Top 10 Pressure Washing Mistakes to Avoid


pressure washing

Top 10 Pressure Washing Mistakes to Avoid

Pressure washing mistakes are very easy to make and can cause a lot of unintended damage to your home. While pressure washing can be a satisfying and efficient way to clean outdoor surfaces, it’s not as simple as just pointing the high-pressure water spray and blasting away dirt and grime. It entails a lot of precision and technicality as any mistake can get you or others injured. Surfaces can also be damaged as a result. 

Pressure washing involves the use of a high-pressure water spray to remove dirt, grime, stains, and other unwanted substances from surfaces such as buildings, vehicles, sidewalks, driveways, and decks. So, it is important to take precautions and avoid any costly mistakes that can put you, your loved ones, or your property in harm’s way. 

And so, we will discuss the top 10 pressure washing mistakes to avoid. Whether you’re a DIY (Do it yourself) enthusiast or just a beginner, it’s essential to be aware of these mistakes. And we hope it will help ensure that your cleaning efforts are effective and safe.

Don’t let pressure washing mistakes leave you feeling like you’ve just washed your home with a fire hose! Let MidSouth handle the job. Our goal is to offer every customer a complete and thorough cleaning experience, from the start of the job to the very end. Trust us, we’ve seen it all. Contact us today and let’s give your home the cleaning it deserves.

The Top 10 Pressure Washing Mistakes to Avoid

By steering clear of these common pitfalls, you can ensure your pressure washing efforts are effective, efficient, and safe. So let’s dive in!

Lack of Preparation

Pressure washing is not something you do out of the blue. You’ve to take your time to prepare for it. Adequate preparation not only ensures that the cleaning process goes smoothly but also helps to prevent damage to your property and keep you safe. Without proper preparation, you risk damaging surfaces and even environmental harm.

Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing for Pressure Washing

  • Failing to clear the area before pressure washing. 
  • Using the wrong cleaning solution, or failing to use one altogether. 
  • Not protecting yourself.

Tips for Proper Preparation

  • Remove any furniture, objects, or debris that could be damaged or cause damage during pressure washing.
  • Select a cleaning solution appropriate for the surface you’re cleaning and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Wear appropriate clothing, eyewear, and footwear, and maintain a safe distance from the surface being cleaned.
  • Inspect the pressure washer for any damage, leaks, or issues before starting.
  • Perform a test run in a small, inconspicuous area to ensure that the pressure and cleaning solution is appropriate for the surface.

Using the Wrong Pressure

Pressure settings are a crucial factor in successful pressure washing. It determines the force of the water stream and can affect the cleaning efficiency. Different surfaces and materials require different pressure settings to avoid damage.

Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Pressure Setting

One of the most common mistakes people make when using a pressure washer is using the wrong pressure setting. Using too high a pressure can damage surfaces or strip paint while using too low a pressure may not effectively clean the surface. 

Another mistake to avoid is failing to adjust the pressure setting according to the surface being cleaned, as different surfaces require different pressures.

Tips For Selecting The Right Pressure Setting

To select the right pressure setting, start with the lowest pressure setting and increase gradually until you find the pressure that effectively removes dirt and grime without causing damage. It’s also important to consider the surface you’re cleaning, as more delicate surfaces such as wood or asphalt shingles may require a lower pressure setting.

Improper Use of Chemicals

Chemicals can be a valuable tool in pressure washing, helping to break down tough stains and grime. Proper use of chemicals can also help protect the surface and make the pressure washing process more efficient. However, it’s important to use them properly. Improper use can cause skin and eye irritation, as well as respiratory problems if inhaled.

Mistakes to Avoid When Using Chemicals

The biggest mistake to avoid when using chemicals is using the wrong type or concentration of chemical for the surface being cleaned. This can lead to damage or discoloration of the surface, as well as potential harm to the person using the pressure washer.

Additionally, not following the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing and applying the chemicals can result in improper use and potentially harmful consequences.

Tips for Proper Chemical Use

  • Make sure to use the appropriate solution for the surface type. 
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the chemical, including the recommended amount to use and how long to let it sit on the surface before rinsing
  • Rinsing the surface thoroughly after using chemicals.This will help avoid any residue or damage.
  • Be sure to wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and eyewear, when handling chemicals, and dispose of any excess solution properly.

Focusing on One Spot Too Long

It sounds like a good idea, but it is a bad pressure watching practice. Focusing the pressure washer on one spot for an extended period of time can harm the surface you’re washing. The high-pressure water stream has the power to erode or strip away surface material, resulting in permanent damage or discoloration. This is particularly true for softer materials.

Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Holding the nozzle too close to the surface.
  2. Using too much pressure when cleaning.

