When it comes to getting your home ready for sale, or just looking its best, one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal is a pressure washer. This handy machine generates a spray of water with a lot more force than your garden hose—its power is measured in pounds per square inch (psi) and it’s available in gas- or electric-powered models. When you use a washer with the right settings and nozzle, you can quickly blast away mildew, mold, moss, and other debris that can stain surfaces, and over time, cause permanent damage.
Power washing is also effective for eliminating weeds and controlling their growth, especially when the weeds are located in hard-to-reach places where manual removal is difficult or impossible. And if you’re thinking about repainting your house, it’s a good idea to first clean off any dirt and grime that has built up on its exterior, since it can cause the new coat of paint to bubble or peel.
But if you’re not equipped with a power washer or aren’t up for the task, hiring a professional will likely save you time and headaches. Professional power or pressure washing groups typically use industrial-grade electric machines, and they usually bill by the job or hour. They can also provide a ladder or other tool to reach higher areas, and they’re usually experienced with working safely around a variety of outdoor structures.
Before you get started, make sure your washer get your house washed has a water supply that’s connected to an outside spigot, and check it for a proper water pressure level (in gallons per minute) that matches the psi of your machine. And because a washer can shoot out water with force that can break glass, plastic or even a human body, it’s important to wear rubber gloves, goggles, and a face mask when you use it.
Robohm suggests starting on a small area, like the deck or the back of your house, and moving slowly across it with the washer. Work in sections, and don’t forget to rinse the nozzle periodically as you move along, so that you’re not spraying water everywhere. Also, make sure to empty your pockets before firing up the machine and avoid pointing the nozzle directly at windows, as the sudden blast of water can cause them to shatter.
Lastly, it’s important to note that some surfaces, such as painted or stained vinyl siding, brick, stone, and aluminum, should not be pressure washed, since doing so can damage or void the siding’s warranty. And lead-based paint should never be blasted with a pressure washer, as it can launch lead particulates into the air and pose health risks for anyone nearby. So, be sure to read the owner’s manual before using your washer on delicate surfaces and consider hiring a professional for larger jobs. They may also be able to recommend the most appropriate cleaning solutions for different types of surfaces. Angi estimates that it costs about $0.10 to $0.50 per square foot to hire a professional to clean the exterior of your home.