If you strive to maintain a spotless clean outdoor environment and a glossy curb appeal, power washing your driveway and patio is probably the most satisfying cleaning chore for you. And rightly so, because a power washer eliminates built-up debris, old stains, and dirt from all nooks and crannies of the concrete surface.
So, if you’re wondering: can an electric pressure washer clean concrete? The answer is yes, it can.
Repetitive use of a pressure washer can clean a concrete surface, but be careful! Overusing it can cause concrete to degrade over time. However, since concrete is one of the sturdiest and most durable hard surfaces, this happens over an incredibly long period and only if an electric pressure washer is used irresponsibly.
Different pressures for cleaning concrete
Not all concrete surfaces are the same. Some tend to be lower quality slabs that are easier to clean at lower pressures. When choosing to clean concrete with an electric pressure washer, you can usually choose from three different pressures: 1600, 2300, or 3100 PSI (pounds per square inch).
For a high-quality job, use a 3100 PSI electric pressure washer. This amount of pressure will not only help you wash concrete quickly, but it will also thoroughly wash away any dirt, leaving your concrete looking as good as new.
Electric pressure washers with a PSI of 1600 or 2300 will also get the job done. However, it’ll take you longer to wash concrete thoroughly at these pressure levels.
How to wash concrete with an electric pressure washer
Washing concrete with an electric pressure washer is not a difficult task. Before you start, be sure to read your machine’s manual so you know how to set it up properly. Pressure washers are highly technical tools, and while they’re easy to set up, each pressure washer is different and has its own specifications.
Once you’ve set up the pressure washer, clear the surrounding area and lay a protective covering over any sensitive surface if needed. Then, start up your washer and aim the water at the highest point of the surface. This will cause the water to drain downwards, cleaning the rest of the surface too.
Target your pressure washer at any loose debris on the surface so that it’s washed away. If you want to apply any detergent, do so with the low-pressure nozzle. Then, rinse the surface and let it dry. You can repeat the process once more, if you’re not satisfied with the results.
If your driveway or other concrete surface is badly stained, it would be a good idea pre-treat the area before pressure washing. Read here to learn what you can spray on concrete before using a pressure washer.
Will an electric pressure washer damage concrete?
Damage caused by a pressure washer on concrete surfaces typically arises from excessive water pressure or using the wrong nozzle. The technique is a significant factor to take into account because if you are spraying too close to the concrete surface, you can cause severe and costly damage to your walkway or driveway.
If you have a habit of holding the nozzle in one spot throughout the wash, don’t be surprised if your walkways start pitting. These small mistakes have caused terrible catastrophes, such as taking paint off the walls, damaging wooden fixtures, ruining car paint, and washing away the joint sand in concrete surfaces. What’s more, pressure washing with the wrong technique can even cause a serious injury.
So, before you start pressure washing your walkway or driveway, be sure to adopt the right techniques to effectively prevent damage. Also, consult a professional to help you find the right nozzle for your washer.
Frequently asked questions
What is the right pressure washing technique for concrete surfaces?
While pressure washing hard surfaces, such as concrete, it is crucial to continuously maintain a sweeping motion. Avoid directing the water stream at one particular spot for too long. Even if you are targeted build-up debris, you can come back to that spot again after a few minutes.
The nozzle should be at a 12-inch distance from the concrete surface or pavers, and strictly avoid directing high-pressure water towards the ground. Be sure to maintain the spray at an angle to prevent soil erosion.
Is using an electric power washer safe?
Using any high-pressure tool comes with its risks. However, electric pressure washers have jet streams that reduce most safety hazards. Nonetheless, you should always wear eye protection and gloves when using an electric power washer. If you’re washing a concrete driveway, also be cautious about any passing vehicles.
Do electric pressure washers waste water?
As long as you’re mindful of where the water you’re using is going, you won’t be wasting any water by using an electric pressure washer. We recommend that you push the water you’re using to your lawn so that it is absorbed there.
Try to ensure that the water does not enter your drain because it could end up going to your local stream, which would pollute the water. You can block off your drain and allow the water to evaporate or vacuum it up.