How to use a Pressure Washer – Instructions & User Guide

Best Electric Pressure Washer

If you are wondering how your place got so dirty, the next logical step is to think about ways to clean up your property. And because you have a pressure washer, you know that cleaning will be a lot easier, fun and faster than if you had to clean it manually.

Therefore, we’ve compiled this guide to show you process of using a pressure washer. It will clean up your property as well as you will learn various indoor and outdoor cleaning techniques. This guide also gives you some tips on how to maximize your washer’s performance output. As well as some of the do’s and don’ts when operating a power washer.

how To Use a Pressure Washer


How Pressure Washer Works

Despite having different power generators, all power washers use the same principles to provide users with enough cleaning power. Let us now look at how these washers work starting with electrical powered models.

How Electric Power Washer Work

Electric Pressure Washer

Electrical washers cost significantly less, run quietly, are lightweight and start with a flip of a switch. One drawback of electrical washers is that they are less powerful than gasoline washers.

This factor makes them more suitable for light-duty cleaning jobs at home such as cleaning windows, patios, furniture, vehicles, etc.

So how exactly these pressure washers work? This is not that rocket science which is very complex. Infact it is quite simple to understand their working.

See Ryobi Pressure Washer review Here

Well, water from the tap/garden hose enters the pressure under normal pressure then the electric motor produces power to pump the water out of the pressure washer.

The water then comes out through the water outlet (hose and spray nozzles) at an increased pressure. It is important to read your washer’s instruction manual to know to operate it effectively.

You will find that some electric washers allow you to use an extension cord to extend your cleaning range while others don’t allow the use of extension cords. If your washer doesn’t allow the use of extension cords, you have to plug it directly into the power outlet.

When you’re in the market for an electric pressure cleaner, one of the major things to find out beforehand is whether or not the pressure washer can be used with an extension cord. This will help you determine the area you’ll be able to clean.

If your power washer is compatible with an extension cord, it is important to use a model that is recommended by the manufacturer. Lastly, it is important to place the electric connections off the ground and away from water to prevent short circuits.

See Best Electric Pressure Washers in 2018 Reviews

How Gas Power Washer Work

Gas Pressure Washers

Gas powered washers are more powerful and more expensive than electric powered washers. They also produce a lot of noise and vibrations when operational.

Newer gas powered pressure washers have moved on from the manual pull-start ignition and now feature a simple push-start electric starter. Thanks to their extra power, gas power washers are ideal for heavy-duty tasks at home or commercially.

See Simpson Gas Pressure Washer review

They take in water from garden hose. Then gas engine pumps water out of the washer at an increased pressure through the hose reel. Working procedure is same as electrical washers. the only difference is that gas washers have fuel powered engine instead of electric motors.

Gas pressure washers are known to be more powerful than electric washers. This means you can complete more intensive cleaning tasks such as getting rid of unsightly stains and grime off paved surfaces.

Another good thing about gas pressure washers is that they don’t overheat as much as electric ones. These are ideal for people that want to use washers for commercial purposes for their raw power and reliability.

Troubleshooting and repair are much easier on gas pressure washers since their engine configuration is not as complex as electric pressure washers.

That said, electric washers are more suitable for home use for their power efficiency, low maintenance, lightweight nature and affordable price.

Like with electric pressure washers, it is important you go through the user manual of your gas pressure washer to learn some tips as well as the dos and don’ts when operating your washer.

See Karcher Pressure Washer review

How to use a Pressure Washer

Here is the step by step guide below.

  • Prepare the area ( Driveway, inside/outside home, vinyl sidings or anyhting else ) where you want to use your washer. Look for the things which can be damaged. Either cover them or remove them from the location.
  • Wear the safety gears like gloves, shoes, safety goggles etc.
  • Connect the power source (don’t switch it on) and the water inlet to garden hose. Incase of gas washer, fill the gas and connect the water source.
  • Connect the water outlet hose and gun. Choose the nozzle you want to use & fix it on the gun.
  • Now preapre the detergent/soap dispenser if you are planning to use it.
  • Switch on the power source & water outlet source. In case of gas, start the engine and open the water tap.
  • Now check/test the washer with gun towards the floor, atleast 3-feet away. Look for if power is working and water is coming out properly. Try to keep gun at 45° as this saves from any damage.

Hurray, that’s it. If everything is working properly start using your washer.

9 Safety Tips

Here are some tips that will let you get the most out of your pressure washer. Also this will help you to stay safe and not to damage the object you are applying on.

