There’s a lot more to using a pressure washer than just turning it on and blasting all the dirt away. Most people may not realize that there are really three different elements working to create an effective pressure washing process. The three elements are water (which includes temperature), pressure, and chemicals or detergents.
Water pressure is only one aspect you need to know about pressure washing. If you’ve ever used a pressure washer, you’re probably aware that they come with different tips. These tips have different fan widths or degrees which dissipate the water at different fan widths. Depending on the surface you’re washing, you’ll want to use different tips.
For concrete you’ll want to use something like a 15 degree tip, depending on the shape of concrete. 15 degrees is pretty direct and you always want to avoid spraying directly, especially towards or in any cracks already in the surface. For decks or wood fences, you’ll want to use a wider fan such as a 40 to 60 degree tip. If you use the wrong tip and too much pressure, you can actually splinter and completely ruin your deck or fence surface.
Pressure washer detergent is the chemical part of the process and is a huge part of making your washing job a success. Most would think that to clean off a driveway all you need is a pressure washer and some hot water. But remember something important about water and oil? They don’t mix! So, in order to really get your concrete or other surface clean, you’re going to need the right detergent specifically for the type of surface and grime that you’re cleaning.
Having the right detergent is especially important because many people think that if it looks clean, then it is clean. But this is not always the case. Like the green mildew you see on a privacy fence, once it’s hit with a pressure washer it can look as good as new, until the wood dries and you notice that the mildew is still there. You want to make sure you use something like oxygen bleach that will actually kill the mold and mildew.
The next time you rent a pressure washer, be sure you’re taking into consideration all three elements of the washing process – pressure, water, and detergents. By doing this, you’ll get the job done right without risking any damage to the surface, and will make sure that the area you clean actually gets clean.