Optimal Pressure Washer Solutions for Every Cleaning Need

The two best ways for speeding up the pressure cleaning process with a pressure washer are cleaner solutions and hot water instead of no soap and cold water. 

Science 101: hot water has more energy to push grime and dirt off the surface. And the soap has attractive forces that, with hot water, pull and clean oil and grime.

When using a pressure washer, you can speed up the cleaning process by adding the best pressure washer soap and other cleaning solutions.

Using pressure washer detergent will make the cleaning job much easier even if you are not using a hot water power washer.

There are certain things you need to know before you start pressure washing with soap, detergent, or some other power washer cleaner solutions. Keep reading to learn about the potential risks and hazards for environmentally friendly cleaning with a pressure washer. Additionally, check out these amazing pressure washers for house cleaning.

Difference Between Soap and Detergent

Soap is a type of detergent that has natural products such as oil from animals and plants. The raw material is combined with salts after being processed with steam to give fatty acids and glycerine which gives soap.

The liquid soap uses potassium as the salt and bar soap uses sodium as the salt.

The power washer soaps, at a microscopic level, when combined with water are able to dissolve and break down the tough dirt, grime, or stains you want to clean.

On the other hand, detergents are artificially made from chemicals instead of natural oils and fats. Detergents are usually used for general cleaning.

Soap or Detergent for Pressure Washing

As soap has natural components with biodegradable formula and can be washed away through storm drains without worry. Whereas, you can’t use pressure washer soap with untreated water such as collected rain water as it is hard water. Soap forms calcium carbonate solid which is not very eco friendly.

You will not face this problem with detergents. You can find pressure washer detergent especially formulated for specific washable surfaces such as concrete walkways, cars, floors, walls, wood, metal surfaces and awnings.

Synthetic detergents and natural soaps are combined to make effective pressure washer cleaning solutions.

You can make your own detergent for pressure washing but mixing different chemicals. Regular soaps like dishes, laundry detergent powder and household cleaners cannot withstand the power of a power washer spray. Pressure washers require specially formulated soaps and detergents to work efficiently. 

Working of Pressure Washer Soap Injector, Nozzle, and Dispenser

Pressure washer soaps or detergents can be added to the water flow in the pressure washer, before or after the pump.

Only a few chemicals can pass through the pump of the pressure washer so adding the soap detergent presents you with more options.

The downstream pressure washer soap injectors (the one that are added after the pump) are used with a soap nozzle. The nozzle allows the siphoning of the detergent solution from the onboard detergent tank into the pressure hose for application.

Detergent, Soap, Chemicals and Cleaning Solutions for Residential and Professional Pressure Washers

The major difference between cleaning chemicals for professional and residential pressure washers is that professionals buy the concentrated chemicals in bulk to save money and do the mixing themselves.

Whereas, the homeowners who use pressure washers buy one can of pre-mixed detergent according to their need. For this pre mixed chemical, you end up paying more money per gallon.

Homemade pressure washer detergent may save you some money and allow you to have more control over how much you spend and you are more aware of the ingredients you use. However, it is not recommendable that you own pressure washer soap because of certain reasons. Firstly, there are many great quality detergents in the market. Secondly, you need different types of pressure washer detergent for different kinds of stains. Furthermore, check out this amazing guide about presser washer nozzles.

Chemicals Used in Pressure Washer Detergent and Soap

The pressure washer chemicals for cleaning are labelled by their manufacturers according to their intended purpose and recommended surface. Make sure to read chemical labels and MSDs sheets before using a detergent with a pressure washer.

You can find cleaners to remove dirt and grime, disinfectants for exterminating vermin, and sanitizers to kill bacteria quickly.

The other chemicals used in soap and detergent are:


It is one of the most commonly used pressure washer chemicals. It works great for cleaning stainless steel and common glass.


Bleach is made of sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite which works as an aggressive sanitizer and disinfectant. It is an important component in cleaning products but it is not very eco friendly.

Citric Acid

It is efficient in cleaning stains especially on wood decks and concrete driveways.

Oxalic Acid

Works as rust removal and other cleaning.

Potassium Hydroxide

Used in soft or liquid soap. It is often used in laundry detergent

Sodium Hydroxide

Also called caustic. It is one of the most important pressure washer chemicals. It is effective against removing fats, grease and is an ideal degreaser for steel and glass.