Tips for Avoiding Focusing on One Spot Too Long

  • Keep the nozzle at a safe distance from the surface being cleaned and keep it moving in a sweeping motion. This will ensure that the pressure is distributed evenly across the surface and will prevent damage from concentrated streams of water.
  • Also, avoid using high pressure on delicate materials.
  • If necessary, use a cleaning solution to help break down tough stains, rather than relying on high-pressure water alone

Using Hot Water on Delicate Surfaces

Hot water can be beneficial for pressure washing as it can help to break down dirt and grime more effectively than cold water. This is because hot water has higher kinetic energy, and extra space between its molecules, and is more compatible with detergents, making them more efficient at breaking down and dissolving dirt and grime. However, hot water can also cause damage to delicate surfaces if not used properly.

Mistakes to Avoid When Using Hot Water on Delicate Surfaces

  • Using hot water on surfaces that are not designed to handle high temperatures. 
  • Using hot water on painted surfaces, as it can cause the paint to blister or peel.

Tips for Avoiding Hot Water Damage

  • To avoid hot water damage, it is important to check the manufacturer’s instructions for the surface being cleaned to determine the appropriate temperature range.
  • If the surface is not designed to handle hot water, use cold water instead.
  • If using hot water, start with a low temperature and gradually increase if necessary.

Lack of Protective Gear

Protective gear is important when using a pressure washer to avoid injury and potential hazards. It is essential to wear proper protective gear to avoid injury from flying debris or water spray, chemicals, and high-pressure streams of water.

Mistakes to Avoid When Wearing Protective Gear

  • Not wearing the right type of protective gear for the job. Different jobs may require different types of protective gear, such as chemical-resistant gloves, steel-toed boots, or a full-face mask respirator.
  • Wearing protective gear that is too loose or too tight. Loose-fitting gear can get caught in the pressure washer, while tight-fitting gear can restrict your movement and cause discomfort.
  • Not properly maintaining or replacing your protective gear. Protective gear can become worn, damaged, or lose its effectiveness over time, so it’s important to inspect it regularly and replace it when necessary.
  • Removing your protective gear too soon. You should keep your protective gear on until you are finished using the pressure washer and have cleaned up the work area.

Tips for Proper Protective Gear Use

To properly use protective gear, wear gloves, goggles, long-sleeved shirts, and pants to protect your skin from the high-pressure water and debris. It’s also important to wear slip-resistant shoes or boots to prevent slips and falls. 

If you are operating a pressure washer for an extended period, wear ear protection to avoid hearing damage. In addition, make sure that your protective gear is the appropriate size and properly fitted to ensure maximum protection. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid directing the spray toward other people or animals.

Not Rinsing Thoroughly

Rinsing is an essential part of pressure washing that involves spraying clean water over the surface to remove any remaining dirt, debris, or cleaning solution. Failure to rinse can leave behind streaks, and stains that can damage or discolor the surface.

Mistakes to Avoid When Rinsing

The following are pressure washing mistakes to avoid when rinsing.

  • Not rinsing evenly.
  • Rushing through the rinsing process.
  • Not using enough water to rinse properly.
  • Not rinsing hard-to-reach areas or corners. This can result in buildup and damage over time.

Tips for Proper Rinsing

To properly rinse a surface after pressure washing, use a wide fan tip nozzle and start from the top and work your way down. Use a smooth and even motion, keeping the nozzle at a consistent distance from the surface. Take your time and overlap each pass to ensure even coverage. Make sure to thoroughly rinse away all cleaning solutions and debris, and check for any missed spots.

Overlooking Maintenance

This is a common pressure washing mistake and it can result in equipment failure and costly repairs. Proper maintenance of your pressure washer is essential to keep it in good working order and extend its lifespan. Neglecting maintenance can result in clogged nozzles, leaks, and other issues that can affect the quality of your cleaning.

Mistakes To Avoid

  • Failing to inspect the equipment before each use.
  • Neglecting to clean the equipment after each use. This can cause the buildup of dirt and debris, which can lead to rust and corrosion.
  • Ignoring the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. 

Tips For Proper Maintenance

Proper maintenance includes regular cleaning, lubrication, and replacement of worn parts such as hoses and nozzles. It is also important to keep the equipment stored in a dry, temperature-controlled environment to prevent rust and corrosion.
To ensure proper maintenance, it is recommended to keep a log of all maintenance activities and inspections. This helps to ensure that all necessary maintenance is being performed at the appropriate intervals and can also aid in identifying any recurring issues that may require further attention.

Neglecting Professional Help

While the DIY (Do it yourself) concept can be an eye-opening experience, sometimes you just have to let professionals like Mid South do your pressure washing. Or you can simply consult our professionals before venturing into pressure washing your home.
Our professionals have the knowledge and experience to handle different types of surfaces and stains without causing any damage to your property. Moreso, they have access to specialized equipment and cleaning agents that you might not have access to. And here comes the issue of convenience, Mid South Professionals can save you time and effort, as they can complete the job quickly and efficiently. 

Mistakes to Avoid When Seeking Professional Help

  • Not doing research.
  • Not getting a quote.
  • Not asking for references.
  • Not discussing the scope of work.
  • Not verifying insurance and licensing.

