When it comes to operating a pressure washer responsibly, there is a lot of pressure to make sure that you aren’t misusing it. After all, with pressure washers, using it on the wrong thing can end up causing a lot of damage that will end up costing you hundreds or even thousands to repair and nobody wants this.
With all of that being said, there are a few things that you shouldn’t do with your pressure washer. In some cases, it will be a matter of making sure that you do not pressure wash the wrong things and physically damage those objects.
In other cases, it will be a matter of making sure that you protect yourself when working with any form of machinery even if it isn’t inherently dangerous.
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Protecting Your Surroundings When You Use a Pressure Washer
Due to the nature of a pressure washer using jets of water coming out of the machine at a high pressure, there are simply some surfaces that you should not pressure wash under any circumstances. There are some surfaces that you will have to be mindful of using a lower pressure on, but there are simply some surfaces where using a pressure washer will only cause more harm than it will help.
For example, some people might believe that a pressure washer is simply a more industrial version of a hose; in some cases, you may actually be correct about this. However, due to the nature of just how high-pressure the water is, the water that comes out of a pressure washer can easily penetrate skin even though thinner clothes. Never, under any circumstances, point a pressure washer at any living creature.
If you have plants that you care for, a pressure washer will absolutely tear through the plant material, leaving you with dead and dying plants. To be on the safe side of things, you should only ever aim your pressure washer at things that you intend to clean and these should only be surfaces of your property, not anything that is alive, whether plant or animal.
A pressure washer is great for cleaning concrete.
Do not use a pressure washer on bricks and old mortar
You should never use a pressure washer on bricks, old mortar, or any structurally weakened material of a home. The high pressure from the pressure washer can break apart these materials, sending small fragments of them flying around everywhere.
Depending on the situation, this may even mean that the surface becomes aerosolized, meaning that you breathe it in and damage your lungs. You should only point the pressure washer at surfaces that you know for a fact can take the pressure.
As tempting as it may be, you should also make sure that you never use a pressure washer on any form of machinery to clean it. While there is no doubt that pressure washers are efficient at getting the job done, they will often do too good of a job and damage some of the finer, more intricate, and more delicate parts of machinery that you may not be able to easily replace.
Read our article about cleaning windows with a pressure washer.
Protecting Yourself When Using a Pressure Washer
Something else that you will want to keep in mind is that you should always protect yourself when you are using a pressure washer. Thankfully, this is relatively easy and will not take a lot of work for you to take care of. Instead, there are really only two major tasks to pay attention to.
You should make sure that you always wear a mask when you are cleaning with your pressure washer. Masks will ensure that any debris that becomes aerosolized will not find its way into your mouth and lungs. This is especially important with wood, as it can carry mold in it and mold should not be something that you breathe.
Similarly, you should make sure to always wear gloves when you are handling your pressure washer. Gloves will protect the sensitive skin on your hand from some of the harsh chemicals that are traditionally used in pressure washers to effectively get rid of stains. Whenever you find yourself in a situation using a pressure washer, you should always wear a mask and gloves so that you can stay safe.
More tips on how and where to use a pressure washer
What About Using a Pressure Washer on Cars?
Some people may believe that using a pressure washer on a car is akin to bringing a car through the car wash, although this isn’t quite the case, Pressure washers concentrate the pressure in a much more focused spot than most car washes do, meaning that the high pressure will cause damage to your car that can be extraordinarily more expensive to repair.
What About Electrical Panels?
You should never combine the water from a pressure washer with electricity. When cleaning the exterior of your home, you should avoid using the power washer in that area as much as you can as the electricity and the water can cause a deadly mix of the two.
Do You Need Special Equipment?
You do not need to invest in anything more than gloves and a mask if you are going to be working with a pressure washer, although having the additional protection may be nice if you find yourself getting hurt from the debris that pressure washers will usually try to destroy one way or another.