Sodium Hypochlorite

Removes stains and works as a powerful disinfectant.


Perfect for cleaning countertops, windows, and polishing of pretty much any surface from bronze heirlooms to brass door handles.

Things to Keep in Mind While Washing Different Surfaces

There are certain things you need to keep in mind while cleaning different surfaces with a pressure washer. 

  1. It is safer to use a very low pressure while cleaning windows and glass doors.
  2. Keep windows and doors closed while pressure washing the walls.
  3. Wipe the windows afterwards to prevent them from getting streak marks.
  4. For killing mold and mildew and preventing them from returning, you might need bleach.
  5. Be careful on the porous surfaces while using bleach unless you like the splattered bleach effect as bleach in the pressure washer will atomize it and turn it into a mist.

Mixing of Cleaning Solution to Pressure Wash Different Types of Stains 

All stains are not the same. Some are more stubborn than others and require extra effort to remove even when you are using a pressure washer. When it comes to finding the right cleaning solution for your pressure washer cleaning job, it can be difficult to decide which one to choose. What kind of cleaning solution do you need to get rid of tough stains?

The type of pressure washer detergent that is right for the job depends on what surface you want to clean. This helps you decide which pressure washer cleaning solutions you should use.

Here are different kinds of cleaning solutions to be used with pressure washers for cleaning of stains. Moreover, discover this awesome guide about the pressure wash a pool and spa.

Stains On Wood Deck

Cleaning a deck requires a lot of care because if anything goes wrong, you can end up messing the stain and tearing the wood with pressure washer spray.

But if you know what you are doing, a solution for cleaning a deck can be quite easy and simple.

Here are the steps for cleaning and revitalizing your deck with a pressure washer.

  1. Clear the deck by removing all the items. This will ensure you don’t break something accidentally while pressure washing.
  2. Sweep away the debris, dirt or branches with your  pressure washer so that you can easily see the stain.
  3. Apply a deck cleaner with your pressure washer following the manufacturer’s instructions. Spray the water in long, overlapping strokes to ensure you don’t miss anything.
  4. Use a stiff scrub brush to work in the cleaner. This way you will be able to clean between tight railings and corners. 
  5. Wait for the detergent to sit in but don’t let it dry.
  6. Attach the widest water spray nozzle and gently rinse the deck with your pressure washer. Go along the grain of the wood and avoid getting a nozzle too close to the deck to avoid damaging your wood.
  7. If needed, reapply a protective woodstain. You don’t have to do it after every wash, but you should still do it fairly regularly.

Cleaning a wood deck might be labor-intensive but the results make it completely worth the effort. 

Make sure to follow the instructions to clean your deck effectively without damaging or tearing the wood. Additionally, check out these amazing ultrasonic cleaners for suppressors.

Also, wear protective gear and keep your distance while washing the deck with a high pressure spray. Being too hasty or exuberant can be costly as you can end up damaging the deck.

Stains on Concrete Surfaces

Concrete catches dirt quickly and starts to look shabby after a week or so. You might have to wash the concrete surface every week to keep it clean. The best pressure washer with good water pressure spray is most suitable for this job.

Grease from cars and oil spots make concrete one of the hardest surfaces to clean. Often, just rinsing with a garden hose will not be enough.

With a simple power washer soap solution, you will easily be able to take out any kind of stain from the concrete surface.

Here is how you can make a cleaning solution for concrete at home.

  1. Mix ½ cup of washing soda with ½ cup of Borax.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap.
  3. And mix this solution with one gallon of water.

Here are the steps to clean your concrete effectively within no time. 

  1. If you are working in a huge area, you might have to work in sections.
  2. Rinse and apply soap on the first section and let it sit for 8-10 minutes. However, make sure it doesn’t dry up.
  3. If it starts to dry before ten minutes, you can spray it again to wet the surface. It is important that you allow the detergent enough time to work its magic and remove the stain.
  4. Switch to a high pressure spray nozzle and sweep the cleaning detergent off in consistent motions to prevent left behind streaks.
  5. Make sure you don’t miss any spots while spraying the surface.
  6. You might want to spray on the stain with higher pressure or for a longer time to have them thoroughly clean.

