Seven Things Never to Do When Pressure Washing Your Home

Cleaning the exterior of your home can be a game-changer. It can transform a dull, drab exterior into a sparkling, curb-appealing delight. But as simple as it may seem, pressure washing is not a task to take lightly.

It requires knowledge, skill, and a keen eye for safety. In this guide, our SmartWash team explains the seven things you should never do when pressure washing.

1. Starting Without Proper Preparation

Always wear protective gear, clear the area of debris, and secure loose items. Be sure to clear the area of any loose items that could become projectiles under high pressure. This includes garden tools, children’s toys, and patio furniture.

Secure items that you can’t move to prevent them from being damaged or causing accidents.

Understanding the operation of the machine is also crucial. Read the user manual thoroughly and familiarize yourself with all the controls. If you’re renting a machine, don’t hesitate to ask the rental company to explain its operation. Stay aware of your surroundings while working, especially when working on ladders or near electrical lines.

2. Using Excess Pressure

Pressure washers are powerful machines, so you need to be especially careful when using them. Starting your pressure washer at the highest setting can lead to property damage and potential injury to yourself or others.

High-pressure water can strip paint, damage siding, and even etch concrete. It can also cause serious injuries if it comes into contact with the skin.

Instead, start at the lowest setting. This allows you to get a feel for the machine and see the effect of the water on the surface you’re cleaning. You can then gradually increase the pressure as needed, always being careful to avoid damage. Remember, the goal is to clean your surfaces, not to blast them with as much power as possible.

3. Ignoring Electrical Hazards

When planning for pressure washing it’s crucial to consider the potential electrical hazards that could pose a risk. Pressure washing around open electrical boxes, outdoor outlets, or loose electrical connections can lead to dangerous situations, including the risk of electrocution or electrical fires.

Before you begin pressure washing, conduct a thorough inspection of the area. Look for any electrical fixtures, including outdoor lighting, outlets, and electrical boxes. If you find any open or loose electrical connections, it’s essential to address these issues before you start. This might involve tightening connections, replacing damaged components, or even calling a professional electrician if the issues are beyond your skill level.

Even if everything appears to be in good condition, it’s still important to exercise caution around electrical fixtures when pressure washing. Avoid spraying water directly at electrical outlets or fixtures. If you need to clean around these areas, use a lower-pressure setting or clean by hand to minimize the risk.

Water and electricity are a dangerous combination. By taking the time to identify and address potential electrical hazards, you can ensure a safer pressure washing experience. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to mixing water with electricity.

4. Starting with a Tight Pattern 

When pressure washing, your technique can have a significant impact on the results. Starting with a tight pattern or focusing on small areas can lead to uneven cleaning and even damage your surfaces. Instead, pressure washing should begin with wide, even strokes. This approach helps distribute the pressure over a larger area, protecting your home’s finish and allowing you to adjust to the machine’s power.

When working, move the spray in a consistent, overlapping pattern, maintaining a constant distance from the surface. Avoid swinging the spray in an arc, as this can result in an uneven clean, with the middle areas receiving more pressure than the edges. With the right technique, you can effectively clean your surfaces without causing unnecessary damage.

5. Blasting Directly into Corners

Corners can be tricky when pressure washing. Directing a high-pressure stream into corners can cause water to rebound toward you, potentially causing injury or soaking you in the process. It can also lead to damage to your siding or masonry, as the water can get behind the material and cause it to loosen or crack.

Instead, clean each side of the corner separately with slow, even strokes. Start at the top and work your way down, allowing the dirt and water to flow downwards. By treating each side of the corner as a separate surface, you can clean effectively without causing damage or putting yourself at risk.

6. Using Water Only

A common misconception about pressure washing is that water alone is enough to do the job. In reality, a mix of cleaning solution and tap water often yields the best results. The cleaning solution helps to break down dirt, mold, and mildew, making it easier for the high-pressure water to remove them.

Most pressure washers have a reservoir for a cleaning solution and will mix it with the water at a set ratio. Choose a cleaning solution suitable for the surface you’re cleaning, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results. Remember that the goal of pressure washing is not just to remove loose dirt but to

7. Cleaning Windows First

It might seem logical to clean your windows before pressure washing your home, but this can lead to double work. Since pressure washing can get spray and debris on your windows, it’s best to clean them after you’ve finished pressure washing.

SmartWash: Your Partner in Professional Pressure Washing in Knoxville and Surrounding Areas

Pressure washing your home in Knoxville, TN, is a task that requires knowledge, skill, and a keen eye for safety. At SmartWash, we understand the intricacies of professional pressure washing service and are committed to delivering top-notch services.

Whether it’s storefront sidewalk cleaning, enhancing curb appeal, or weed and crack prevention, we’ve got you covered.

Ready to transform your home with exterior cleaning services? Give us a call at (865) 205-2958 to schedule pressure washing.