Cleaning and Maintenance

All You Need to Know About Pressure Washers

January 10th 2017

Pressure washers make it easy to clean anything from a concrete patio to a car. They are designed to wash away dirt, dust, mud, mould, paint, clay and other debris from a surface. The reason pressure washers are so good at what they do is that they employ large amounts of pressure to make washing away even the toughest grime easy.

If you are considering hiring a pressure washer, it’s a good idea to know exactly what to look for and how to use the machine to its fullest potential so you can get your job done quickly and easily.

How Pressure Washers Work

Most pressure washers that you can hire for home or business use connect to an existing water supply, like your garden hose, for example. Some models do have tanks for storing water. They pressurise the water using an engine, and then release it at high speeds so the force of the water can be used to clean and wash debris away.

The pressure washer has a button near the nozzle that allows you to stop and start the water stream and many models allow you to adjust the water pressure.

What a Pressure Washer Can Do

The most common use for a pressure washer is cleaning. The water under high pressure makes it easy to wash away even very stubborn dirt and grime and can make a deck, sidewalk, walkway, brick pathway, building or other surface look like new.

Some types of pressure washes make it possible to combine cleaning chemicals or even sand with water to remove things like old paint or graffiti.

Different pressure washers have different levels of pressure, so some are more suitable to certain tasks. For example, you could use a very low pressure model to wash your car, and a higher pressure washer to clean the grime off your driveway.

Choosing a Pressure Washer

There is a wide variety of pressure washers available, and choosing the right one is important. Choosing the wrong washer for your project can make your job harder and can even cause damage to the surface you are working with.

Electric or Gas

There are both electric and gas powered pressure washers. The main difference to keep in mind is that an electric model will require you to have an electric supply nearby while you work, so a gas powered washer may be more mobile.

Electric washers are also generally more suitable for smaller jobs where you don’t need to achieve extremely high levels of pressure. They are ideal for washing windows, cars and other surfaces that may be more prone to damage.

Gasoline powered washers often emit a much more pressurised stream of water, so they work well when you need to remove a lot of dirt or are working to remove something especially stubborn, like old paint.

Mini Power Washers

Mini power washers are smaller, so choose one of these if you are working on a smaller project or a job where you won’t have much space to manoeuvre a larger washer. These washers are designed to clean things like machinery, patios, decks, cars, walls, garage doors and driveways.

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High Pressure Washers


High pressure washers are larger and more heavy duty than mini power washers. They are a good fit for removing lots of dirt, grime and oil. They are often gasoline powered so they can be set up virtually anywhere.

Hot Washer

As the name suggests, hot washer models heat the water they pressurise and spray. You might need a hot water washer if you need to remove a lot of grease or very heavy dirt or grime. Hot water can make cleaning stubborn spots easier.

Self-Contained Washers

Self-contained washers include a large tank on wheels to hold water. This makes it possible to work in places where you won’t have a water supply line. Usually these models include an extension hose so you can clean large areas easily.

To choose the right pressure washer for your job, consider how much water pressure you need, if you will have access to power and water supply lines and what you need to accomplish with it.

Tips for Getting the Most from a Pressure Washer

When you hire a pressure washer, read the instructions that came with it very carefully. These pieces of equipment can be dangerous, so wear protective gear including a hard hat, safety goggles and gloves.

Each type of pressure washer works a little differently, and the user manual that came with your machine will include directions for using it effectively and safely. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you use a pressure washer.

Make Sure All Connections are Secure

Before you start using your pressure washer, make sure all hose, for water and air, connections are secure. If there are any leaks, the washer won’t work properly. Of course, also check to make sure the power cord is also firmly attached to the outlet.

Turn the Water Source Completely On

Obviously, you’re going to need a water supply if you are using a model that requires you to attach it to a water source, turn the faucet completely on. You can adjust the pressure on the machine, but it will need the faucet’s full allowance of water to work well.

Attach Nozzles While the Pressure is Locked and Off

If you are using special attachments, add them to the nozzle while the pressure washer is off and locked.

Protect Nearby Plants, Equipment and Building Features

Clear the area as much as possible and protect things like plants, equipment, light fixtures and fragile building features with tarps. Be careful not to aim the washer at these items as you work.

Start on a Low Setting

Always make sure the pressure washer is on its lowest setting when you turn it on. This will allow you to slowly increase pressure safely and as needed and will prevent kickback, which can be dangerous.

Hold the Nozzle at an Angle

As you use the pressure washer, do not aim it directly at the items you are cleaning. Instead, hold it at an angle to wash dirt and debris away, rather than against the surface.

Use Up and Down Motions

When you clean a surface, start at the bottom and move upward, and then guide the spray down over the same area to rinse it off. Continue with this motion until you have cleaned the entire surface.

Pressure washers make washing and cleaning all kinds of surfaces a snap. When you know what your project will require you can choose the right washer for the job. Follow these tips to get the most out of your equipment and your project will get done right the first time.

To browse HSS Hire’s wide range of pressure washers for hire, please visit our website:

About the Author

Lauren King

Lauren works in our Ecommerce Team, with over 6 years of experience at HSS. She brings product knowledge and is able to give her advice on the right tool for the job no matter how big or small.

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