Make sure you don’t haste this project. If you rush it, you will run the risk of leaving spots behind. The cleaning will look pointless as it will give the surface new stains. Therefore, it is advisable that you give the job enough time.

Washing Your Car

Power washing your car needs a lot of care and vigilance as a small mistake can leave you with damaged paint on the car. However, as long as you are using the right setting and correct cleaning solution, you have nothing to worry about.

Set your pressure washer to the right settings to avoid any kind of damage. 

For safe effective vehicle wash safely, adjust your pressure washer at the setting of 1200-1900 PSI and GPM of 1.4-1.6. Electric pressure washer is more suitable for this job than a gas pressure washer. 

Use a  25 degree green tip for a pre-wash rinse and use a 40 degree white tip for rinsing off detergent. Park your car in some open space and make sure there is no other car or object in that area that can hinder your movement. A concrete driveway is a good place for car wash. Rinse the tyres as well as the whole body of your car.

Once you have thoroughly rinsed the car, use the cleaning solution to soap up your car.

Making a DIY pressure washer detergent to clean a car is fairly easy and simple. 

Take half a cup of sudsy ammonia and add one teaspoon of dish soap. Add a gallon of hot water and mix them together well.

Use this solution to clean your car. After applying a layer of this cleaning solution on the car, wait for it to sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing it off. Dry your car with a towel to prevent any water spots.

Test your pressure washer spray by squeezing the trigger while pointing it towards concrete before you start spraying it on the car. This way you will be able to prevent any kind of damage to your car due to high pressure spray.

Be careful while spraying on the more fragile parts of your car, such as rear view mirrors, lights and wind shield. You can end up damaging them if you spray water on them at a wrong angle.

If you are careful while pressure washing your car, you will have no trouble when using a cleaning solution with a pressure washer to wash your car.

Cleaning Stains on Siding

Sidings are made with a variety of materials. Most of them are fragile, hence difficult to clean.

Pressure washers may make this task easier and quicker but you have to keep certain things in mind while using it.

Different types of siding materials need different cleaning solutions for effective cleaning.

When washing vertical surfaces like siding, start applying soap from the bottom and work upward. Then rinse from the top down manner. Avoid spraying up into siding to prevent driving water underneath the surface and dislodging the paneling. Follow these steps for pressure washer cleaning for wood siding.

  1. Close all the doors and windows on the exterior of your house.
  2. Set your pressure washer at 2000 PSI and adjust it to the output of 304 gallons per minute.
  3. Attach a 40 degree, low pressure nozzle to wash the wood siding.
  4. To clean tough stains, you can use a 25 degree green nozzle.
  5. Use your own pressure washer detergent made from a mixture of bleach and water to remove mold and mildew. 

For vinyl siding, you have a variety of options in DIY pressure washer detergent.

  1. Mix ⅓ cup of phosphate-free laundry detergent powder with ⅔ cup of powdered household cleanser.
  2. Add ¼ cup of liquid laundry bleach.
  3. Add one gallon of water to the mixture to get the solution ready.

This eco-friendly homemade pressure washer detergent can be used for sensitive areas like gardens, plant pots, patio furniture and other areas with organic materials. These non toxic formulas do not harm plants in any way.

Here are some useful tips to use this solution with a pressure washer.

  1. To remove mildew on vinyl siding, use a solution of 1 part liquid bleach to 9 parts warm water before power washing.
  2. You can also use white vinegar to remove mildew.
  3. Spray the solution on the siding using a 40 degree low pressure spray pattern.
  4. Let the solution sit for about 10 minutes.
  5. Rinse it thoroughly.

These homemade pressure washer detergent solutions will not only help you save money but they are also environmentally friendly. They contain no ammonia or petroleum solvents which makes them safe for the environment.

Regardless of the kind of siding, you need to keep certain things in mind while pressure washing them.

Spray the water while pointing the nozzle directly to the siding but at the doors and windows.

If you are not careful enough, you might end up damaging both the inside as well as the outside of your house as the washer stream makes its way between the cracks.

You can close the cracks in the siding before you begin to power wash to make it safer.

Washing siding can be hard if you are not a professional, so make sure to be cautious while using the solution.