct sunlight and freezing temperatures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, it is possible to use a pressure washer on delicate surfaces like wood or vinyl siding, but caution must be exercised. Using the correct nozzle, pressure settings, and maintaining a safe distance is crucial to prevent damage.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of a pressure washer is essential for optimal performance and longevity. It is recommended to clean the machine after each use and perform a thorough maintenance check at least once a year.

When using a pressure washer, it is important to choose the right cleaning solution or detergent. Factors such as the surface being cleaned and the type of dirt or grime present should be considered.

When using a pressure washer, it is important to take safety precautions. This includes wearing protective gear, such as goggles and gloves, and ensuring that the area is clear of people and objects that may be damaged by the high-pressure stream of water.

To clean hard-to-reach areas with a pressure washer, consider using extension wands or telescoping poles to increase reach. Additionally, adjustable nozzle tips can help adjust the spray pattern for better cleaning in tight spaces.


In conclusion, it is important to avoid common mistakes when pressure washing to ensure effective and safe cleaning.

This includes:

  • Using the right pressure settings
  • Testing the pressure washer on a small area first
  • Using the correct cleaning solution
  • Maintaining a safe distance from surfaces
  • Wearing protective gear
  • Cleaning hard-to-reach areas
  • Avoiding delicate surfaces
  • Preventing streaks or marks
  • Properly maintaining and storing the pressure washer.

By avoiding these mistakes, one can achieve optimal results while preserving the longevity of the equipment.

Categories DIY