How To Use A Pressure Washer For Cleaning Your Car
There is no question on a pressure washer’s capability to clean different surfaces fast and easy. It usually cuts the washing time by half or even more. And the result is even better, if not as good as the traditional water-bucket-shampoo combo.
The question is: Can you use it to clean your car? Is it safe?
The quick answer is yes, but you need to follow safety rules to make sure no mishaps will happen. If you do it wrong, you could end up chipping the paint, damaging the tires, or soaking the interior. Using the wrong nozzle and aiming it wrongly can damage some parts of your vehicle. This is why you need to clearly understand the best practices for using a pressure washer before you even turn it on.
Benefits Of Using A Pressure Washer For Your Car
Both gas-powered or electric pressure washers can be used to wash your car. A pressure washer produces a pressurized jet of water that effectively loosens up even the most deep-seated dirt. The result – the water blasted away grime and mud quickly and with minimum effort. The multiple types of nozzles dictate how intense the pressure will be.
Check out this nozzle color-coded guide:
- Red – 0 degrees: extreme pressure, never use for your car!
- Yellow – 15 degrees: Good for removing stuck-on mud on some areas
- Green – 25 degrees: Good for all-around cleaning; start cleaning using this nozzle to remove mud and stubborn dirt
- White – 40 degrees: Good for rinsing
- Black – 65 degree: Good for spreading soap for maximum coverage
To emphasize: NEVER USE RED NOZZLE for your car. Use YELLOW nozzle with care, do not aim it on soft or fragile parts.
Using a pressure spray takes out the soap completely. When attached to a foam cannon, you can apply a liberal amount of super thick suds for better lubrication. A pressure washer works great against brake dust, mud, and even hardened bird droppings that are so nasty to look at.
Risks Of Using Pressure Washer For Cars
A pressure washer is not the only solution to cleaning cars. Yes, it has many advantages, but it poses some risks, including:
Chipping paint: Professional home cleaners use power washing sprayers to remove spray paint or graffiti from the walls and fences. This gives you an idea of what intense pressure can do against a car’s paint.
Scratching: The pressure washer gives you a false assurance that since it’s so good at removing soap, you’ll forget to rinse it thoroughly. The result – you’ll see scratching and marring when the soap dries up.
Using the wrong setting: It’s crucial to use the correct settings and equipment to achieve the best result and avoid any accident. Reading the manual and understanding illustrated checklist is vital to ensure you and your car’s safety. Using a pressure washer is no rocket science, but common sense and understanding will go a long way to lessen issues.
Do’s And Don’ts In Pressure Washing
The best way to learn how to learn using the machine is to read the gas-powered or electric pressure washing guide. No matter what type of sprayer you have, these do’s and don’ts apply:
- Use the right cleaning brush. A brush with stiff bristles can scratch the paint of your car.
- Use a sprayer that can multitask. It’s a great help if your pressure washer is good in pre-washing, distributing detergent, and rinsing the car thoroughly.
- Park the car somewhere near a power outlet that is reachable by the pressure washer cord. This will prevent the machine from getting unplugged often while you’re washing your vehicle.
- Use the suitable detergent and quantity. Refer to the user’s manual for the recommended car shampoo.
- Wear closed-toed shoes to protect your feet from accidents.
- Use the proper nozzle that can produce a 1200 – 1900 PSI water pressure. Anything more powerful than this may cause damage to the car.
- Make sure that your car’s door and windows are all closed before you begin. You don’t want to get the upholstery soaking wet since it will take time to dry up.
- Rinse the brushes and sponges right after use. Don’t let dirt and grit settle hard on them, as they can scratch your paintwork.
- Don’t just wash the body; the hubcaps deserve some lovin’ too!
- Don’t aim the nozzle too close to the surface; it can damage it.
- Don’t use Red and Yellow nozzles…. just don’t.
- Don’t pressure wash anything under the hood. Electricity plus water don’t go well.
- Don’t work in a place where there are many living things like plants, pets, especially people. You don’t want to hurt anyone by accidentally aiming the nozzle at them.
- Don’t start cleaning from bottom to top – it’s not going to work.
- Don’t forget to dilute your detergent. It’s not designed to work as-is.
- Don’t use a pressure washer on your interiors. Clean the upholstery and the floor with a vacuum instead.
How To Wash Your Car With A Pressure Washer
Do you want to see that sparkle and shine back on your car? Follow these steps:
- Position your car on a flat surface. The hose of the machine needs to move freely to let you wash all sides of the vehicle. A flat surface prevents the hose from intertwining, thereby preventing you from tripping off. Ensure that you have enough space to move around the car.
- Consult the manual for the correct settings. Use the recommended accessories for the machine. Each pressure washer is unique and has different methods of setting PSI and GPM water flow. Always test the nozzle before aiming it on the actual surface that you want to clean.
- Pre-wash the car. Spray the entire surface (including the wheels) with water. Set up your foam cannon next. Typically, here is how you prepare a foam cannon:
- Fill the basin with warm water, about ¾ to the top.
- Attach the basin and shake it just enough to blend the water and shampoo.
- Start spraying from top to bottom, left to right of the car. You can adjust the foam settings until you achieve the desired foam level.
- Leave the shampoo for a few minutes.
- Wash or rinse? Do you want to proceed with washing it (using the foamy soap as an extra lubricant) or rinse it first, then wash it with a fresh shampoo and a two-bucket system? The choice is yours.
- Rinse. Rinse the entire vehicle using the pressure washer. Use a brush or a sponge to remove any visible dirt. Pay attention to those nooks and crannies.
After using the pressure washer, make sure that you drain the water lines thoroughly. Leave the machine to dry before storing it.