How to Use a Pressure Washer


How to Use a Pressure Washer


If you ever wondered How to Use a Pressure Washer or the Best Way to Use a Pressure Washer, then you are not alone. Sometimes power equipment can be a little intimidating if you have never used it before.

First, let us look at the different kinds of pressure washers. They come either in gas powered models or electric powered models. I will tell you right off the bat, stay away from the electric versions. They are not powerful enough for universal use. Gas powered models are by far the best. Purchase one with at least 2500 psi and you will be completely happy with whatever you choose to clean with it.

Pressure Washer (360x640)


These gas powered models usually come with 4 – 6 various tips which regulate the water flow. They range from a gentle spray tip for washing windows, to a fine point powerful spray tip for cleaning stubborn oil or grease spots from concrete. They are easily interchangeable with the quick connect tip built into the spray wand.

Keep in mind, that these are powerful tools. Never point one at any bare skin or in someone’s face. Always wear full body protective rain gear or you will probably get soaked, and of course, safety glasses or goggles.

Pressure washers hook up to your garden hose, and they come with about 25’ of hose attached to the pressure washer wand. You will need to lay out your garden hose in the area that you intend to work in, so that you can easily maneuver the pressure washer where needed.

Pressure washers usually come with a soap tank, so that you can use a liquid cleaning solution if you so desire. This will usually enhance the cleaning process.

Pressure washers can be used to clean just about anything outdoors, from patio furniture to your car, and from windows to concrete. In the Step-by-Step Instructions that follow, I will teach you the Best Way on How to Use a Pressure Washer on different types of surfaces.


Tools & Supplies Needed:

  • Gas Powered Pressure Washer (at least 2500 p.s.i.)
  • Gas Can with Gasoline
  • Pressure Washer Soap of your choosing
  • Garden Hose (length determined by your needs)
  • Safety Glasses or Goggles
  • Full Body Rain Gear, including:  Hood, Water-proof Gloves, and Water-Proof Boots
  • Tarps (to cover plants & planting beds if removing peeling paint from home siding)

Purchase Gas Powered Pressure Washer at:

Purchase Pressure Washer Soap at:

Purchase Garden Hoses at:

Purchase Safety Glasses & Goggles at:

Purchase Rain Gear at:

Purchase Water-proof Gloves at:

Purchase Water-proof Boots at:

Purchase Tarps at:




Step-by-Step Instructions


Step 1 – Create a Materials & Supplies Needed Sheet

Click the following Link to see my page:   Steps Common to All Projects   for completing Steps 1 thru 4. When those (4) Steps have been completed, return here and begin with Step 5.


Step 2 – Calculate Project Cost


Step 3 – Order Your Materials & Tools Needed


Step 4 – Inspect Your Delivery


Step 5 – Read the Pressure Washer’s Manual

Before attempting to operate your pressure washer for the 1st time, or if you have NOT used it in awhile, it is best to read the operating manual that came with the unit. Improper hook up and/or operating sequence could cause damage to the unit.


Step 6 – Setup and Test Your Pressure Washer

Complete the following steps, in order, to Setup and Test your Pressure Washer before actually using it on any surfaces:

  1. Put on your safety glasses or goggles and your water-proof gloves.
  2. Check the oil in the unit to make sure that it is full.
  3. Fill the pressure washer with fresh gasoline.
  4. Set the unit on a hard surface, such as a driveway, patio, or sidewalk.
  5. Stretch out and hook up your garden hose to the unit.
  6. Put on all remaining rain gear, including water-proof gloves and water-proof boots.
  7. Place the tip with the largest orifice (hole) into the quick connect at the end of the spray wand.This will be the weakest spray nozzle. The smaller the orifice, the greater the pressure.
  8. Attach the other end of the spray wand to the pressure washer.
  9. Turn on the faucet fully opened that is attached to the pressure washer.
  10. Pull out the choke on the pressure washer, and prime the unit according to your manual, if it is equipped with a primer button.
  11. Squeeze the trigger on the wand until water comes out the end, clearing all air pockets.
  12. Pull the cord to start the unit. If it does NOT start on the 1st pull, you will need to repeat the process of squeezing the trigger on the wand before each pull on the cord.
  13. Once the unit starts, let run for about 15 – 30 seconds before pushing the choke back in, or sooner if the unit starts running roughly.
  14. Hold the wand firmly with both hands, pointing the tip away from your body, and holding it about 6” – 12” away from the hard surface area.
  15. Pull the trigger to operate. You should only be experiencing a soft spray if you are using the correct tip.
  16. Turn the pressure washer OFF. Squeeze the trigger to release any residual pressure. Remove the tip, and replace it with the next tip with a slightly smaller orifice. (Tips are usually color coded with different colors. Remember the pressure for each different tip, so that you will always be able to install the correct one before cleaning a new surface.) Using the wrong tip could cause damage to the item that you are trying to wash.
  17. Once the next tip is firmly installed, restart the pressure washer. It will NOT be necessary to apply the choke, since the unit is already warm, but you will need to squeeze the trigger each time before starting.
  18. Test the new tip for pressure in the same manner as you did for the 1st tip. Repeat this process for all of the tips (steps 11, 12, 14, 15, & 16), so that you can get a feel of what each tip can do. Make a mental note of the tips that you intend to use on what surfaces.


Step 7 – Adding a Soap Solution

Adding a Liquid Soap Solution can increase the efficiency of your cleaning. Use the appropriate soap for each surface application.

Each surface, and the degree of dirtiness will affect how you will apply the soap. Certain surfaces may benefit from applying the soap with a gentle spray tip and allow it to penetrate the surface for a small period of time before pressure washing. Other surfaces may NOT require the same pre-soaking. You will need to read the label on each type of soap that you use and follow the recommended instructions, testing your results as you go. The closer you hold the tip of the wand to your surfaces, the more pressure is applied.


