You’d Be Surprised What You Can Clean With a Pressure Washer

Get tips and tricks on how to power wash a variety of outdoor items.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.
September 04, 2018
Related To:

Pressure Washing Tips 01:00

Freshen up concrete, fences and more with these power washing tips.

Skill Level
Estimated Cost $350
Time
Download PDF

Tools and Materials

  • bucket
  • pressure washer
  • cleaning solution
  • hose
  • ear protection
  • gloves
  • safety glasses
  • rags
Find all the tools and materials for this project at Lowes.com.

Sure, you can use a pressure washer for cleaning a deck or driveway, find out what else you can clean like kids’ toys, outdoor furniture, cushions and garbage cans.

Don't Forget to Add Soap

Most pressure washers have a reservoir and special nozzle for spraying soap or cleaning solutions. Depending on what you’re cleaning, there’s probably a special cleaning solution that can make the job a bit easier. Degreasers are great for driveways, and a multipurpose house wash will help remove grime from patio or siding. For an extra boost, scrub the suds into the surface and leave them on a few minutes before rinsing.

Start Slow With the Nozzles

Photo by: MaryAnnCarter

MaryAnnCarter

Most pressure washers come with a variety of nozzles, usually ranging from 0 to 40 degrees (the angle of the spray stream). The lower the degree, the more powerful and narrow the stream. You may want to start with the highest degree; if it is not cleaning the surface then move to a lower degree. Ease into it — you don’t want to gouge or damage the surface you’re trying to preserve.

Double-Check Nozzle Size

Photo by: MaryAnnCarter

MaryAnnCarter

Most pressure washers will come with a variety of nozzles, but different manufacturers mark their tips differently, so don't rely on the color alone. Always check the stamping directly on the tip.

Outdoor Furniture

Photo by: MaryAnnCarter

MaryAnnCarter

Most composite wood, mesh, plastic and wood patio furniture can be pressure-washed. Place the furniture on a level surface away from any windows. Spot-clean tough stains with a soap and brush or rag. Using a 40-degree tip, clean the furniture working top to bottom. For painted surfaces (not painted by the manufacturer), start in an inconspicuous spot in case the water pressure starts to remove the paint.

Outdoor Cushions

Photo by: MaryAnnCarter

MaryAnnCarter

Heavy-duty outdoor fabrics can be pressure-washed too. Simply set them on a stable surface and wash side to side, keeping a distance of at least 16 inches. Lay them in the sun to dry or pop them in the dryer.

Concrete

Photo by: MaryAnnCarter

MaryAnnCarter

For heavy stains — like oil on a driveway — pretreat the surface with a degreaser. Then, using the soap tip on the pressure washer, spray the entire area with detergent and be sure to rinse before it dries. A 15- to 25-degree angle tip will provide enough power to rinse away dirt without damaging the surface. Spray the entire surface working left to right keeping the tip about 12 inches away from the surface. Spray in a consistent sweeping motion to prevent streaks.

Wood

Photo by: MaryAnnCarter

MaryAnnCarter

For wood surfaces such as a fence, begin using a 15- to 25-degree tip. Start at the top and move vertically to prevent streaks. Overlap each pass for a consistent cleaning and keep a distance of 12 to 16 inches. If the fence is heavily soiled, use a detergent before pressure-washing.

Bikes and Outdoor Toys

Photo by: MaryAnnCarter

MaryAnnCarter

For bicycles start with a low-setting tip such as 40 degrees, especially around the tires and the seat. If the metal parts are still dirty, work your way up to a lower-degree tip.

Garbage Cans

Photo by: MaryAnnCarter

MaryAnnCarter

If your trash cans are dirty on the outside and smelly on the inside, give them an all-over washing. Pour detergent and water inside the can and let it sit for a while to disinfect and help remove the smell. Then start with a 40-gauge nozzle to avoid gouging the surface.

Outdoor Equipment

Photo by: MaryAnnCarter

MaryAnnCarter

Wagons, slides and playsets can also be pressure-washed. Start with a 40-degree nozzle because these surfaces may gouge easily. If using soap with the pressure washer, be sure to use something non-toxic on these kid-centric surfaces.

Always Play It Safe

Photo by: MaryAnnCarter

MaryAnnCarter

While pressure-washing may seem no different than cleaning with a regular hose, some key safety concerns need to be kept in mind. Because the water is at such high pressure, it not only poses a direct contact harm but it also will send dislodged materials at high speed that can cause an eye-safety issue. Consider not only safety glasses but also water-resistant clothing and closed-toe shoes. Also, never point the spray nozzle toward someone to prevent an accidental discharge.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Make an Outdoor Spiral Bench

A bench doesn’t have to be a rectangle or square. Learn how to build a three-sided spiral bench with built-in planter boxes.

Tips, Tricks and Brilliant Ideas for Overhauling Your Garage

Take control of garage clutter by cleaning up dirt and oil spots and adding organizational systems to fit all your storage needs.

How to Make Rope Shelving

Love the look of hanging wall shelves? See how easy they are to make using wood flooring, sisal and a metal handrail.

DIY Floating Window Box

Instantly elevate your curb appeal and add life to your home with a "floating" window box.

Cleaning Outdoor Furniture

Learn about the best ways to clean outdoor cushions, canvas seats and chair backs, and white and colored plastic.

5 Ways to Clean Your Patio Furniture Before Summer

You’ll be glad you spent the time cleaning and weatherproofing now when you’re sitting with your feet up all summer.

Turn Your Attention to Your Outdoor To-Do List

Get some fresh air while you get your house ready for summer.

Natural Cleaners

Get rid of chemical-based cleaning products, learn how to make all-natural, inexpensive cleaning solutions using stuff from your pantry and items you already have around the house.

The Easiest Way to Clean a Dishwasher

Sanitize and sterilize your most-used appliance with a single cup of vinegar.
More from:

Start Here

On TV

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.