When it comes to pressure washing, there are many ways that you will want to make sure that you are getting the job done right. In some cases, you might want to opt to use a cleaner that you have made yourself, but you may not know if that cleaner’s ingredients are going to work with the pressure washer.
Vinegar is a common cleaning item that is loved for the fact that it can remove most of what you don’t want on your driveway or house, without causing unnecessary damage to anything that it touches.
Many people who make their own detergents for pressure washers actually use vinegar and put it in their pressure washers without an issue. Vinegar is one of the safest cleaning agents that you can put into your pressure washer, as long as you are smart about it.
Table of Contents
Being Smart About Using Vinegar
Even though using vinegar in your pressure washer is completely safe and is something that millions of people do, if you are concerned about it doing anything to the internal mechanisms of the pressure washer, you can always make sure to dilute the vinegar. You can easily dilute vinegar by simply adding water to it so that the concentration of acid is not as high.
In fact, despite the fact that vinegar is very acidic, it tends to be gentler on most pressure washers than chemical-based cleaners are, as the chemicals used to remove stains can also wear away at certain materials. Because of this, you can actually go further than saying that vinegar can be safely used in pressure washers, and you can say that it is actually better to use vinegar-based detergents that you can make at home, both for the sake of the pressure washer and your wallet.
What you need to know when you use vinegar with your pressure washer
With that being said, there are a few things that you need to be wary about when you are using vinegar as a cleaning agent in your pressure washer’s detergent. For one, when you mix vinegar with certain cleaning agents, it can cause very dangerous reactions that are harmful to both the pressure washer and your own health. More specifically, you should never, ever mix vinegar and bleach together to create your own variant of detergent.
Doing this will actually cause a reaction between the two liquids, resulting in the production of chlorine gas. Chlorine gas is an incredibly dangerous gas to inhale, and the chemical reaction is almost instantaneous. It is not worth your own health to do this. Any cleaning agents that have any remote amount of bleach in them should not come into contact with vinegar in any capacity.
If you want to find a way to get rid of the vinegar smell, there are a few things that you can do. You can choose to try and wait out the smell, as it does dissipate fairly quickly, especially when you are cleaning outdoors where the wind can easily take the smell away. You can also consider adding one or two drops of eucalyptus or lemon essential oils to the vinegar to try and neutralize the smell. Remember to only use one or two drops at a time for this purpose.
Finally, if you are working with a particularly greasy stain on your driveway, you can add a few drops of any sort of grease-cutting soap to get rid of that type of stain. Most dish soaps that are designed to work through grease will work well for this purpose and you do not need much of the soap to get the results you need.
More questions about using Vinegar
How Much Vinegar Will You Need?
Different types of stains will need different amounts of vinegar to get the job done effectively. For small amounts of grime, you will usually use a 10:1 ratio of water to vinegar. For heavier staining and mildew, you would use a ratio of 6:1 of water to vinegar. Even heavier stains might require a 3:1 ratio. Some people opt to use full-strength vinegar, but be mindful that this may damage more delicate surfaces you are cleaning.
What Kind of Vinegar Should You Use?
In general, you can actually use just about any vinegar to get the job done, as you are going to want the acidic nature of the vinegar. However, you can usually just stick to the standard vinegar that is used for cleaning purposes, which is white vinegar. If you really want to take things to a true DIY level, you could even make the vinegar yourself, if you have the time.
When Should You Use Vinegar?
Vinegar is really only good for specific types of stains. You wouldn’t pressure wash the inside of your house with a full-strength vinegar solution. Typically, people will use vinegar when they are cleaning off mold, dirt, and other debris on the exterior of homes, driveways, and sidewalks. If you are willing to use a more diluted version of vinegar, you can also use it to clean outdoor furniture.