  • Vertical surfaces should be cleaned from the bottom-up but rinsed from the top-down.
  • Quick-connect nozzles are color-coded to easily distinguish them in regards to their spray pattern and level of pressure. The 0-degree nozzle is red, the 15-degree nozzle is yellow, the 25-degree nozzle is green, and the 40-degree nozzle is white. You also get a low-pressure nozzle which comes in a black color and is used for rinsing off soap from surfaces.
  • When cleaning, use the broadest pressure nozzle because it produces low-pressure which delivers sufficient cleaning that will not damage/tear into the surface you are cleaning.
  • Before starting any cleaning assignment, test the nozzles on a hard surface. This will help you get a sense of the nozzles and refine your technique so as not to damage any conspicuous surface.
  • When cleaning, ensure the tip of the pressure washer nozzle is at a good distance away from the surface you are cleaning to prevent damage.
  • When cleaning with a pressure washer, always look out for electrical equipment such as a/c units, electrical outlets, etc. and avoid cleaning around them.
  • You should always move your arms when cleaning to prevent the water from tearing into the surface you are cleaning.
  • Always use a pump preservative when storing your pressure washer over long periods. Preservatives help protect your pump against freezing and corrosion in the winter period.
  • When filling up your gas pressure washer, always add a fuel stabilizer to the gasoline for enhanced performance.


Pressure Washer Do’s & Don’ts

Dos & Donts



Always read the instruction manual before using the pressure washer.
Use protective wearing when handling a pressure washer. Protect your body with long pants, eye goggles, and sturdy footwear.
Always select the widest spray angle when cleaning.
Start cleaning at a safe distance away from the surface and get closer when necessary (tackling tough stains.)
Always turn off the washer when replacing the spray nozzles. Also, always drain excess water when changing the nozzles
Before beginning a cleaning assignment, make sure you test the washer on a dummy surface until you perfect your technique.
When cleaning sensitive surfaces like window panes and vehicles, you should use the lowest pressure nozzle you have or even a garden hose for a more gentle cleaning.


Never wear flip-flops when handling a pressure washer.
Always clean when you are at least 6-inches away from the surface. This will prevent damage to your vehicle’s paintwork, puncturing your vehicle’s tires and even gorging ugly holes in your deck wood.
Never let the engine run idle for extended periods to prevent the pump from overheating. This will help extend our washer’s lifespan.
Avoid pointing the spray gun at people, pets and fragile objects to avoid injury/damage.
Never use a pressure washer when standing on uneven places such as a ladder because the recoil force is likely to throw you off balance.
Never use an extension cord with an electric pressure washer unless your pressure washer is compatible with one. Even if it, always buy an extension cord model that’s been recommended by the manufacturers.

How to Pick the Perfect Pressure Washer?

When picking out a pressure washer, the two main things to consider are; your intended purpose for the pressure washer and the pressure washer’s power output. If you are thinking of purchasing a pressure washer to tackle intensive cleaning jobs, you should consider washers with higher PSI and GPM ratings. For the cleaning duties laid out below, you need a pressure washer with the following performance ratings to complete the cleaning tasks effectively;


Light-duty cleaning tasks are usually the smaller cleaning jobs around your home and need washers rated between 2 GPM at 1300 – 2000 PSI. You can get either an electric or a gas pressure washer with those ratings and can be used for smaller jobs such as cleaning window panes, furniture, vehicles, and more.


Gas powered pressure washers are ideal for handling medium-duty cleaning jobs, but you can also use electric pressure washers. Medium-duty pressure washers are rated between 2-3 GPM at 2000 – 2800 PSI and are suitable for homes and small-scale businesses such as garages, car & carpet cleaning services, etc. These machines are generally more sturdy and powerful for handling demanding cleaning jobs such as driveways, and getting rid of oil stains etc.


Heavy-duty pressure washers provide a power output rated at between 3 – 4 GPM at 2900 – 3000 PSI and are ideal for commercial purposes. They are mostly gas-powered pressure washers that are characterized by their durability and powerful cleaning performance. With a heavy-duty pressure washer, you can tackle jobs such as cleaning a two or three story building as well as graffiti and paint removal.

Extra heavy-duty

These are rare pressure washers and are rated above 3300 PSI. Heavy-duty pressure washers are powerful and are ideal for tackling intensive cleaning jobs.


Also called all-in-one pressure washers. These pressure washers offer a great deal of versatility that allows users to adjust the temperature and pressure of the washers for taking on different cleaning tasks.

Hot Water Pressure Washers

These pressure washers are rare, use less soap & chemicals, cost more and have a more complex operation. They have the best cleaning performance making them suitable for industrial and farm use.

See Detailed Review of Light, Medium, Heavy-Duty/Commercial & Industrial Pressure Washers.

Final Words

Now that you’ve learned the important tips on how to operate a pressure washer, you should always remember to use it with caution and maintain proper care of it to get a long life out of it. Inspecting your pressure washer before every use should be second nature to ensure your machine is running as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Lastly, these guidelines are meant to get your pressure washer performing at its optimal level. They will also help you learn safety practices when operating a pressure washer to ensure that you, people and pets around you as well as objects near you are safe from a pressure washer blast.

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