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How to Use a Pressure Washer

Discover how to use a pressure washer with this helpful guide – it includes advice on safety, the surfaces you can clean and much more.



Everybody likes a clean, fresh-looking garden, but unfortunately there are just some parts of the garden that seem to be immune to traditional cleaning methods – most notably paving and decking, which can accumulate all manner of moss and dirt build-up over time. Pressure washers are the ideal solution, but using a pressure washer can be intimidating if you don’t know how! However, high pressure cleaning can be an invaluable method, especially on exterior surfaces.

If you’re looking forward to mouthwatering barbecues, al fresco lunches, and sitting under the stars this year, then here’s all you need to know about using a pressure washer.

To avoid streaks on your newly washed paving or decking, start by washing from the bottom and work up using long, overlapping strokes. Rinse using the same technique to achieve an even finish.

How to Use a Pressure Washer to Clean Decking

When it comes to using pressure washers, it all comes down to technique. Technique can mean the difference between a deck that sparkles like new, and one covered in debris. A pressure washer is a powerful piece of equipment, which is why it’s so good at its job – but this also means it can cause damage to your garden if used incorrectly. By following these simple tips, you can ensure your deck not only ends up looking amazing, but also remains intact.

  • First, make sure to read and follow the directions and safety guidelines for your particular pressure washer.

  • Before you start, move any plant pots, furniture, or other items from the deck, and from nearby areas. If they get hit with a direct stream, they will break.

  • Hold your hose in the correct position before turning the water on to avoid any nasty surprises. At first, your hose should be about 2 feet from the decking. You’ll be able to adjust this in areas that need more, or less, cleaning. Never get closer than 12 inches from the ground, or you could risk damaging your decking.

  • Always aim the hose of your pressure washer away from you. Ideally, you should try to aim at a 45-degree angle. This will give you a good, strong flow of water, while pushing the dirt and grime away from your feet. You may find it easier to direct all dirt into one area, which makes for a quicker clean up afterwards.

  • If you find some areas of your decking are particularly stubborn, don’t be afraid to use a bit of detergent. Be sure to follow the directions on the label, and test any product on a small, inconspicuous area first. Be sure not to use anything that contains a bleaching agent, as you could end up with whitened decking. Allow the detergent to soak in and soften any debris before using the hose to rinse it off.

How to Use a Pressure Washer Safely

Pressure washers are fun to use, but they can also be dangerous if not used correctly. Here are some tips to make sure you don’t get hurt when using a pressure washer:

  • Even if it’s a nice, hot, sunny day, always wear shoes when using a pressure washer. If the vigorous spray hits your feet, you’ll have one mighty bruise afterwards.

  • When we suggest wearing shoes, we mean sensible shoes – no high heels, no flip-flops, and no slippers. Rubber-soled shoes such as wellington boots are ideal because they reduce the risk of your feet slipping on the wet wood.

There’s no need to be afraid of high pressure cleaning – if used correctly, pressure washers are ideal for getting rid of stubborn stains on paving slabs and decking in the garden. If you know someone who has a machine, why not ask to borrow it and see for yourself?

Safety Warning

Always wear safety glasses when using a pressure washer. Don’t forget to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, too!

  • When high pressure cleaning, always wear goggles to prevent debris from flicking up into your eyes.

  • Do not allow a child to operate a pressure washer, as even though it looks like fun, pressure washers are powerful machines that can cause harm to your skin if not handled correctly.

  • Not all machines will work in the same way; so always follow the guidelines set out in the manufacturer’s manual.

Originally published