Step 8 – Cleaning Patio Furniture

Be careful NOT to use too much pressure when Cleaning Patio Furniture or damage to your items could occur.
Attempt to clean your patio furniture without a soap solution 1st, using the recommended medium pressure tip and holding the tip at least 6” from the surface. If it does NOT come clean to your satisfaction, then try to add the soap solution of your choice.

When cleaning more delicate surfaces like patio furniture, be sure to use the correct tip, and to hold your tip at least 6” away from the surface when pressure washing, in order to avoid any damage. If you are using a soap solution, apply it to all of the furniture at once, then detach the pickup hose from the soap, and use straight water to pressure wash the furniture, thoroughly rinsing all of the soap away.


Step 9 – Cleaning Your Car

You can Clean Your Car with a pressure washer if you so choose. Using a medium tip, keeping it about 4” – 6” away from the car, rinse the entire car with straight water 1st. Then, add a small amount of the car soap of your choice into the soap reservoir. Soap the entire car, then disconnect the soap pickup tube, and rinse the car. You may need to go over hard to remove areas with a sponge to get the car really clean.

It is better to clean hard to remove dirt with a sponge, rather than changing to a more powerful tip, or you could damage your paint. Do NOT get too close to the surface. Make sure that you stay at least 4” – 6” away when pressure washing your car. Remember, rinse 1st with just water, then add your car soap and soap up the entire car. Detach the pickup hose from the soap dispenser, then rinse the entire car. Use a shammy to dry the car, then glass cleaner to clean all of the windows.


Step 10 – Cleaning Wood Decks & Railings

Use the correct tip for Cleaning Wood Decks & Railings, being careful NOT to get too close so that indentations are NOT made in the wood.

Cleaning Wood Decks & Railings usually requires a medium tip, holding the tip about 4” – 6” from the surface.
Too strong of a tip or holding the tip too close to the wood surface can cause grooving in the wood.
You should pressure wash the wood away from you at all times, always slowly moving the wand, and going over the same area until you are satisfied with the results. If you have a scrap piece of wood that is similar to the decking, you can test just how close you can go to the surface before grooving will take place.


Step 11 – Cleaning Your Home’s Siding & Gutters

When Cleaning Your Home’s Siding & Gutters, you usually will NOT need a soap solution, but that is surely your choice. Use a medium tip on hardboard siding and wood trim, or slightly stronger tip on aluminum siding, staying about 4” – 6” away from the surfaces.

If you are getting ready to paint the outside of your home, and the paint is peeling, a pressure washer can greatly reduce your scraping time. Using a medium tip, and being careful to stay at least 4” away from your wood, you can pressure wash 60% – 80% of all peeling paint right off. This will save you tons of time scraping your home, especially if the peeling paint is excessive. You will still need to go over all of the edges in the areas where the pressure washer removed the paint, but it will still be a lot less scraping than if you did not pressure wash 1st.

It is best to cover all plants and planting beds that contain mulch and/or cecorative stone with tarps before pressure washing peeling paint. It will make cleanup much easier. You can rake remaining areas easily with a bamboo or plastic rake to remove any remaining paint chips.


Step 12 – Cleaning Asphalt, Concrete, & Other Hard Surfaces

A pressure washer can make asphalt, concrete, patio stones, and other hard surfaces look nearly like new. Apply a degreaser to any oil and grease spots on your driveway, straight from the can, letting it pre-soak the stain or you can put degreaser into your pressure washer soap tank to clean larger areas. Use a small orifice, high pressure tip to clean the stained areas, then you can reduce to medium tip for general pressure washing. You should keep the tip about 2” – 4” away from the stained areas, and 4” – 6” away from the surface during general pressure washing. You may need to treat these stained areas several times before getting adequate results.

If you are intending to reseal your asphalt driveway, or apply a concrete stain to a patio or walkway, it is always a good idea to clean these areas with a pressure washer first. When using a more powerful tip, you need to take extra care NEVER to point the tip at any body parts, regardless if they are covered or NOT.

Flat surface like driveways, patios, and walks usually tend to get dirtier than other surfaces. Also, block retaining walls will often collect mildew and mold, especially if they are located primarily in the shade. Using a pressure washer on these types of surfaces can nearly make them look brand new.
In closing, I will tell you this:  pressure washing can be come addicting! Once you see how nice and clean things can be made to look with a pressure washer, it’s hard to stop.


Good Job! I Hope That All of Your Pressure Washing was Successful!


Please take the time to leave a Comment, letting me know how your project went.



CJ Dodaro


  1. Seamus Collins

    Hey Cj,
    A lot of info to take in, good info i might ad, but, It’s a lot of reading in one go, I would of liked it to be a bit broken up.

    1. CJ Dodaro (Post author)

      Thanks. Glad that you enjoyed it. I will keep the length more in mind for future posts. Thank you for your comments.

  2. Sylvia Guillemette

    This is a great post! For those folks who rent them to use them to clean the house, they should have this how-to! I’ve been asked if I know how to use one and the answer is NO.
    This step-by-step guideline to using one is easy to read and understand. I’m going to bookmark it. It’s that time of year again, and at least I can send someone to the link to read before using.
    Thanks so much!

    1. CJ Dodaro (Post author)

      You are very welcome. Glad that you enjoyed it. Yes it should be good for those that rent one, as well as for those who decide to purchase one of their own. Once you start using it and see how versatile and well it works, it is a little addicting. It makes you want to go and clean up the entire neighborhood! LOL They are well worth purchasing, since you will find that you can use them somewhere every year. It really gives things a fresh look.


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