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Pressure Wash Your Home's Exterior

Pressure washing

Pressure washing is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to clean items around your home. These tips will help you learn how to use your pressure washer to clean your home's exterior.

Tools & Materials

Use this checklist when you go to the store and purchase your items.


Pressure Wash Siding

pressure washing windows

Pressure washing is the most effective and efficient method of cleaning housing exteriors. The high-pressure water stream can penetrate the textured surfaces of aluminum, wood and vinyl sidings. Even an average house has a lot of siding that can get pretty dirty, since it's exposed to the elements. A pressure washer will make quick work of cleaning larger houses, as pressure washers make it easy to reach even second stories without the use of scaffolding or ladders.

Prepare the site for pressure washing by taking the following precautions:

  • Remove any obstacles from the work area that could cause a trip hazard or tangle your hose.
  • Wet and cover nearby plants.
  • Cover electrical components including light fixtures.
  • Close all windows and doors.

Tips for Pressure Washing Siding:

  • To prevent streaks, spray cleaning solution from the bottom and working up in identifiable sections. Allow the solution to work five to 10 minutes. Don’t let it dry; keep it wet.
  • Use a rotating scrub brush attachment to scour heavily soiled areas of your siding.
  • Use a general, medium-pressure pattern to rinse. Flush any detergent from the system, and test the cleaning power on an inconspicuous area. Rinse the detergent and residue, working from the top down. Work in the same direction as any overlaps to keep water out from underneath the siding.
Don't pressure wash your home if you think it's been painted with lead paint. Typically, these are homes painted before 1978. If you think your home might have been painted with lead-based paint, contact a professional for an inspection and recommendation.


Pressure Wash Soffits & Gutters

  • Use a general, high-pressure spray pattern to clean soffits and gutters.
  • Give soffits and gutters a good rinsing first with plain water to reduce the streaks and spots from dripping wastewater or detergent applied to other parts of the house.
  • Aim the stream ahead and to the side as you work to keep the water off yourself.


Pressure Wash Stucco

Stucco’s textured surface collects a lot of dust and dirt. A pressure washer can quickly blast away this buildup.

Before pressure washing, patch any cracks or chips in the stucco’s surface. Allow these patches to dry for a week before beginning the pressure washing project. Remove obstacles from the work area, cover nearby plants and electrical components, and close all windows and doors before pressure washing.

Tips for Pressure Washing Stucco:

  • To prevent streaks, spray cleaning solution from the bottom and working up in identifiable sections. Allow the solution to work five to 10 minutes. Don’t let it dry; keep it wet.
  • Use a rotating scrub brush attachment to scour heavily soiled areas of your stucco.
  • Switch to a delicate, low-pressure spray pattern, and flush remaining detergent from the system.
  • When you rinse the detergent, hold the gun and wand so the spray pattern hits the surface at a 45-degree angle, and keep the nozzle at least 24 inches away from the stucco.
  • Work from the top down to remove the detergent and residue.
  • Use a rust-removing detergent on rust and copper stains, and scrub by hand with a soft-bristle brush. Flush with plenty of clean water.


Pressure Wash Brick

The classic look of brick makes it a popular choice for homebuilders, but dirt, grime and moss can cause discoloration over time. Pressure washing is a quick way to restore your bricks to their former beauty.

Before you pressure wash your bricks, patch damaged mortar, and allow it to dry for at least a week. Remove obstacles from the work area, cover plants and electrical components, and close windows and doors before pressure washing.

Tips for Pressure Washing Brick:

  • Brick is porous and absorbs quickly, so before you apply detergents, thoroughly soak the surface of your bricks with clear water using a delicate, low-pressure spray pattern to prevent absorption of the detergent.
  • Apply detergent from the bottom to the top, and allow it to soak for five to 10 minutes. Keep the bricks wet as needed if any areas begin to dry out.
  • Use less pressure and more detergent to clean brick.
  • Use a rotating scrub brush as needed to scour areas that are heavily soiled.
  • Rinse the detergent and residue from the top to the bottom with a low-pressure, delicate spray pattern. You might have to make several passes to clean deep stains completely.
  • If efflorescence (a white, powder-like residue) remains a problem after your house has completely dried, clean with an efflorescence remover by hand. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • When you’re done cleaning, seal your bricks with a brick and mortar sealer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.