For the DIYers out there that like to complete home projects on their own, pressure washing often comes to mind as you don’t need a lot of equipment or know-how to get started. Surprisingly, homeowners can get similar results to a professional cleaning with just 9 essential tools for the job. The only difference? It takes forever. A job that takes a whole day for a professional team of exterior cleaners can take one avid DIYer one or two whole weekends. For those that want to get it done their way, here are the 9 things you need to clean everything on your property.
First and foremost is the pressure washer. Stop by your local big box store and grab a gas pressure washer with the highest gallons-per-minute (GPM) you can find, as this is what allows you to clean faster and shoot water and chemical onto second and third story effectively. These GPM values are usually 2.5-4, and we do not recommend going over 4 for homeowner use. The pressure washer should come with a wand, pressure hose, a chemical hose, and engine oil. Get set up following the manufacturer’s instructions and get rolling.
Pressure washers always come with 25-50 feet of high pressure 3/8 hose. We recommend having at least a total of 100 feet of pressure hose for residential projects. This will get you around most, if not all, of your property without having to move from water outlet to water outlet. For quality of life, we recommend adding an inline swivel to keep your hose from tangling up, as well as stainless steel quick connect fittings.
Just like the pressure hose length, we recommend 100 feet of garden hose. This gives you a total of 200 feet of hose which allows you to wrap around most houses. For peace of mind, get a cheap hose reel from a big box store to quickly unroll your hose to full length, and to keep it tidy when you are ready to have it stored.
Personal Protective Equipment
Your safety is the number one priority in any pressure washing project. Personal protective equipment (PPE) should include waterproof shoes, long sleeve shirt, pants, waterproof gloves, protective eyewear, a hat, and a respirator.
The chemical side of pressure washing can get tricky – from dilution ratios, acids vs bases, surfactants, and so much more, it is best to stick to the big box store pre-made house washes and driveway cleaners until you dive into anything harsher. Check the pressure washing equipment section and choose from a variety of exterior cleaners. Cleaning vinyl, concrete, brick, etc. requires different strengths of the primary chemicals pressure washing companies use, and we do not recommend homeowners attempt to use anything other than big box store chemicals without doing extensive research.
Long Range Soap Nozzle
Residential pressure washers come with a fan tip soaping nozzle that allows you to clean flatwork and most one-story homes. You can clean a two-story home with a fan tip nozzle using a ladder, but we do not recommend homeowners attempt this without an extra hand stabilizing the ladder. This is where the long range soap nozzle saves you. Rather than spraying a fan shape onto the surface, the long range tip shoots a stream of cleaner 2-3 stories high, depending on wind conditions and pressure washer strength.
A large mixing bucket is essential to any pressure washing project. Carrying one container will let you move much faster than having to carry around multiple containers of cleaner with you. We recommend getting 1 or 2 five-gallon painter’s buckets – make sure they come with a lid and handle so you don’t spill any detergents while moving the buckets.
A surface cleaner is a professional pressure washer’s best friend when it comes to concrete. Using a wand with an angled tip may seem efficient in theory, but spraying in an even pattern without leaving unsightly streaks is difficult to do quickly and will take what feels like a decade. A surface cleaner exponentially speeds up this process for lightning fast results. We recommend getting a surface cleaner that has a diameter between 12-16 inches. If you have a machine that is rated at 3 GPM or less, we recommend a 12 inch surface cleaner. If you have a 4 GPM machine, you can use a 16 inch diameter effectively. Having too large a surface cleaner for your pressure washer can leave streaks that will only be fixed with either pressure washing the entire area over again, or treating the area with a biocidal chemical and letting it sit to dry.
Fuel and Oil
The most important step (after reading the instruction manual) to getting your power washer up and running is fuel! Grab you largest gas canister and head to the fuel station to grab some ethanol free gasoline. Top off your pressure washer’s fuel tank and get the correct oil at an appropriate level. Make sure you do not leave gasoline to sit in the pressure washer’s fuel tank for an extended time as this can cause mechanical issues due to fuel degradation. Change the oil frequently – a common recommendation is every 25-50 hours of use. We stay on the safer side and recommend the more frequent option.
With the information in this article, we believe an avid homeowner can soft wash and pressure wash their entire property with a pressure washer and the right equipment and chemicals. If you would rather sit back and have professionals take care of your project at a much quicker pace, reach out to the top-rated professionals at Mount Pleasant Pressure Washing. We pride ourselves on using the most up-to-date in pressure washing technology, chemicals, and best management practices. We can expedite the process for you – a project that takes a homeowner 1-2 days takes us about 4-5 hours. Save yourself a weekend with your family and let us tackle your project; you can reach out to us by call, text, email or by using our intake form at the main page of our website.