Tips for Seeking Professional Help

  • Do your research and choose a reputable company with highly experienced experts.
  • Look for companies that are licensed and insured, as this will protect you in case of any accidents or damage. 
  • Ask for references and check online reviews to get an idea of the company’s reputation.
  • Make sure to discuss your needs and expectations, and ask for a detailed estimate of the costs involved. 
  • Be present during the pressure washing process to ensure that the job is done to your satisfaction. And ask necessary questions. 

Underestimating the Power of Pressure Washing Equipment

Pressure washing equipment is designed to produce a high-pressure stream of water that can be used to blast away dirt from a variety of surfaces. The pressure generated by a pressure washer can range from 750 to 4,000 psi or higher, depending on the model and the type of nozzle used. This high-pressure stream of water can be incredibly powerful and can easily get you injured or damage your property if not used correctly.

Mistakes To Avoid

  • Holding the nozzle too close to the surface.
  • Using the wrong nozzle.
  • Neglecting safety precautions.

Tips For Handling Pressure Washing Equipment Safely And Effectively

  1. Always read the user manual before using the pressure washer. The manual will contain important safety information and instructions for proper use.
  2. Make sure to use the right nozzle for the task at hand. Different nozzles are designed for different pressure settings and spray patterns.
  3. Always keep a safe distance between the nozzle and the surface you are cleaning. A distance of at least one foot is recommended.
  4. Before starting to pressure wash a large area, test a small area first to make sure you are using the correct pressure and nozzle.
  5. Always wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves, safety glasses, and non-slip shoes.

Final Thoughts!

Pressure washing can be a great way to clean a variety of surfaces around your home or business, but it can also be dangerous if not done correctly. Avoiding common mistakes like those outlined above can help prevent damage to property or injury to yourself or others. 

It’s important to take the time to properly educate yourself on the equipment and techniques involved and to always prioritize your safety and that of others around you.
However, If you’re unsure about how to properly use a pressure washer or you need help with a particularly challenging cleaning project, it’s always a good idea to seek help from our professionals. They have the experience and equipment necessary to get the job done safely and effectively and can provide valuable guidance on how to maintain your property and avoid future mistakes.

Are you making pressure washing mistakes that are leaving your home’s siding looking worse than before? Don’t sweat it, we won’t judge. Leave it to our experts and avoid making a mess of your home. So put down that pressure washer, and call us today


What is the best pressure washer for residential use?

The best pressure washer for residential use will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Consider factors such as PSI and GPM, power source, portability, and accessories when choosing a pressure washer. Popular options for residential pressure washers include the Sun Joe SPX3000, the Karcher K5 Premium Electric Pressure Washer, and the Generac 7019 OneWash Gas Powered Pressure Washer. However, take your time to research and compare different models to find the one that best fits your needs and budget.

Can pressure washing damage my home?

Yes, pressure washing mistakes as outlined in this article can cause damage to your home. Surfaces such as wood, vinyl, stucco, and brick can be damaged by high-pressure water streams. It can cause cracks, chips, and other forms of damage. Using the incorrect nozzle or technique can also result in damage such as peeling paint, etching concrete, or causing water to seep into walls or other areas where mold can develop.

Is it safe to pressure wash a roof?

Pressure washing is an excellent method for removing stains from surfaces such as brick, block, stone, and masonry. However, pressure washing is not usually suggested for cleaning rooftops. A pressure washer is a powerful piece of equipment that can damage your roof as well as penetrate through any small possible cracks or holes in the roof, causing water damage to your home. Using low pressure with the correct roof cleaning solution is a safe and better option.

Can I pressure wash my car?

Pressure washing a car can be safe, but it’s essential to be cautious and use the correct techniques. Making pressure washing mistakes can potentially damage your car. Using excessive pressure, incorrect techniques, or the wrong nozzle can cause damage to the car’s paint, windows, and other surfaces. 

How often should I pressure wash my home’s exterior?

The frequency with which you should pressure wash your home’s exterior depends on various factors, such as your location, weather conditions, and the amount of dirt, debris, and other contaminants that accumulate on your home’s surfaces. As a general rule, it’s recommended to pressure wash your home’s exterior once a year. However, if you live in an area with high humidity, frequent rain, or lots of trees, you may need to pressure wash more often. Additionally, if you notice dirt, stains, or discoloration on your home’s exterior surfaces, it may be time to pressure wash.

Can pressure washing remove graffiti?

Yes, pressure washing can be an effective way to remove graffiti from surfaces such as walls, sidewalks, and buildings. However, the success of pressure washing for graffiti removal depends on various factors such as the type of surface, the type of graffiti, and the pressure washing equipment used. To remove most graffiti off your property using a power washer, you must use a pressure washer capable of applying pressures of around 2000 PSI, especially on concrete surfaces. However, in cases involving delicate bricks or masonry, the pressure should be kept below 500 PSI to avoid damage to the surface.

Is it safe to pressure wash near electrical outlets or fixtures?

No, it is not safe to pressure wash near electrical outlets or fixtures. Water and electricity can be a dangerous combination, and pressure washing near electrical outlets or fixtures can cause electric shocks or even electrocution. If you need to pressure wash near electrical outlets or fixtures, it’s essential to take the necessary safety precautions.