How to Use a Pressure Washer [Guide]

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Pressure washers are great for cleaning up messes around the garage, shop and deck. Read our intro and quick tips to learn more about how to use a pressure washer. 

Men using pressure washers in alley way

If you are a homeowner looking to take care of your deck, driveway, and house exterior (wood brick, hybrid i.e. hardiplank)  and find theses surfaces are often getting dirty a pressure washer may be what you need. These devices allow you to clean large areas, in short periods of time, but are not suitable for all surfaces. If you are looking to clean materials that are fragile (stucco, etc.) or have the potential to discolor from the pressure our team suggests using a regular hose. 

To help you get started we’ve taken the time to answer some of the top questions you may have about these tools and breakdown the key parts and functions of pressure washers to consider. I hope this helps you learn how to use a pressure washer properly, with all that said let’s get started!

How to Use a Pressure Washer

While you may be familiar with tools like a hammer or a saw, pressure washers may be a little bit more unknown but rest assured they are not hard to get the hang of. Commonly used for cleaning the side of your house, driveway, concrete and deck; pressure washers can be great for improving your efficiency – though they come with their own set of precautions and steps if you don’t want to harm anything you are washing.

First off, when using your washer you want to read it’s manual. This is important as we can describe basic steps for how to use a pressure washer but each model is different and can come with it’s own nuances.

Once you have familiarized yourself with your tool you can begin getting it set-up. This typically consists of putting together the washer, to do this you will need your garden hose, your pressure washer, and your water supply. Start by screwing the garden hose into the water supply valve and then the pressure washers threaded fitting. 

Once you have secured all those you can check that it’s gas is full or that it’s connected to electricity and get things underway. Now that your tool is prepped start by turning on the water by typically turning a value and turn on your machine.

Make sure you allow any excess air to escape from the hose and you should be good to go. You will want to test a small area of whatever you are washing when you are getting started out with your tool.

Now that you know how to use the tool, I wanted to take some time to cover other important areas. These will definitely be important if you do not already own one of these machines.

How to Pick a Pressure Washer

Picking a pressure washer can be a difficult task in itself. For starters there are a range of pressure washers to choose from, including small, at home units to professional powerhouses meant for industrial jobs. This makes knowing what you are going to use your tool for even more important. 

The most important factor most homeowners or contractors face is whether to rent or buy a unit, we hope our next section answers this for you.

To Rent or Buy A Pressure Washer?

It can be tough to choose whether to rent or buy a pressure washer if you do not already have one. We’ve outlined some things to consider below.


  • Consider how often you will need the washer. If you think you’ll only use it once every couple of years it may be worthwhile to consider the rental route. If you intend to use it a couple of times a year or in a professional capacity, purchasing one may be cheaper in the long run.


  • If you are low on funds renting a unit for a one-off cleaning can help you keep your costs down.


  • Don’t want the hassle of having to maintain a machine, then consider the rental route. If your consider yourself a handyman, no garage is complete until you have a pressure washer in your toolbox.

Pressure Washer vs Power Washer

You may hear people use these two terms to describe the same thing but despite the confusion they are not the same thing. While they share a lot in common, as they both use highly pressurized water to clean up things they differ in subtle ways. 

Power washing utilizes pressurized hot water to cut into dirty and clean your surface. They’re great when you have baked on dirty that’s been hard to remove with other methods.

Pressure washers utilize pressurized water, and do not take into consideration the temperature of the water. They are good for cleaning up your driveway and deck.

5 Tips to Get the Most out of Your Pressure Washer

To finish the article off we wanted to include some of our own personal tips and learning to help you get started.

  1. Make sure to never leave the pressure washer running in one spot – this helps prevent potential surface damage

  2. When using your pressure washer on a new area for the first time make sure to give it a test in an inconspicuous spot. This will help you not only learn what size nozzle you will need but will ensure any potential damage you could cause would be contained.

  3. Clean from bottom to top and rinse from top to bottom. This will help you keep track and ensure you remove any leftover cleaner, if you are using any.

  4. Avoid spraying near lights, electrical sockets and air conditioners. Being aware of your surroundings when using your machine will help you prevent any unintentional damage to expensive home equipment or electrical.

  5. Purchase multiple nozzles for your unit if it does not already come with a selection. This will give you the ability to adjust your washer to your desired width, an important factor when you are changing between surfaces.


Well that’s it, we hope this article gave you a thorough understanding of pressure washers and how to use them. If you have any questions or comments make sure to drop it in our comments section below and our team will do it’s best to get back to you!

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Ryan is a writer for He's been a hobbyist and painter for a long time, and now enjoys teaching others. His content primarly focuses on reviews and guides for painters and construction professionals.

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