Do you need detergent for a pressure washer?


Do you need detergent for a pressure washer?

As soon as you plan to use a pressure washer, or consider using it on tough stains, you’ll probably think about what exactly you need. Most people instantly wonder if they’ll need detergent for a pressure washer. 

For tough stains, you will want to use detergent. Using detergent will help you cut through dirt and grime faster than water alone. However, it’s important that you use the right type of detergent and/or chemicals for your pressure washer. If you don’t, you can damage the equipment beyond repair. 

Don’t use household detergent

Household detergent is cheaper than detergent designed for pressure washers, which makes it a tempting option. Unfortunately, it is not an option you should even consider. 

Household detergent contains different chemicals and ingredients than pressure washer detergent. This makes it both hazardous to pressure washers and ineffective. The ingredients can eat away at internal parts of your pressure washer. 

You’ll also notice that regular detergent does not remove stains as quickly as detergent for pressure washers. This is because pressure washer detergent has stronger chemicals that are specially formulated to get rid of tough stains quicker. 

You can use just water in a pressure washer

If you’re against using chemicals, you can try your pressure washer with plain water first. The high power of the blast can be enough to blast away stains and grime. Start with water to see if you need to use chemicals. Often times, if it’s just a mild stain, water will do the trick.

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Vinegar can be used instead of detergent

Homeowners that prefer to use household ingredients that have fewer chemicals can use vinegar and water. Just mix seven parts water with three parts vinegar. This solution will be tougher on stains than just water, but not as harsh as detergents. 

Consider the type of stain

Homeowners typically consider what they are washing off when deciding if they would like to use a detergent in their pressure washer. The tougher the stain, the more you’re going to need some extra power to get rid of it. For basic dust and surface dirt, water might work. Keep in mind this only cleans what you can see, though. 

Pressure washing with detergent is best

While most people will be happy with the outcome of washing with just water, this is because it washes away the surface dirt. It does not scrub away the dirt that you cannot see. Just like people use laundry soap when they wash their clothes to eliminate odor and unseen dirt, they often use detergent to pressure wash in the same way. 

When you use the appropriate detergent, you’ll find that your pressure washer lasts longer. This is because it does not need the same high power to wash away dirt that it would if you were just using water. You’ll spend less money on repairs as well. 

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Detergent that is designed for pressure washers is easier to use than other options. For example, many people just use dawn dish soap or other dish soaps in their pressure washers. These don’t usually harm the pressure washer. However, they do take longer to wash off the house because they leave behind a residue. This is time consuming and can lead to an expensive water bill. 

Read here to learn about what kind of sprays you can use with your pressure washer.

Frequently asked questions about pressure washers

Can you use bleach in a pressure washer?

You should never put bleach in a pressure washer. The chemicals in bleach are designed to be corrosive. This makes them harmful to pressure washers. Over time, bleach will eat away at the parts of the pressure washer, rendering it useless and you’ll have to buy a new one. 

Can dish soap be used in a pressure washer?

Using dish soap in a pressure washer is usually a safe option, but make sure to read your instruction manual to make sure it won’t cause damage to your pressure washer. If you do choose to use dish soap, it’s important to note that it will take you longer to rinse it off. Dish soap can be a lot “soapier” than detergent for pressure washers. 

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Do you need special soap for pressure washers?

Soap designed specifically for pressure washers is the most effective. It won’t damage your pressure washer and it will help cut down on time spent washing and rinsing the house as well. This is because it cuts through dirt better than household cleaners and ingredients. It is easier to rinse off than homemade cleaners or household cleaners. 

Can you run a pressure washer without detergent?

While it will take more effort to get rid of dirt, you can definitely run it without detergent. Running a pressure washer with just water shouldn’t hurt it. If you have a separate detergent tank, you can fill that with water as well just to make sure. Most people that have a separate water and detergent tank do this to prevent possible damage to the pressure washer. 

How do I use a pressure washer with detergent?

First, read the instructions that came with your pressure washer. Then, read the instructions that came with your detergent. Fill the detergent receptacle on your power washer. Then spray the surface you want to wash. Make sure to leave it on for the recommended time before rinsing it off for the best results possible. 

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